Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

The Early Childhood Education program is designed for people who want to provide care and education to children ages birth through eight years old. The program is designed so that you can build your qualifications one credential at a time.
•  CDA Preparation Courses (12 credits)
•  Technical Certificate (24 credits)
•  A.A.S. (61 Credits) or A.S. Degree (60 credits)
Begin your education at Nashville State and build upon the Associate degree to earn more advanced degrees. The opportunities are growing and expanding.

CDA Credential

You can complete training credits as part of earning a CDA (Childhood Development Associate) Credential.

Four course (12 credits) help prepare you for your CDA:

  • ECED 2310 - Safe, Healthy, Learning Environments (formerly ECED 2010)
  • ECED 2315 - Early Childhood Curriculum (formerly ECED 2015)
  • ECED 2340 - Family Dynamics & Community Involvement (formerly ECED 2040)
  • ECED 2335 - Initial Practicum (formerly ECED 2130)

See the NSCC Catalog for course descriptions, syllabi, textbook and scheduling information.

For assistance in completing the national assessment for the CDA and help with tuition and assessment fees, contact the TECTA TSU office or the TECTA APSU office.

Technical Certificate

Early Childhood Education Technical Certificate Advising Sheet

You can earn a Technical Certificate by completing 24 credits while maintaining a 2.0 (or C) GPA in all Early Childhood Education courses.

The certificate is designed to prepare you for employment in early education settings as a caregiver or administrator with children ages birth through 8 (child care centers, family child care, preschools, etc.). The certificate is one of the staff qualifications noted in the Tennessee Stars Licensing System.

See the Early Childhood Education Technical Certificate program site for more certificate information.

The 24 credits in the Early Childhood Education certificate are part of 36 required credits for the A.A.S. degree. There are a total of 61 credits in the A.A.S. degree: 25 general education and 36 Early Childhood Education credits.

You may continue after the certificate to complete an Associate degree.

A.A.S. Degree

Early Childhood Education AAS Advising Sheet

You may choose to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. Students who have already completed the Technical Certificate have already completed 24 of 61 credits. The 61 credits include 25 general education and 36 Early Childhood Education credits.

The degree is designed to prepare you for employment in early childhood settings. Most employers prefer teachers and administrators with degrees; pay scales at most agencies are higher the more education an employee has completed. More advanced opportunities are available.

Additional Study
The A.A.S. degree is designed to prepare you for employment upon graduation. You may choose to continue your studies at a four-year university. Some universities, at their discretion, accept some technical courses for transfer. If you plan to transfer to a university, consult your advisor and the receiving university about transfer and articulation policies. Failure to do so could result in loss of transfer credits.

A.S. Degree

Early Childhood Education AS Advising Sheet (Pre-K–3rd grade)
Child Development and Family Relations AS Advising Sheet

To become a certified, licensed teacher who desires to teach in public schools, a four-year Bachelor degree (120 credits) is required. The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree is designed for students planning four-year university teacher education program.

At Nashville State, you can choose an A.S. degree with an area of emphasis in Early Childhood Education or in Child Development and Family Relations. A total of 60 credits (41 in general education and 19 credits in the area of emphasis) are required to complete the A.S. degree.

Begin by meeting with your advisor to plan your Nashville State courses, ensuring they match the course requirements of the four-year university teacher education program of your choice.

It is very important that you become familiar with requirements of the transfer program you are pursuing. Consult your advisor and the catalog from the transfer college/university of your choice throughout the advising and registration process at Nashville State. Failure to do so could result in a loss of credits in the transfer process.

A.S.T. Degree

Early Childhood Education Pre K-3rd AST Advising Sheet

The Associate of Science in Teaching (A.S.T.) Degree is designed as a transfer degree for students who wish to pursue a career in early childhood education teaching children in Pre-K through third grade in public and private schools. The graduate with an A.S.T. degree will have completed the first two years of a four-year degree that is required for teacher certification in early childhood education in Tennessee. A student who completes all the courses listed in this Tennessee Transfer Pathway will earn an A.S.T. in Pre-K – 3rd grade at NSCC. A student with an A.S.T. is prepared to interview and be accepted into the university’s teacher education program. It is important to contact your selected transfer university as early as possible.

Graduates of the program should be able to:

  • Transfer to a four-year university to earn a degree in early childhood Pre-K – 3rd grade; and
  • Meet requirements for admission into teacher education programs for Pre-K – 3rd licensure.

Admission Requirements
Students must meet regular degree-seeking admission requirements for the Associate of Science degree.

Graduation Requirements
To earn the A.S.T. degree, the student must:

  • Successfully complete the required course of study as outlined in the catalog;
  • Attain a 2.75 cumulative grade point average;
  • Successfully complete the CORE Exam or have a 22 on the ACT or 1020 on the SAT; and
  • Receive a satisfactory rating on an index of suitability for the teaching profession.

Students should consult frequently with their advisors to insure completion of all requirements for this degree. Failure to do so could result in a loss of credits in the transfer process.


Grading Policy and Practicum Courses

Students who wish to register for the practicum courses (ECED 2335 - Initial Practicum [formerly ECED 2130 - Initial Practicum] or ECED 2365 Final Practicum [formerly ECED 2160 - Final Practicum]) should contact an advisor for information about clinical requirements prior to enrolling. Before registering for the practicum courses, a student must have:

  • Attained a grade of “C” or higher in all ECED courses taken.
  • Met all prerequisite requirements.

Background Check for Employment

Students who wish to become employed in child care programs licensed by Department of Human Services, State of Tennessee must undergo a criminal history and abuse registry background check. Tennessee law requires a satisfactory background check prior to employment. This is initiated by the employer.

Student Testimonials

"Childcare was changing. Tennessee was fast becoming a leader in our field and I wanted to keep up, but that meant I would need to go back to college after a thirty-year absence. I was very apprehensive, however I have had a wonderful experience! We Nashville State Early Childhood Education students are privileged to have educators who are abreast with the latest developments, and are committed to making a difference in the lives of the students and in the quality of work we perform. I'm proud that I garnered the courage to return to school. I know that I am performing on a more professional level than before. Many thanks to Nashville State and especially the Early Childhood Education program for giving me that opportunity."
- Nelda Fulghum, Early Childhood Education Student

"Before I enrolled in Nashville State Early Childhood Education classes I was a provider that more or less thought of herself as a babysitter. Now I feel I am a quality child care provider. I have to say that taking Early Childhood Education classes has been and will continue to be a great experience for me. I have learned so much that I can apply to my everyday work with children. I am able to understand more of why I do the things I do in my child care home, and see the outcomes in the work the children do. Last year I earned a Technical Certificate in Early Childhood Education at Nashville State and am currently working toward an A.A.S. degree. I am grateful to Nashville State and TECTA for helping me believe in myself."
- Pamela Sharp, Owner—Pam's Group Child Care Home

Program Faculty

Amy Davis, Associate Professor, 615-353-3519
Amy DavisAmy has comprehensive experience working with young children in public schools. Through her time in public schools, Amy taught pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade. As part of a pilot program for universal preschool in Louisiana, she co-led a model class for mainstreaming special need preschoolers. Amy has also served on advisory committees for implementing preschools in public schools. As a teacher, she designed and implemented parenting clubs, mentored colleagues, supervised preservice teachers in preschool programs, led professional development workshops, and served on curriculum teams. Amy has twice been awarded Teacher of the Year by her colleagues. She has been on the faculty at Nashville State since 2007.

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Mississippi State University, 1999
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Mississippi, 2001
Early Childhood Add-On Certification, Nunez Community College, 2003

Brenda Jerles, Assistant Professor, Clarksville Campus, 931-472-3458
Brenda JerlesBrenda has over 30 years of experience as a public school kindergarten teacher in several different school settings. She has mentored teachers, led workshops for early childhood professionals and families, and served on curriculum committees as part of her work in public schools. She joined the faculty of Nashville State in 2009. Brenda primarily teaches and advises at the Clarksville Campus.

B.S. Elementary Education, Austin Peay University, 1972
M.S., Agricultural Science, Tennessee State University, 1984
+45, Professional Administrator Pre K-12, Austin Peay University, 1994
License in Elementary Grades 1-9, 1972
License in Kindergarten Grade 3, 1972
License in Professional Administrator Pre K-12, 1994

Nancy Ledbetter, Associate Professor, 615-353-3616
Nancy LedbetterNancy has over 30 years diverse experience as a preschool teacher, home visitor administrator, college instructor, CDA advisor, and early childhood consultant. As a teacher, Nancy has taught 4-year-olds, young toddlers, and children with special needs. She has been a director of three early education programs: a parent-cooperative child care, a inner-city community-based early education program, and a corporate-sponsored, hospital-based child care program. Two of these early childhood programs received national accreditation from NAEYC while under her leadership. She joined the faculty of Nashville State in 2000.

Bachelor of Science in Childhood Development and Family Relations, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1972
Tennessee Teacher Certification Grades K-8, 1974
Master of Science Psychology Childhood Development Specialist, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, 1979
PITC Certified Trainer for Program for Infant and Toddler Caregivers (Modules I, II, III, & IV), 2000

Peggy Sharpe, Associate Professor, 615-353-3365
Peggy SharpePeggy has taught Early Childhood Education at the college level since 1991. She was the coordinator of the program at a community college in Ohio before moving to Nashville in 2001 and joining the faculty at Nashville State. Besides developing and teaching the courses for the community college in Ohio, she and her husband started a non-profit organization. That organization has grown to include two child care centers and three before- and after-school sites. Peggy is also a consultant and trainer, providing training sessions to help improve quality at early childhood centers.

Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, Harding University, 1967
Master of Science in Childhood Development and Family Life, Ohio University, 1989

Program Accreditation - National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC

The A.A.S. Degree has earned NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation.The A.A.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education has earned NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

National Association for the Education of Young Children NAEYC

Contact Information

E-mail: EarlyChildhood@nscc.edu
Program Office: 615-353-3717

Nancy Ledbetter, Associate Professor
Phone: 615-353-3616

Campus Directory

Catalog and Class Schedule

See NSCC Catalog for program requirements, recommended schedules, course descriptions and syllabi.

See Class Schedule for course availability.

Program Mission, Goals and Conceptual Framework

Mission Statement - Conceptual Framework (PDF document)

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