Child Care Professional

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
The Child Care Professional program consists of 10 courses that will take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you can use in your new career.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed Internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: To prepare for entry-level positions working in a child care center or family child care program and to provide continuing education units for those working with children ages birth through eight.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the opportunities available in the field of early childhood and the professional organizations that accredit and advance the field
  • Define how to supervise and monitor the health and safety of children in their care
  • Organize developmentally appropriate activities and implement curricula that support healthy social and emotional development, along with healthy growth and development in areas including math, science, social studies, art, music, literacy, and language
  • Create schedules and routines to ensure children have enough physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Recognize signs of social, emotional, physical or developmental delay in children, including the range of development disabilities among young children. Student will understand how to plan for children with special needs and communicate those issues to the proper stakeholders
  • Keep records of children’s progress, routines, and interests, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered
  • Identify the importance of partnerships with families, colleagues, and the community
  • Identify principles from the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct
  • Recognize the cultural differences among families and apply strategies to meet the various needs of all children in their care

Family Child Care Specialization

  • Identify the necessary skills needed to start and maintain a well- planned and successful early childhood program such as marketing, finance, accreditation, local and state regulations, facilities and personnel management, hiring and staff development
  • Consider effective curricula and lessons plans for multi-age populations in an early childhood family childcare setting
  • Recognize the unique characteristics of developing a nurturing environment for children and families, planning effective curriculum, and developmentally appropriate activities in a family childcare early childhood setting

Center-Based Specialization

  • Recognize typical development of infants and toddlers and recognize effective curricular and lesson planning considerations for the infant and toddler classroom environment
  • Recognize typical development of preschool age children and recognize effective curricular and lesson planning considerations    for the preschool classroom environment
  • Recognize typical development of school-age children and recognize effective curricular and lesson planning considerations for the school-age classroom environment

Instruction Set 1

Orientation to Child Care Professional
The first part of this course will help you understand how to use your student portal, access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers, and connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites. The second part of this course will introduce you to the early childhood field, including the various careers within the field, professional organizations who advocate for young children, and ethical expectations of early childhood professionals.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your student portal
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites
  • Describe the various careers available to early childhood professionals
  • Explain the increasing demand for child care
  • Compare in-home care, family child care, and child care centers
  • Identify quality child care and its benefits

Instruction Set 2

Child Growth and Development
In this course, you’ll learn about the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development of young children from birth through school age. You’ll study how both environment and biology influence a growing child. You’ll gain practice identifying developmental delays and possible disabilities. In addition, you’ll learn developmentally appropriate practices in planning for the success of all children. You’ll also explore how culture and family can influence children’s learning.

Objectives:

  • Describe the factors that influence a child’s growth and development
  • Explain development from the prenatal period to birth
  • Compare developmental theories of development
  • Apply observation principles in childhood
  • Describe brain and physical development of children from birth to age eight
  • Describe social and emotional development of children from birth to age eight
  • Identify cognition, language, and literacy milestones of children from birth to age eight
  • Explain early intervention and how to meet the diverse needs of all children

Instruction Set 3

Child Guidance
This course will introduce the student to developmentally appropriate guidance strategies to meet the needs of young children, as well as effective management strategies that will meet the needs of the setting.

Objectives:

  • Identify the four goals for guidance in a safe and supportive environment
  • Solve communication problems with parents
  • Explain developmentally appropriate guidance strategies needed to interact with young children
  • Describe a variety of disabilities and understand what steps need to be taken if a child has a delay or you suspect a child has a delay
  • Identify the different types of childhood aggression and understand the strategies to use to modify the behavior
  • Identify and use strategies that encourage positive and prosocial behavior in children

Instruction Set 4

Home, School, and Community
This course provides an introduction to the partnerships that child care professionals must create with parents and others to achieve the best results for children in their child care setting.

Objectives:

  • Explain how the social environment of young children affects development
  • Identify sensors that prevent healthy growth and development in children
  • Define family-related stressors that affect development
  • Define environment-related stressors that affect development
  • Identify ways to involve families with the early childhood setting
  • Describe how to partner with colleagues to better serve children
  • Describe how to partner with the community to better serve children

Instruction Set 5

Observation and Assessment
This course provides an introduction to observation techniques and how to use those observations toward assessing individuals and groups of young children.

Objectives:

  • Describe how observation and assessment help you teach children
  • Describe child development and how child development relates to observation and assessment
  • Conduct an unbiased observation
  • Analyze and select appropriate assessment tools
  • Collect and analyze data on the whole child
  • Gather information from observations and assessments
  • Analyze and examine information from observation and assessment
  • Describe why and how early childhood educators share findings from observations and assessments with families and partners
  • Use your findings to develop learning experiences that meet the needs of each child in your setting

Instruction Set 6

Curriculum, Activities, and Lesson Planning
This course teaches how to plan and implement developmentally appropriate and creative curriculum, as well as how to foster children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth using varying instructional methods including play-based activities. It introduces how to effectively facilitate creative expression and curricular considerations associated with teaching math, science, social studies, art, and music. It also teaches the importance of play, as well as the curricular and planning considerations necessary to make play an integral part of young children’s learning experiences.

Objectives:

  • Identify essential components and indicators of effective early childhood curriculum
  • Discuss and describe five popular models of early childhood curriculum
  • Discuss the importance of effective observation and assessment in the early childhood setting
  • Identify the components of a successful early childhood lesson plan and discuss the importance of planning predictable routines for children
  • Describe developmentally appropriate practice and plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities in the early childhood setting
  • Describe the basic components of both small- and whole-group time in the early childhood setting and plan appropriate activities
  • Identify and discuss early play theory and the importance of play in the early childhood setting
  • Understand language development in children and plan developmentally appropriate language experiences for the early childhood setting
  • Describe the benefits of exposing children to literature and plan developmentally appropriate literature experiences in the early childhood setting
  • Describe literacy development in children and plan activities to support literacy development in the early childhood setting
  • Discuss the importance of planning activities to help children gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful citizens
  • Discuss how children develop mathematical skills and plan experiences that help children develop their understanding of mathematics
  • Nurture childhood curiosity and plan developmentally appropriate science activities for children in the early childhood setting
  • Describe how children interact with music and discuss the importance of music in the early childhood setting
  • Discuss the developmental stages of art and plan developmentally appropriate activities for the early childhood setting

Instruction Set 7

Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child
This course will introduce the student to the topics of health, safety, and nutrition as they relate to the early childhood setting. Students will learn to assess children's health and safety and plan for a nurturing learning environment that provides optimal health, safety and nutritious eating habits for all children in their care.

Objectives:

  • Describe, create, and promote a safe and healthy environment in your child care setting and with families
  • Prevent injuries and keep children safe in your child care setting
  • Prepare and plan for emergency situations including injuries
  • Safely plan and prepare appropriate food choices for children
  • Plan appropriate physical activities for children
  • Describe the importance of oral health, mental health, and health education
  • Explain the types of health services that should be implemented in an early childhood environment
  • Describe the training and certifications that child care professionals must have in order to keep children healthy and safe.
  • Set up your child care environment so that it supports healthy development for children
  • Care for children who have different health needs
  • Plan a learning environment that's appropriate for all children, including those with special needs
  • Identify signs of abuse and neglect in children and know what to do if abuse or neglect is suspected

Family Child Care Specialization

Instruction Set 8

Starting Your Own Early Childhood Program
This course will introduce the student to the effective business activities of starting and owning their own family child care business.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the planning and organizing of child development programs
  • Identify the focus of a needs assessment for a child development program
  • Apply theories in managing a child development center
  • Discuss policies, procedures and rules for a child development program
  • Describe the fiscal responsibilities of a child development manager
  • Explain the licensing requirements for a child development program
  • Describe the steps in the job design process
  • Describe the ways in which space is organized to meet the needs of children
  • Describe the policies and practices that a Family Child Care should have in place to protect and promote child health
  • Describe the requirements of a quality educational program
  • Explain the importance of family-friendly practice and cultural responsiveness
  • Describe effective public relations strategies
  • Explain the elements of program evaluation

Instruction Set 9

Working with Multi-Age Groups
This course will present the student with strategies to plan for successful curriculum implementation and creative activities for a setting including young children of multiple ages.

Objectives:

  • Describe what multi-age groups are, why family child care is appropriate for multi-age groups, and the benefits and challenges of serving them
  • Define characteristics of quality and what they look like when serving multi-age groups in family child care
  • Identify the critical management systems to support the day-to-day of teaching multi-age groups in family child care
  • Understand developmental progress for children birth to five
  • Identify developmental milestones for young children
  • Define considerations for multi-age groupings
  • Understand ongoing assessment in the family child care setting
  • Identify activities for the whole group and each child
  • Plan with children's objectives in mind
  • Define the importance of family engagement, particularly in the family child care setting
  • Develop strategies for communicating with families

Instruction Set 10

Caring for Children in Your Home
This course will present the student with strategies to plan for successful learning environments that promote healthy child growth and development, and promote communication with caretakers and family members of young children in an in-home family child care setting.

Objectives:

  • Understand what a quality family child care environment looks like
  • Identify the warning signs of an inappropriate environment
  • Describe how to set the mood and atmosphere of your environment
  • Identify the important considerations and choices that you need to make as you set up your environment
  • Identify the health and safety standards to consider when setting up your environment
  • Describe how to achieve your goals in your setting
  • Describe the importance of organizing the environment
  • Describe how to create an appropriate outdoor environment
  • Describe how to set up your space for children with special needs

Center-Based Specialization

Instruction Set 8

Infant and Toddler Care
This course will introduce the student to the developmental continuum of infants and toddlers, as well as effective curriculum implementation and planning of developmentally appropriate creative activities for the infant and toddler classroom. 

Objectives:

  • Describe the interactions that are critical to child development
  • Describe the components of infant and toddler curriculum
  • Explain how caregiving supports infant and toddler curriculum
  • Explain how play relates to infant and toddler curriculum
  • Describe attachment in children and understand how attachment affects behavior
  • Describe the growth and development of children in relation to their perceptions and motor skills
  • Describe how to support cognitive development in infants and toddlers
  • Explain how to foster language development in infants and toddlers
  • Foster healthy emotional development within infants and toddlers
  • Support healthy social behavior in infants and toddlers
  • Create a safe physical environment for infants and toddlers
  • Create a safe social environment for infants and toddlers
  • Create positive relationships within the child care setting

Instruction Set 9

Working with Preschoolers
This course will introduce the student the developmental continuum of preschool children, as well as effective curriculum implementation and planning of developmentally appropriate creative activities for the preschool classroom. 

Objectives:

  • Explain why play is the primary way of learning for young children
  • Identify the components of a quality early childhood environment
  • Describe why theories of child development, current research, curriculum standards, and desired outcomes should be considered when planning an effective learning environment
  • Explain how to effectively arrange an early childhood classroom
  • Identify the role of the teacher in setting up, maintaining, and enhancing the
    classroom environment
  • Describe how the teacher can help to create a classroom community
  • Discuss the importance of teacher and family partnerships
  • List several ways in which teachers can support family partnerships
  • Discuss how to develop and implement curriculum plans
  • Explain how to effectively set up an activity center with materials and equipment
  • Explain how interest areas promote development in the four domains
  • Discuss how interest areas promote learning in the content areas
  • Design a high-quality interest area

Instruction Set 10

Working with School-Age Children
This course will introduce students to the developmental continuum of school-age children, as well as effective curriculum implementation and planning of developmentally appropriate creative activities for the school-age classroom. 

Objectives:

  • Describe the various ways school-age children are cared for before and after school
  • Identify the care needs of school-age children
  • Describe a quality program for school age children
  • Identify the characteristics and roles of a person who works with school-age children
  • Explain the various theories of child development
  • Describe an adult’s role in the socialization and development of school-age children
  • Identify concerns that face school-age children and their parents
  • Describe guidance strategies that can be used to guide school-age children's behavior
  • Create a safe environment for school-age children
  • Develop a curriculum plan for a school-age program
  • Keep school-age children healthy and fit
  • Support school-age children with indoor activities
  • Support school-age children with outdoor activities
  • Design programs for older children and teens
  • Develop partnerships with families, schools, and the community
  • Describe the licensing and policy issues that a school-age program may face

 

Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

Education requirements vary for Early Childhood Education professionals. Penn Foster recommends you check with the licensing agency in your area for specific requirements. 

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.