Early Childhood Studies

As expectations for the educational preparation of workers in the fields of early child care and education rise, SUNY Empire State College offers you the course work that prepares you to work and advance in the early child care and education profession, such as day care programs, infant/toddler and nursery school settings, pre-K and Head Start.

Your individually designed degree program may be an associate or bachelor’s degree, or both. You may develop a concentration in early childhood or a related field.

Empire State College offers the flexibility a child care provider needs. You can choose from a variety of opportunities at the college, including study groups, online courses and guided independent study.

Note: The AA/AS and BA/BS in Early Educational Studies with a Concentration in Early Childhood Studies does not lead to New York State Teacher Certification. Those interested in initial teacher certification should refer to the Teacher Preparation section on the Educational Studies web page for Empire State College’s programs that lead to recommendations for initial teacher certification.

Early Childhood Course Options

Early childhood studies are offered in a variety of formats across the college, including online courses, study groups, independent studies, and residencies. See below for a sample of course options. For a complete listing of all available studies and online courses, please visit the Course Catalog. For advice on what is available at the nearest New York state location of Empire State College, please contact the local representative listed below.

Examples of Courses Available

  • Attachment in Early Childhood
  • Child Development
  • Curriculum Models in Early Childhood Education
  • Curriculum and Environments for Infants and Toddlers
  • Curriculum and Environments for Preschoolers
  • Early Childhood Professionalism, Family, & Culture
  • Emergent Literacy
  • Health, Safety, and Nutrition in Children’s Programs
  • Infant Toddler Development
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • Meaning and Development of Play
  • Observation and Assessment of Children
  • Young Children and Technology


In addition to degree programs, the college provides you with the college-level academic preparation required for the children’s program administrator credential and the infant-toddler care and education credential offered by the New York Association for the Education of Young Children (NYAEYC). Call NYAEYC at 518-867-3517 or visit www.nyaeyc.org for information.

Children’s Program Administrator Credential

The Children’s Programs Administrator Credential has been developed by the New York Association for the Education of Young Children to assure that child care administrators have the knowledge and skills needed to provide excellent programs. The credential requires a combination of formal education and practical experience bound together by an individual portfolio. Empire State College has all of the courses needed in a variety of modes to meet the formal college education requirements. Please visit http://nyaeyc.org/ for information about how to apply for the credential and submit the portfolio.

Children’s Programs Administration Required Courses

  • Children’s Programs: Administration
  • Children’s Programs: Financial Planning and Budgeting
  • Children’s Programs: Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Children’s Programs: Design and Supervision
  • Children’s Programs: Capstone

The Infant Toddler Care and Education Credential

The Infant Toddler Care and Education Credential of New York State is designed to provide for and be recognized as a standard by which to measure an individual’s competence in the following topics areas: Infant and Toddler Development; Observation and Recording; Environment and Curriculum; and Family and Culture. Please visit http://nyaeyc.org/ for information about how to apply for the credential and submit the portfolio.

Infant Toddler Care and Education Credential Required Courses

  • Infant Toddler Development
  • Curriculum and Environments for Infants and Toddlers
  • Early Childhood Professionalism, Family, & Culture

Early Childhood Residency

During the January term, students can choose from several early childhood related studies that use a blended model combining online or independent study component with one onsite meeting at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

Because Empire State College is a public college and part of the State University of New York, undergraduate tuition and fees are among the lowest in the region.

A number of state and federal financial-aid programs are available for qualifying students, such as scholarships, grants and federal loans.

For more information about scholarships, grants or loan programs at Empire State College, contact our financial aid office:

Educational Incentive Program

The Educational Incentive Program (EIP) provides financial awards to further your education if you are income-eligible and currently working in a registered or licensed child care program.

To apply for an EIP award, call 800-295-9616 or email eip@tsg.suny.edu for an application form.

More Information

To learn more about Empire State College’s early childhood studies program, please fill out a request for more information and you will be directed to a representative who can answer your questions.