Associate Degree in Childhood and Family Studies


Program Description

The Associate of Science Childhood Education and Family Studies Emphasis degree leads to a baccalaureate degree in human development, early childhood education or social science with a certificate in early childhood education. Students may petition for adjustments in the Southwestern AS degree if course requirements are met for the first two years of any regionally accredited four-year institution offering a degree in education, early childhood education, family studies, human or child development. Eastern Oregon University distance education degree of liberal studies with an early childhood education emphasis articulates with SWOCC's AS degree. The AS degree is also articulated with Portland State University through their external degree program. All coursework specific to childhood education and family studies degrees and certificates is offered online through Southwestern’s online platform. Both the AS with an emphasis in childhood education and family studies and our AAS in Childhood Education and Family Studies are now accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation program.


Upon successful completion of this program the student will have knowledge and skills to the following Standards: 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning Students develop and use their understanding of child development – including young children's unique characteristics and needs, and the multiple interacting influences on children's development and learning – to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child. Key elements of Outcome 1; 1a: Describe young children's diverse characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8. 1b: Explain the multiple influences on early development and learning. 1c: Use knowledge of child development to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children. 2. Building Family and Community Relationships Students articulate the complex characteristics of children's families and communities and use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to engage all families in their children's development and learning. Key elements of Outcome 2; 2a: Describe diverse family and community characteristics. 2b: Develop and implement strategies to support and engage families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships. 2c: Develop and implement plans to engage families and communities in young children's development and learning. 3. Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families Students articulate the goals, benefits, and purposes of assessment and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child. Key elements of Outcome 3; 3a: State the goals, benefits, and purposes of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children. 3b: Use observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection. 3c: Practice responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child, including an awareness of assistive technology for children with ability differences. 3d: Describe how assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues can be used to build effective learning environments. 4. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches Students implement a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child's development and learning, which will vary depending on children's ages, characteristics, and the early childhood setting. Key elements of Outcome 4; 4a: Discuss how supportive relationships and positive interactions are the foundation of their work with young children. 4b: List and implement effective instructional and guidance strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology. 4c: Use a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning and guidance approaches. 4d: Reflect on their own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child. 5. Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaningful Curriculum Students develop and apply their knowledge of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for each child. Key elements of Outcome 5; 5a: Begin to explain content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science; physical education – physical activity, health, and safety; and social studies. 5b: Recognize and apply the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines. 5c: Use their own knowledge, appropriate early learning outcomes, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child. 6. Becoming a Professional Students are collaborative learners who continuously demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives of their work, make informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources, including ethical guidelines, and advocate for sound educational practices and policies. Key elements of Outcome 6; 6a: Identify as a member of the early childhood field and become involved in the professional community. 6b: Locate and apply ethical guidelines and other early childhood professional guidelines. 6c: Engage in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource. 6d: Integrate knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education into their work. 6e: Engage in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession. 7. Early Childhood Field Experiences Students engage in field experiences and clinical practice to develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children in a variety of early childhood settings and with multiple age groups. Key elements of Outcome 7; 7a. Observe and practice in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3-5, 5-8). 7b. Observe and practice in at least two of the three main types of early education settings (primary school grades, child care centers and homes, ECEAP/Head Start programs).


Students are required to take the college placement test to determine skill level and readiness in math, reading and writing. As part of their training program, students must begin with the courses within their skill level as determined by the college placement test scores. All Early Childhood Education and Family Studies students are required to obtain a valid first aid and CPR card, a Food Handlers Card, and complete HDFS9284 Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting. They are also required to have a criminal history background check.


Students must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or better. All courses must be passed with a grade of ‘C’ or better. Twenty-four (24) credits must be completed at Southwestern before the AS degree is awarded. Courses that are developmental in nature, designed to prepare students for college transfer courses, are not applicable to this degree. Complete the graduation application process one term prior to the term of completion (e.g., spring term graduates must apply during winter term). Credit for prior learning options are available for students with an Infant Toddler Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Step seven on the Oregon Registry and with community based training or certificate of completion for first connections training and watching.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Southwestern Oregon Community College is a state, fully accredited, two-year community college that prepares international students to succeed in their education while embracing American culture fully ... Read More

Southwestern Oregon Community College is a state, fully accredited, two-year community college that prepares international students to succeed in their education while embracing American culture fully in a vibrant community. Read less