There are a host of free online early childhood education courses, we have filtered through them to bring you the absolute best. If you are looking to upskill yourself for a career in early childhood education, you should definitely stick around as this article explores over ten of these courses.
Early Childhood Education Courses provide individuals with the advanced skills in child growth, development, and learning strategies that are crucial to their success as daycare, preschool, and elementary teachers around the world.
There are a good number of schools, educational learning websites, and online platforms offering free online early childhood education courses. These courses are open to individuals of any gender and age, but specific qualifications are often required such as Bachelor’s degrees, or in a few cases, a high school diploma.
Early childhood education is a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 18 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
About 59,600 openings for preschool teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
What is early childhood education?
Early Childhood Education is a term that refers to educational programs and strategies for children, from their time of birth to the age of eight. This is the period at which children need to learn and develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills as it lays the foundation for all that is to come in the later years of the child’s life.
Early childhood education considers playful activities as a key strategy in helping children learn and understand things easier and faster, and also begin to develop interests that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Who should take early childhood education courses?
Early education courses are designed for individuals who want to pursue a career in preschool teaching. If you are deeply interested in contributing to the developmental stages of a child’s life, are passionate about imparting knowledge, or are strongly invested in the growth of children in general, this is a call for you.
Early education courses will teach you how to inspire young learners and create a supportive environment that stimulates their curiosity and joy for learning.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in early childhood education, the first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree this will generally qualify you to teach through the third grade.
However, a degree is not a prerequisite but it will help you stand out more, and also position you for greater opportunities and higher salaries.
Benefits of free online early childhood education courses
Early childhood education courses are a great way for students to build their skills and advance their careers as ECE teachers. These courses are often taken on-campus, but as time goes by, more and more schools keep providing an online alternative for students who would like to enroll and study virtually.
These courses prepare students to find employment in this particular industry. A course can also give students insight into the inner-workings of a preschool or elementary school. After taking an ECE course, students will have a bigger outlook on the educational needs of young children.
Today, there are so many online ECE courses, making them accessible to everyone. These courses, however, do not come cheap. But here’s the good news, in an ocean full of expensive ECE courses, you will still be able to catch a net full of totally free ones.
These courses are designed to provide students with the fundamental training needed to become great instructors. They are mostly self-paced and contain a good amount of coursework to assess their knowledge at the end of each module.
Requirements to take free online early childhood education courses
Being an early childhood education teacher is an important job. The foundation you lay will become the pillar that will hold the child’s future firm. Because of that, it is paramount that you find out the early childhood education degree requirements in the particular area you plan to work in so that you can focus your attention on getting all-round training.
To take a free online early childhood education course, you will be required to devote a specific length of time and complete a given amount of coursework. Most courses are intensive, while the others are self-paced.
13 Best Free Online Early Childhood Education Courses
These free online early childhood education courses are provided by schools through educational learning websites and platforms. A few are standalone courses by private websites. They are all easy to complete and will give you an introductory insight into a particular subject.
- Montessori Teaching – Fundamental Concepts & Principles
- Teaching ESL using Games and Activities
- Understanding Knowledge and Imagery in Cognitive Processing
- English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development
- Professional Development for Early Career Teachers
- Autism and Neurodiversity: Building Your Child’s Strengths
- The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development
- Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice
- Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Implementation
- Understanding Child Development: From Synapse to Society
- Motivating Gen Z Learners: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know
- Early Childhood Development Course
Courses on Alison
These are free online early childhood education courses provided by Alison – one of the best learning platforms there are.
1. Montessori Teaching – Fundamental Concepts & Principles
The first course on the list of free online early childhood education courses is Fundamental Concepts & Principles on Montessori Teaching.
This beginner-friendly course is ideal for individuals wishing to make a career in Montessori Teaching. It was developed to enlighten the learners with the fundamental concepts and historical context of early childhood education. It elaborates the role of the environment for environment-led learning.
There are 3 modules in this course, the first module teaches the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori’s teaching methodology and the essentials for child development. The second module will introduce the benefits of performing practical life activities along with the importance of maths and science at the Montessori level and their role in child’s development; the impact of arts and using technology for children’s education, and the importance of phonetic teaching is explained.
Finally, the third module is course assessment which will determine whether or not you qualify to earn a certificate. Enrolling in this course will allow you to expand your knowledge and skills in the kid’s development area of Montessori Teaching.
2. Teaching ESL using Games and Activities
The next course on free online early childhood education courses is Teaching ESL using Games and Activities published by Nikolas John Cakebread.
This course has been put together to provide students with a general overview and understanding of incorporating games as an integral part of the learning process for young learners. They will learn three primary learning styles and how to use this knowledge to observe, identify, and understand their pupils.
Spread across 3 hours, this course will cover 3 modules and 8 topics with a final assessment after which comes the course certification.
3. Understanding Knowledge and Imagery in Cognitive Processing
This course is designed to teach students the concepts and procedures involved in understanding knowledge and imagery in cognitive processing. It is broken into 3 modules and 15 topics which will last for 5 hours at most.
In the first module, you will learn about the three approaches to the categorization of knowledge and the different types of cognitive functions that occur. You will also learn about the semantic networks approach and the connectionist Approach.
The second module brings in Imagery. You will learn that mental imagery is the ability to recreate the sensory world in the absence of physical stimuli. You will also learn about the relationship between visual imagery and perception.
In the third module comes the final assessment for the course, and after you pass this assessment you can get your certification. Please note that all the topics in the previous modules must be completed before you can take your final assessment and get your certificate.
Courses on Futurelearn
These are free online early childhood education courses provided by FutureLearn, a British digital education platform jointly owned by The Open University and SEEK Lt.
4. English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development
If you are looking for free online early childhood courses to take, this will be a good place to start. This FutureLearn course for parents and early years teachers will explore how young children learn English and investigate many more aspects of early childhood learning and development. This is a 6-week course with 2 hours of weekly commitment.
This course will cover the following topic:
- How children learn
- Learning through play
- How to talk to young children
- Learning: English and everything
- Positive relationships and enabling environments
- Watching children learn
Also, note that English has to be your first language as this is one among other requirements for this course.
5. Professional Development for Early Career Teachers
If you are looking for advice and support on improving your teaching skills and juggling your workload so you’re able to handle these challenges, this has been created with you in mind.
Through the course, you will reflect on and identify your professional development needs. You will explore behavior management strategies, pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, ways to prioritize your workload, and more. It is 5 weeks long with 3 hours weekly commitment.
On the course dashboard, you will see a price tag, you shouldn’t fret because this is a payment plan that lets you take the course almost on your own terms. Going for the free option will limit your access, and you will also not receive a certificate of completion.
Courses on edX
These section explores free online early education courses on edX – a widely known online course provider created by Harvard and MIT.
6. Autism and Neurodiversity: Building Your Child’s Strengths
Another course on free online early childhood education courses is Autism and Neurodiversity: Building your Child’s Strength.
This course aims to provide learners with the knowledge and skills to recognize concerning behaviors, understand the diagnosis process, create a plan to help navigate the early stages of childhood development, and how to successfully advocate for your child. We cover from birth to the age of six, including planning and preparation for school.
This is a 6-weeks course that requires 1-2 hours of weekly commitment. It is also self-paced allowing you to complete it at your own pace.
7. The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development
This is another super interesting course on free online early childhood education courses that you should definitely take.
This course will explore how neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, and other studies have influenced our understanding of early childhood development. It has been specially designed for students, parents, healthcare professionals, and sustainable development practitioners.
This is a self-paced course that will run for 8 weeks with a 1-4 hours weekly commitment.
8. Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice
This 16 weeks beginner course teaches the causes and consequences of child protection failures. Students will consider the strategies, international laws, standards, and resources required to protect all children. They will be able to link legal frameworks and child-rights approaches to the work of policymakers, lawyers, health workers, educators, law enforcement, and social workers.
Learners will also come to understand how they can ensure the protection of children and apply child protection strategies to their own work.
9. Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Implementation
Another course on free online early childhood education courses is Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Implementation.
This 7-week-course aims to examine best practices in child and family policies, advocacy, financing, and pathways to scale by learning how to generate innovative, scalable intervention strategies that support early childhood development.
Courses on Coursera
Coursera Inc. is a U.S.-based massive open online course provider founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects
10. Understanding Child Development: From Synapse to Society
This course teaches the complexities of child development and the developmental systems approach and theories related to it. It focuses on the brain and motor development, cognitive, language and social-emotional development and all the factors that have an influence on development.
It is a beginner-friendly course that takes approximately 28 hours to complete. You will see how researchers from various disciplines and backgrounds study child development at Utrecht University. These scientists will give a look in their field of knowledge and their collaboration with colleagues, to illustrate how the theory you will learn translates to practice.
11. Motivating Gen Z Learners: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know
This is an 8-hour beginner course that aims to equip parents and educators with the knowledge of motivational theories and their application in real-life contexts. Through the various sessions, parents and educators will progressively build strategies that will enable them understand the Gen Z learners better and further enhance their motivation to learn.
Course participants will also have the opportunity to check their own understanding through quizzes, interact with one another through discussion forums, and earn a shareable certificate upon completion.
12. Early Childhood Development Course
This course will teach students the best ways to care for a child and unlock the skills and knowledge they need to promote early childhood learning and development.
It has just 1 module and 8 topics which will be covered for a period of 4 weeks. To enroll in this course, you will be required to sign up for four weeks of free trial on Upskillist after which you will be offered a globally recognized certificate of completion.
The last but certainly not the least on free online early childhood education courses is a learning website called continueD.
ContinueD is an educational website that provides over 250 practical, research-based early childhood development courses that cover up to 15 topics each. The website has a subscription plan of $99 per year, but for ECE courses, you can use promo code 1FREECOURSE for a free course at checkout. You will not need a credit card.
Feel free to explore all their courses if you wish. There is also a free certificate of completion for each course.
Free Online Early Childhood Education Courses – FAQs
How long does the ECD course take?
It depends on the program type. Most ECD degree courses can take a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 6 years to complete. Certificate ECD courses, on the other hand, can take as little as 1 hour to finish, after which you will be awarded a certificate of completion.
How much does the ECD course cost?
There is no fixed price for early childhood development courses as the cost will depend on the course provider. You should expect high tuition fees if you are enrolling in a full-time program. Also, some learning websites run on a subscription basis, meaning that monthly or yearly payment will give you access to a host of ECD courses on their website.
Can I study ECD online?
Yes, early childhood development courses can be studied online, and most times for free.
What is an ECD certificate?
An early childhood development certificate is a document that shows that students have completed a course on ECD and qualifies them to work with children as early childhood teachers.
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