Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education prepares students to enter the childcare and early learning field as highly skilled caregivers or early learning professionals who can immediately contribute to the development and growth of a child. The Early Childhood Education curriculum promotes high quality learning and play in early care and educational settings. Opportunities for the ongoing professional development of caregivers is also included. Students have the opportunity to apply newly acquired skills and knowledge through participation in cooperative work experiences. Certified teachers may apply specific courses towards continuing education credits. In an effort to accommodate currently employed students, Early Childhood Education courses are generally offered in late afternoon or evenings. Program curriculum is reviewed by an advisory board composed of local and regional early learning professionals.

What is an Early Achievers Grant?

The Early Achievers Grant is a student financial aid program to help employed child care providers and early learning educators complete certificates and associate degrees in early childhood education.


To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a Washington state resident or have a valid work visa.
  • Be employed as a child care provider at a child care center, family child care business or Head Start/ECEAP program that is actively participating in the Department of Early Learning’s Early Achievers.
  • Work a minimum of 10 hours a week or 40 hours a month at an eligible child care program.
  • Have worked in the eligible program for a minimum of three months.
  • Intend to enroll in an approved Early Childhood Education program at the college.
  • Make a formal application to the college.

Services Provided

Funding for:

  • Tuition and fees up to 52 credits to be used within four years.
  • Required books and supplies up to $1,000

Students may also get:

  • Tutoring
  • Career planning
  • Mentoring
  • Loaned textbooks, calculators or laptops
  • College success classes
  • Emergency child care
  • Emergency transportation

Early Achievers Scholars

The Washington Early Achievers grant helps students earn ECE college courses and connects students to mentors, personal development and training tools.

Watch the video to hear how the grant helped early childhood education (ECE) providers and early learning teachers enrich their professional and personal skills.

Career Opportunities

    • Pre-School Teacher or Assistant
    • Child Care Provider
    • Child Care Center Teacher
    • Child Care Center Director
    • Paraeducator


Viridiana Colin

Phone: 509-527-4237


The mission of the Early Childhood Education program is to provide educational and training opportunities to a diverse population of students who plan to work with children and their families in programs providing care and early education.

Program Outcomes

  • Provide students with the highest level of instruction in the knowledge and skills required in the field of early childhood education.
  • Attract, retain and graduate competent students into the early childhood education profession.
  • Keep programs current with industry standards by involving community stakeholders in curriculum development and verification of student outcomes.
  • Articulate the Early Childhood Education program with regional high schools and universities.
  • Educate and graduate students who possess the knowledge and skills required to succeed in early childhood careers or studies at the university level.