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Undergraduate Program Overview and Course List

* Wheelock College and SIT are no longer accepting any applications for this program. The Bachelors of Science at SIT will conclude in June 2018.


The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education consists of 22 modules and 80 credits, with an added emphasis on special needs children and the inculcation of managerial and leadership skills for future professionals.

Oral and written presentations, as well as group projects and exercises, are common assessment tools rather than seated examinations. . There is also a 30-hour Service Learning Project that is required for graduation and builds on students’ interests as well as develops their leadership and professional skills.

A special highlight of the Wheelock degree experience is a required five-week Summer Immersion Program, held on the beautiful Wheelock campus in the heart of Boston, one of the US’s oldest and culturally dynamic cities. This experience, which commences the second year of study, includes instruction in three intensive modules as well as the opportunity to interact with American ECE professionals in many different settings.

Programme Structure

Semester 1

EDU 240 – The Impact of Special Needs on Learning and Development: The Early Years (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Considers the ways in which various special needs may impact children’s learning and development. Emphasizes understanding the learning experience from the perspective of the child with special needs and his/her family. Introduces policies and regulations relevant to special education and their implications for optimally serving all children. Addresses curriculum development and instructional methodology appropriate for inclusive classrooms. Examines students’ learning needs in a historical and social context. Considers factors that affect learning, including neurological, perceptual, cognitive, language, motor, behavior, and motivational issues. Learners examine ways to apply the theoretical knowledge presented in this course to their practice.

HDP 264 Research Methods: Current Issues and Research in Early Childhood Education in Singapore (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Introduces the use of scientific methods to answer questions raised in the study of human behaviour and development. Learners will examine the basics of research design, selection of measures, data collection, descriptive analysis, and research ethics. Learners will develop research questions and propose a research study. Learners will have an opportunity to review and examine current trends and issues in pre-school education that exist both globally and locally. In doing so, participants will be able to identify implications of research and realize its significance in exacting improvement in and change to pre-school programs and classroom practices. In addition, participants will reflect on their understanding of teaching practices and identify gaps and issues that they would like to address through research, then develop a conceptual framework on how to approach a research project.

HDP 362 The Meaning and Development of Play (4 Undergraduate Credits)

This course will focus on infants, toddlers and young children with some attention being given to the meaning of play in later development.

To enable participants to identify and explain children’s play the course will support learners in their understanding of theories of play and how different socio-cultural contexts shape the development of play. Through readings, observations, class discussions, and written assignments, participants will analyse different attitudes towards play and the influence these attitudes have on a child’s developing dispositions and cognitive processes. Play will be explored and understood as the vehicle for ‘deep’ learning in early childhood educational provision and as current research findings inform that play is essential for the fullest activation of the brain. The professional teachers’ influence on children’s play will be emphasized throughout the course.

SPE 393 Inclusive Curriculum and Environments (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Develops theoretical and practical knowledge of innovative curricula, flexible classroom environments, and teaching practices that integrate adaptive-physical, behavioral, social, and academic teaching and learning. Using a developmental framework and key design principles, such as McTighe and Wiggins’ (2004) Understanding by Design (UbD), Differentiated Instruction (Tomlinson, 2004), Universal Design for Learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002) and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (Irvine & Armento, 2001), this course builds on the idea that effective curriculum grows from an understanding of how children learn, relevant and rigorous content, accurate and authentic assessments, and a supportive classroom ecology.

THE 277 Movement and Drama for Children (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Explores the value of creative drama in preschool and early-childhood education classrooms. Develops the skills and techniques required to create drama activities that enhance self-expression, build self-esteem, and develop community. Learners will plan, implement, and evaluate drama experiences for children while investigating the role of drama as a vehicle for teaching and learning in a variety of settings.

THE 351 Learning and Teaching through the Arts (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Analyzes the creative processes through the visual arts, music, movement, drama, and dance. Learners will examine current literature in creativity, multiple intelligences theory, and the arts. Participants will learn how to bridge the gap between theory and practice in order to effectively integrate the arts into a classroom or workplace setting. The course combines experiential learning with readings, reflective assignments, and discussions.

Semester 2

RES 651/652 Action Research I and II – RES 651 (4 Undergraduate Credits in total)

Offers learners the opportunity to initiate a year-long research project to answer questions they have about teaching and learning, schools and communities. Part one, RES 651, introduces learners to the use of scientific inquiry and research methodology. Learners develop library research and professional writing skills and gain familiarity with methods used to study questions arising from practice.

EDU 326 Promoting Young Children’s Language Acquisition and Development (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Explores child language acquisition theory and research, and examines practices for promoting children’s linguistic development in the context of a multilingual society. An important focus of the course will be the use of multicultural children’s literature to promote vocabulary and other language systems foundational to literacy development.

EDU 340 Developing Literacy for Young Children in a Multilingual Society (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Analyzes the stages of the child’s early reading and writing development in the context of a multilingual society. Examines assessment procedures, teaching strategies, classroom environments, and reading materials in terms of their effect upon the child’s expected course of reading development and in light of current literacy research.

LPA 706 The Role of the Mentor Teacher (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Addresses issues raised by mentor teachers as they move into a variety of new roles and structures. Discusses effective observation, communication and supervising skills; adult development and learning; state-of-the-art knowledge about teaching, learning and curriculum; and societal changes. Examines organisational issues such as selecting and assigning mentors, differentiating teacher roles, empowering teachers, working out evaluation responsibilities, providing time and other resources and creating and coordinating the required new roles and structures for both mentor teachers and the protégés. Surveys the many aspects of creating healthy school environments, child care centers, and organizations for children and families in Asia.

MAT 170 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (4 Undergraduate Credits)

This course aims to instill in students an understanding of elementary statistical techniques needed in handling group data in the behavioral sciences. This includes setting up frequency distributions, portrayal of data by graphs, measures of central tendency and variability of data, percentiles and standard scores. Emphasis is on sampling theory, hypothesis testing and drawing conclusions about a population from sample data.

PRO 415 Helping Children Cope with Stress (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Presents theory, research, and clinical evidence concerning the effects of stress on children’s coping patterns and development. Stressors ranging from normal family/school/life cycle transitions to the threat of separation and loss due to divorce, illness, abuse, violence, trauma, natural disasters, or death to the chronic stress of poverty are addressed. A major focus of the course will be to assist participants to understand the special learning needs of the child who is experiencing stress in his/her life and how to meet his/her needs. The needs of underserved populations and working with parents, agencies, and communities will also be emphasized. The class will explore concepts of vulnerability and resilience and practical methods for helping children increase their competence in developing resiliency in the Singaporean context.

Semester 3

EDU 352 Information Technology in Early Childhood Education (4 Undergraduate Credits)

The course is designed to equip learners with ways in which practitioners can make use of Information and Communication Technology to support children’s development as well as to facilitate the work of practitioners in their work with young children. Learners will discuss and critically examine issues relating to the use of technology in an early childhood setting. Class discussions and school visits will engage learners to integrate technology in early education. Learners will evaluate the use of a variety of electronic media to facilitate the design of lessons and curricula in the early education setting, and create appropriate learning environments using technological means. It is anticipated that the average elementary student today may experience a rate of change that is 500 times greater than today’s adults have faced in their lifetime. Given that fact, it is vital that learners must understand technology and technological change.

RES 651/652 Action Research I and II – RES 652 (4 Undergraduate Credits in total)

Part two, RES 652, of the Action Research sequence advances learner-designed research projects initially conceptualized in part one. Projects include use of relevant theories, brief literature reviews, the collection and analysis of data, and a final report. Students who produce outstanding examples of research may be invited to revise their work for publication as a Working Paper or present it at a multi-university student research conference.

EDU 367 Foundations in Communication and Collaboration (2 Undergraduate Credits)

Explores effective adult interactions across roles and relationships. Cultural and critical theories provide the foundation for analysis and practical application of communication skills. Communication skill-building focuses on use of culturally competent approaches, reflective practices, self-assessment, providing and receiving feedback, and setting achievable goals. Emphasis is on cultivating expertise for successful collaboration.

EDU 420 Advancing Communication and Collaboration (2 Undergraduate Credits)

Promote ways to build trusting inter-professional relationships and achieve cultural consistency through effective communication in settings/institutions involving parents and professionals. Leadership and research activities include conducting environmental scans, examining alliance building strategies, and designing professional development and action plans that are inclusive and address community assets and needs.

PSC 399 Field Studies in Science (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Introduces general principles of environmental science using a hands-on approach. This course will rely heavily on outdoor activities and field trips, supplemented by lectures and class discussions. A variety of topics will be covered, beginning with an examination of the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science using current issues such as global warming. A variety of protocols utilized by environmental scientists in their research will then be presented to students for their subsequent use in extensive studies of local ecosystems (e.g., Muddy River, Blue Hills Reservation, MacRitchie Reservoir, Dairy Farm, etc.). Throughout the course, students will keep a scientific notebook in which they will record observations, design experimental protocols, collect data, and analyze results. The course will culminate with an extensive research project on a local urban ecosystem.

THE 352 Immersion and Integration through Drama (1 undergraduate credit)

Uses drama to develop speaking and listening skills, develop a movement vocabulary, and as an alternative assessment tool in 15 hours of workshop sessions with the Wheelock Family Theatre. Participants enhance observation and assessment skills and connect drama to leadership skills through scene work, improvisation, and observation.

Semester 4

EDU 474 Policy, Advocacy, and Leadership in Early Childhood Education (3 Undergraduate Credits)

Explores issues related to social justice and early education policy in a cultural context, including political and societal implications for diverse children, families and the workforce. Analyses about the process of change, policy development, leadership theories, and the meaning of advocacy are examined. Emphasis is placed on understanding leadership skills and applying them across roles and domains in the field. A community action project, planned and designed by groups of students, focuses on the local early childhood sector and concludes the Capstone.

EDU 402 Interpersonal Skills of Leadership (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Exposes learners to a variety of theories, perspectives, and case examples of effective leadership. Addresses issues that include the differences between leadership and management, the competencies demonstrated by effective leaders, and how leadership skills are developed. Learners are expected to draw on and examine their personal leadership experiences.

HDP 358 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Childcare (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Uses ecological and related frameworks within the disciplines of psychology anthropology, sociology, and education to examine the practices of non-parental care giving, of young children worldwide. These practices include both center-based, institutionalized care where it exists and has been studied, and less formal care arrangements such as family child care and relative care. Also explores cultural patterns in other domains of care giving, such as feeding, sleeping, and children’s “everyday” activities. Learners will construct an applied understanding of development as a cultural process, and the implications this has for sensitive interactions with children and families from diverse ethnic and cultural groups.

SPE 341 Assessing Students with Special Needs (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Provides discussion and practice in assessing academic, social, and behavioral domains of children. Focuses on informal and formal tools to analyze, interpret, and communicate results to families and school teams. Covers interpretation assessment results related to Individualized Education Program development, curricula, and racial and cultural bias. Discusses effective, informal assessment techniques and emphasizes an ecological approach to gathering information. Introduces standardized assessment and screening instruments and provides an overview of the purposes and limitations of such tests.

EDU 483 Entrepreneurship in Early Childhood Education Context (4 Undergraduate Credits)

Provides learners with the foundation to plan, build, implement, manage and grow an organization that provides a service or product for children and families. Learners gain a keen understanding of the realities of entrepreneurship, including the pitfalls encountered and the lessons learned by other entrepreneurs. Topics to be reviewed include how to think analytically about organizational systems, how leaders play a critical role in shaping an organization, how to determine and marshal the financial resources necessary for a start-up business, introducing franchising as a possible entry strategy and what to do to improve the likelihood of success. Competencies in organizational design, human resources management, leadership, plan preparation, analysis of risk, and organizational behavior relevant to small businesses are addressed.

Learners develop a business plan establishing an organization such as a childcare chain, enrichment center, or 24-hour childcare network; develop an educational learning product; create a catalog of educational resources; and/or launch an online or retail store to offer children’s edutainment products. Each plan will include a description of the product or service, marketing plan, descriptions of the competition and targeted markets, channel for distribution, financial plan, and estimate of start-up funding needed. Projects may be completed individually or in small groups. Throughout the course, criterion will be established to allow a panel to identify innovative and promising concepts to receive recognition and/or an award(s).

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