Early Childhood:

Program Planning


Instructor Name:

Dr. Marrea Winnega


Aumony Dahl, M.Ed.



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday




Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:





Welcome to Early Childhood: Program Planning, an interactive distance learning course designed to give you a new perspective on planning and implementing developmentally appropriate practices for young children from birth through age eight. In this course you will learn what is meant by curriculum, assessment, evaluation, and program planning as these terms apply to early childhood education. We will discuss several historical perspectives and theories on child development and examine best practice for early childhood education. We will also examine key concepts and specific activities for teaching various curricular content areas, including language and literacy, mathematics and science, and the expressive arts.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer. Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.



Course Materials (Online)


Early Childhood: Program Planning


Virtual Education Software, inc. 2008, Revised 2012, Revised 2015, Revised 2018, Revised 2021


Dr. Marrea Winnega


Aumony Dahl, M.Ed.



Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.

Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.

Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.



Level of Application

This course is designed as one of a five-part series on early childhood education. Upon completion of the five-course series you will have covered most competencies found in a Child Development Associates (CDA) program, however, completion of all five courses does not earn participants a CDA unless they are formally enrolled in a program that recognizes these courses within that program. This course specifically covers competencies 1–9, 12, and 13 (it is recommended you check on individual state competencies), which all relate to the establishment of well-run, purposeful programs for young children that are responsive to individual needs and advance the development of the whole child. This course also incorporates the applicable Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, in addition to the newest National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation Standards (2018), and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law on December 10, 2015. ESSA both sustains and expands the nation’s investment in increasing access to high-quality early childhood education for all children. This course is designed for anyone who plans programs for young children: child-care providers, early childhood educators, and healthcare or social services providers, to name a few.



Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

·         Identify the general guidelines for early childhood curriculum, assessment, and evaluation as presented by NAEYC.

·         Explain the key components of a developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) for young children.

·         Discuss numerous ways to make adaptations, accommodations, and modifications for students with special learning needs.

·         Explain the three principles for learning presented by the National Research Council (1999) that directly apply to classroom teaching for children of all ages.

·         Discuss research-based positions and standards for various curricular content areas.

·         Identify and plan key components of an integrated early childhood curriculum that fosters curiosity and promotes the process of inquiry.

·         Describe a variety of ways to integrate language and literacy, mathematics and science, and social studies and expressive arts activities in meaningful ways throughout the early childhood curriculum.

·         Provide the most current requirements for earning a CDA Credential or NAEYC Accreditation.



Course Description

This course, Program Planning, has been divided into four chapters. It discusses numerous considerations for planning and implementing a comprehensive, research-based curriculum for young children. Included will be topics such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Understanding by Design (UbD), differentiated instruction, and the use of developmentally appropriate technology for young children. Various perspectives on the history and theory behind early childhood education and child development will be examined, in addition to discussing various forms of diversity among children. We will also discuss what curriculum is, and identify guidelines presented by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for appropriate curriculum for young children through eight years of age. We will take an overall look at the basic steps for creating an appropriate curriculum, planning a daily schedule, and creating lesson plans and activities for early childhood programs. In addition to focusing our attention on appropriate curricular approaches, we will touch briefly on several curricular approaches to avoid.


While the first chapter of the course provides an overview of general considerations and approaches for early childhood curriculum, assessment, and evaluation, later chapters of the course will take a more in-depth look at appropriate curriculum for various age groups such as infants & toddlers, preschoolers, and primary school children. Curricular considerations for integrating specific content areas such as language and literacy, math and science, and social studies and expressive arts will also be discussed.


Each chapter contains additional handouts or attachments that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth. They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the early childhood education setting in which you work. Some of the topics are intended for you, as the professional, while others are intended for you to pass on to parents, when appropriate.



Student Expectations       

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.



Chapter Topics

Chapter One: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Curriculum, Assessment, & Evaluation


Chapter Two: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Language & Literacy


Chapter Three: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Mathematics & Science


Chapter Four: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Social Studies & Expressive Arts




At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.



Facilitator Description

Early Childhood: Program Planning has been developed by Aumony Dahl, MS/ED, the instructor of record. Aumony received her Master’s degree in Exceptional Children from Western Washington University. She is certified to teach in K–12 Special Education with an additional endorsement in Early Childhood Special Education. Aumony began her career working as an elementary special education teacher for several years. She is currently an instructor in the Special Education Department at Western Washington University—teaching a variety of classes on topics related to early childhood special education, students with complex special needs, assessment and evaluation, and program planning. Aumony also enjoys her role as a supervisor for practicum students who are training to become teachers. In addition to this course, Aumony has authored two other courses in this Early Childhood series, called Early Childhood: Family-Centered Services and Early Childhood: Infant & Toddler Mental Health.



Instructor Description

Dr. Marrea Winnega, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20 years of experience in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Psychiatry. She consults for schools and agencies serving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Asperger’s Disorder. She has also conducted numerous workshops, in-services, and trainings throughout the United States. Please contact Professor Dahl if you have course content or examination questions.



Contacting the Facilitator

You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Dahl at aumony_dahl@virtualeduc.com or calling her at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches or other issues that involve the operation of the course. Please contact Professor Dahl if you have course content or examination questions.



Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.



Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.




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American Academy of Pediatrics (http://www.aap.org)

American Institute for Research (https://www.air.org/)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)

Center for Parent Information and Resources (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/)

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (https://developingchild.harvard.edu/)

Council for Exceptional Children (http://www.cec.sped.org)

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (https://www.ed.gov/essa?src=ft)

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation (http://www.highscope.org)

National Arts Education Association (http://www.arteducators.org/)

National Association for the Education of Young Children (http://naeyc.org)

National Association of Counsel for Children (http://www.naccchildlaw.org/)

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (http://aem.cast.org/)

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (http://www.nctm.org/)

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (http://www.nectac.org)

National Ed Tech Plan (NETP) (https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf)

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Zero to Three Organization (http://www.zerotothree.org)


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization’s web home page.


9/22//21  JN