Fundamentals for Early Childhood Professionals

This 45 hour course is based on the Core Knowledge and Competencies for early childhood professionals – Level I.  It is offered in every region of Vermont during the year.  Look in the Bright Futures Information System (BFIS)  course calendar and enter a wide date range, to find where it will be offered next.
The Fundamentals course is designed for those who:
  • Are beginning to work in the field of early childhood (birth-age 8) and particularly in child care
  • Have taken child development courses in high school or a regional technical center, but not take the Fundamentals course before
  • Have worked in the early childhood field for a long time but have not taken a college course in child development, earned a CDA, or applied for any Northern Lights career level certificate

Successful completion of the Fundamentals Course can:

  • Meet the education requirement in the Vermont child care licensing regulations for Teaching Assistant
  • Meet the education requirement for a Level I Career Ladder Certificate.
  • Lay a good foundation to obtain the CDA credential and a Level II Career Ladder certificate
  • May be used toward college credit  at some colleges.  Learn more about the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process to translate successful completion of the Fundamentals Course into college credit
Fundamentals Course information and materials are outlined below.  Instructors and Course Sponsors need to contact the Northern Lights Career Development Center before offering the course. (
Fundamentals Syllabus
Related Articles and handouts
Fundamentals Modules- complete For all modules: (see also side bar)
Reflective Journal Entries
Professional early care and education websites
Learning Styles self-assessment
Module 1: Introduction to Fundamentals for Early Childhood Professionals &
Health and Safety
Module 1:
Handwashing guidelines
Exploratory Actions for Toddlers
Childcare safety daily checklist
Assessing childcare quality- parent checklist
Health Safety Checklist

Emergency Plan Template
Back to Sleep:
Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant (VT Department of Health page)
Module 2: The Early Childhood Learning Environment Module 2:
Mud Play
Control Skills for Babies
Using the Environment to Promote Resilience
Sensory Actions for Infants
Playground Daily Checklist
Good Toys for Young Children
Toy Safety Checklist
Let Children Play
What Inclusion Looks Like
Importance and Types of Play
Module 3 A, B:
A- Child Development: Emotional Development, Introduction to Observation and Recording Behavior
B- Emotional Development (continued) and the Influence of Culture
Module 3:
Social and Physical Development
Social Emotional Development
Social Emotional Development2
Perception Activity
Children’s Sexual Development
Young Children’s Sexual Behavior
Importance of Observing and Recording
Module 4: Child Development: Cognition and Intellectual Development Module 4
Notes on basic child development theory (courtesy of Lori Harris)
Dimensions of Play
Brain Development

Module 5: Child Development: Language and Literacy Module 5:
Red Flags for Early Delay
Language and Literacy Candyland game
Early Literacy and Socio-Economic Standing
Milestones of Early Literacy
More than Baby Talk
Stages of Drawing
Promoting  Oral Language Development
Developmental Sequences of drawing, block play and writing
Module 6: Health and Nutrition Module 6:  (see also resources in module 1)
Supporting Physical Growth
Rainy-day games
Childhood obesity handout
Promoting Healthy Eating
Nutrition and the 3-4 year old childChild Trends: Healthy Eating Physical ActivityGet Moving CalendarEstablishing Healthy Food Choices
Module 7A: Child Development: Social Skills and a Sense of Oneself Module 7:
Planning for positive guidance
Tip Sheet: Behavior Guidance for Young Children

Module 7B: Child Development: Social Skills and Understanding Others
Module 8A: Child Care Licensing Regulations Module 8A: Child Development Division: licensing regulations:
Module 8 B, C: Basic Specialized Services Module 8 B,C
Module 9: Building Positive Relationships with Families: Family Centered Practice Module 9:
Parent Teacher Communication
Accessible Family Involvement
Impact of Family Involvement Research
Articles on Interacting with Families
Family Relationships Activity
Five protective factors
Ten Tips for Involving Families
Family Friendly Care Center guide
NAEYC Including Families – Self Assessment (excel spreadsheet)
Module 10 A, B: Professionalism Module 10 A,B:
Working with ColleaguesDealing with Difficult 
Case Studies
Articles on Professionalism
BFIS – Tutorials and guidance (CDD webpage)
NAEYC code of ethical conduct
The Role of Dispositions
Dispositions of Teachers
Using the Code of Ethics
Individual Professional Development Plan (Northern Lights website: forms, guidance)
Especially for students:
  1. Introduction
    to Fundamentals
  2. Fundamentals:
  3. Fundamentals:
    child observation 1
  4. Fundamentals: child observation 2
  5. Observer
    of the Practitioner
  6. Observer of the Practitioner- type in
  7. Short
    Reaction Papers
  8. Final Projects
  9. Application
    for Level I certificate
  10. Fundamentals and the CDA
  11. Change your successful completion of the Fundamentals course into college credit
Especially for Instructors and Course Sponsors:
  1. Information for Course Planners and Instructors
  2. Checklist for Course Planners
  3. Classroom tips and Suggestions
  4. Guidance for Observation of the Practitioner
  5. Student evaluation of the full course
  6. Fundamentals Rubric- FAQ