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Banner with school logo and school name and motto
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2024 – 2025

Early Childhood Education 

Joanne Romanelli, Academy B Administrator – Ext. 267

Course & Program of Studies

Statement of Purpose

An early childhood education student is an individual with an interest in working with young children in a classroom setting. Initially, ninth graders and sophomore students are assigned to train in GNB Voc-Tech’s Developmental Laboratory Preschool and Pre-kindergarten programs. The on-site experience allows students to work closely with classes of four and five-year-olds.

Students observe the growth and development of children, focusing on their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Students help to plan the activities that are part of the preschool day. Junior students work with the pre-kindergarten-aged children in the school’s Center. They teach lessons and run a five-day-a-week program.

Senior students participate in co-op. With the help of our related subjects, students put to use both the theory and practical methods to make them well-rounded student and eventually, a better teacher. Besides teaching in the preschool or kindergarten areas, students go on to family child care, become health care workers, and elementary education teachers, or enter any field related to children. The Early Childhood Education program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).


Exploratory Program

The ninth-grade exploratory program provides students with an introductory understanding of childcare and early childhood development. Through hands-on activities, observations, and theoretical learning, students engage with four-year-old children to gain practical experience in nurturing, educating, and supporting their development. The program covers topics such as child safety, basic caregiving skills, early childhood psychology, and lesson planning.

Freshman Program

This program introduces students to early childhood education and teaching as they get practical experience working with our four-year-olds. Students are taught the rudimentary skills needed to become a teacher, such as developing, writing, and implementing developmentally appropriate learning activities. During this time, skills are being taught and will be refined throughout the student’s three and a half years in the program.


Sophomore Program

This sophomore introduction course is designed to help students become proficient in becoming skilled early childhood workers. Students gain immeasurable experience working with four-year-olds in a live setting. This is a ninety-day course that consists of six-day cycles. Students obtain practical experience in determining their own curriculum for two different age groups and many developmental levels amongst the varied children that they teach in our preschool program. Students become aware of children’s individual interests and strengths and find ways to engage and expand them; they do so by arranging for a rich variety of learning experiences that appeal to the children physically as well as through their visual and auditory senses. This is accomplished by alternating individual, partnered, small group and large group activities so that children experience various kinds of social interaction.

Our students 


  1. Plan activities that they feel will stimulate the child’s learning needs and engage  children in age appropriate activities. 
  2. They provide materials and equipment with which children can play and learn by doing.
  3. Students then reflect on the activities and decide if their  ideas were implemented properly.
  4. They then revisit that idea and make changes to better the child’s needs.
  5. Finally, the students help children connect their new knowledge with their past  experiences creating links between subject areas and areas of skill development.

Sophomore Related Class 1

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

Introduction to Early Childhood Education and Teaching, sophomore program, covers many trade related fields associated with education of young children. As an introductory course, students will directly study various types of child care available to parents that meet the many unique needs of children. As students are introduced to a child care setting in our laboratory school, this course compliments their experience. We examine the stages of child development from infancy to middle childhood, provide hands-on assessment opportunities including observations, and explore educational theorists. Upon completion of the sophomore year students will identify ways of maintaining a safe and developmentally appropriate learning environment for children.

Sophomore Related Class 2

Principles of Business

“Principles of Business” is a sophomore level course, which centers around principles, policies and procedures related to being an entrepreneur. Two tracks run simultaneously during this course. The first, focuses on the use of computers, understanding application, hardware, software and responsible use of technology. The course also concentrates on intermediate word processing and spreadsheet applications using Microsoft Word and Excel. Students will process business correspondence, mail merges, memos, tables, and newsletters, as well as basic Microsoft Excel functions. Through the text, “The Teen Entrepreneur”, students study the principles of entrepreneurship, small business, and start-up procedures. At the same time they choose a business of their own and prepare all necessary documents to obtain funding, research the market, gain customers, and operate the business. Students will be challenged to use creativity, entrepreneurial writing, and decision-making skills that will yield a professional business plan and marketing materials. The business plan can then be used as a guide to help operate and manage the chosen business.

Junior Program

The Early Childhood Education and Teaching junior course builds and expands on the student’s knowledge of children’s growth and development. They will focus on the five major areas of growth: emotional, social, physical, psychological, and cognitive growth.

The Early Childhood Education and Teaching junior students will work in the lab school pre k program. These students will interact and plan lessons that are developmentally appropriate for a class of 10-15 five year olds. Students will be trained to organize a daily plan and to write a lesson plan using the technical language learned in their related class and shop class for one of the following areas, oral language, fine motor, gross motor, art, music, science, and math. Students are required to implement their daily plan and their written lesson plan with the pre-k students. When the pre-K students leave, the Early Childhood Education and Teaching students evaluate the day and their lesson plan, complete their daily jobs, clean the classroom and prepare their lessons for the next day.

Junior Related 1

Curriculum Development

Students will learn how to prepare and implement an early childhood, developmentally appropriate curriculum unit for a pre-kindergarten classroom. Students will begin with selecting a thematic unit to teach children, create a flowchart to brainstorm concepts and ideas, as well as a curriculum web and block plan to assist in their thematic curriculum unit plan. Students will be instructed in the writing of formal lesson plans using the MA Guidelines for Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Experiences (Standards) in the subjects of art, literature, dramatic play, writing/fine motor, math, science, social studies, nutrition, music and movement, oral language, and gross motor.
Students will write and illustrate an original children’s story related to their themes, create puppets and perform an original puppet show, and then implement all of their lessons at the closing of the academic year in the Pre-K classroom. Children’s story books will be read aloud and studied in class in order for student’s to understand the relevance of literature to implementation of a meaningful curriculum.

Junior Related 2

Child Development I

Child Development I is the first part of the Child Development coursework introduced during the students’ junior year. In this course, students will be able to describe how children develop cognitively, physically, and socio-emotionally during the first five years of life. Studying and knowing how children develop in these four developmental domains is extremely important to all aspects of Early Childhood Education. Knowledge of child development is vital to planning developmentally appropriate curriculum, understanding all aspects of behavior, and working with parents and families. Parents and families look to their child’s care provider for assistance and advice in caring for their children and teachers need to be knowledgeable about the ages and stages all children go through. At the outcome of this course, students will have basic knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice in working with children born to seven years of age. Students will be exposed to the relationships of behavior in regards to each developmental domain. Students will prepare the classroom environment that is conducive to children’s cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.

Senior Program

The Early Childhood Education and Teaching senior course is a one-year course that builds and expands on the student’s knowledge of children’s growth and development. They will focus on the five major areas of growth: emotional, social, physical, psychological, and cognitive growth.

The Early Childhood Education and Teaching senior students will work at area public schools, day care centers and special needs classrooms. These students will experience different teaching styles and philosophies with the teachers in these classrooms. Students will work alongside the teachers in their classrooms and be able to be responsible for conducting oral language, fine motor, gross motor, art, music, science, and math lessons.

The senior students will have a task list to implement and an evaluation form that their placement teacher will grade them on. They will also be responsible for maintaining a senior shop notebook throughout the year.

Senior Related 1

Child Development II / Classroom Management

Child Development II is the second part of the Child Development coursework introduced during the students’ senior year. In this course, students will be able to describe how children develop cognitively, physically, and socio-emotionally as it relates to co-op/placement. During this course, seniors will reflect on the work of five theorists; John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky and the impact of their theories on early childhood education. Massachusetts Early Childhood Standards and Regulations will be addressed to ensure understanding of laws associated with safety and learning in a Child Care setting.

In the Classroom Management course, students will learn how to properly prepare an early childhood environment from planning individual indoor and outdoor activities to selecting appropriate furniture, toys, and other classroom materials that are developmentally appropriate for specific age groups. Students will demonstrate an understanding of promoting children’s health and safety by implementing the course’s objectives directly in their co-op/ placement classrooms. Students will work with the MA State Regulations and Standards to create Health Policies, Personnel Policies, and Program Policies for a child care center. Students will learn how to plan a safe, educational environment as well as ways to promote children’s physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional needs which in turn fosters positive classroom management skills. Students will also learn how to implement positive guidance techniques in order to sustain and promote children’s social, emotional, and physical well- being.

Senior Related 2

Childcare Methods – Elective

Childcare Methods is an elective course offered to seniors who are furthering their career in the field of education. Students will be assigned an independent theorist research project in addition to studying programs for infants and toddlers, school-age children and the importance of engaging parents and families in the educational process. The course will also focus on the vast career opportunities available in the field of early childhood education. Aspects of career readiness will be addressed from creating a resume to establishing a professional portfolio outlining skills and abilities.



  • Department of Early Education and Care Preschool Teacher Qualification certificate and/or  Infant/Toddler Teacher Qualification certificate
  • American Red Cross CPR and First Aid Child Abuse & Neglect (EEC Essentials)
  • Emergency Response Planning (EEC Essentials) 
  • Food Related Risk & Response 
  • Infant Safe Sleeping Practices 
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Infection Diseases and Immunization
  • Introduction to Child Development
  • Medication Administration
  • Physical Premises Safety
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Transporting Children
  • Reducing Implicit Bias
  • Pyramid Model Birth to Five

Career Opportunities

  • Certified Preschool Teacher
  • Director-Early Childhood Center
  • Elementary Teacher
  • Family Counselors
  • Guidance Counselor
  • Occupational Therapist 
  • Pediatric Nurse 
  • Preschool Teacher 
  • Recreational Therapist 
  • School Adjustment Counselor 
  • School Psychologist
  • Social Worker 
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Speech Therapist

Post-Secondary Education

Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education: This is a two-year undergraduate program typically offered by community colleges. It provides foundational knowledge and skills for working with young children.

Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education: A four-year undergraduate program that delves deeper into child development, teaching strategies, and curriculum planning for young children.

Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development: Similar to ECE but with a broader focus on child development theories and practices.

Teacher Certification Programs: Some regions offer specific certification or licensure programs for individuals who already have a degree in another field but want to become certified to teach in early childhood settings.

Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education: A graduate-level program that allows individuals to specialize further in areas such as curriculum development, assessment, leadership in ECE settings, or advocacy.