Mission, Vision, & Core Values


The Child Development & Education Program facilitates students’ mastery of the knowledge, skills, values and dispositions needed to effectively improve the development, learning and well-being of children from birth through adolescence.  Early Childhood Education is a worthy, interdisciplinary and systems-oriented discipline deeply rooted in the developmental science of early childhood.  For students to gain a comprehensive understanding of children and their families and communities, we provide engaging and supportive learning experiences that emphasize theoretical framework, ethical principles, and hands-on practice teaching. 


The Child Development & Education Program strives to be a premier professional preparation program that consistently demonstrates rigor, quality, and practical application.  As an informed, research-driven community of learners, we will earn this reputation by preparing early childhood professionals who consistently demonstrate outstanding competencies, advanced knowledge, strong ethics, fair leadership, innovative solutions, and strategic thinking which promote the well-being of children and their families, the foundation of a vibrant and prosperous society. 

Core Values

If we aspire to live in a prosperous and just society populated with caring, capable, empathetic, and competent people, we begin with early childhood. Substantive scientific research has repeatedly shown that the experiences children endure in their first 5 years of life have profound lifelong consequences.  

  • We embrace the deep science and pedagogy that undergirds quality practice, expanding beyond mere workforce preparation.
  • We promote academic integrity, critical thinking, rigor and curiosity through evidence-based instruction and meaningful, fair-minded assessments.
  • We deliver quality instruction and learning experiences that meet the needs of our diverse student population through in-person, distance learning, hybrid, full semester and accelerated courses.
  • We value collaborating with and supporting a high-quality campus Laboratory School (Mt. SAC Child Development Center) & Child Observation Lab which play an integral role in providing students with clinical practice experiences through child observation and documentation, practicum, field work and apprenticeship.
  • Students best acquire essential knowledge, abilities, dispositions, and competencies through integrated coursework coupled with faculty supervised child observation, clinical practice, practicum, fieldwork, and apprenticeship.
  • Becoming a professional early childhood educator means understanding, reflecting upon and integrating professional standards and competencies as identified by the State of California and NAEYC.  These competencies include twelve areas: (1) Child Development and Learning; (2) Culture, Diversity and Equity; (3) Relationships, Interactions, and Guidance; (4) Family and Community Engagement; (5) Dual-Language Development; (6) Observation, Screening, Assessment, and Documentation; (7) Special Needs and Inclusion; (8) Learning Environments and Curriculum; (9) Health, Safety, and Nutrition; (10) Leadership in Early Childhood Education; (11) Professionalism; and (12) Administration and Supervision.
  • We understand the value of reflective practice; how continuous adaptation of our teaching practices and on-going professional growth contributes to improving the quality of early childhood education for children, families, and communities.
  • We exercise a “growth mindset”; affirming that college success is dependent upon students’ persistence and tenacious effort.  Successful students are disciplined, strategic and intentional about achieving their goals – making continual improvements and advances over time and persevering through difficulties when they arise. 
  • We promote the development of college-level communication skills, both written and spoken.  We recognize that these are complex intellectual tasks involving multi-layered skills essential to success in all college courses and in one’s subsequent career.
  • We encourage all students to frequently access campus resources for a variety of reasons – academic support, social support and emotional support, believing that every student benefits from on-going support, regardless of their GPA.
  • We believe quality practice, curriculum, pedagogical modalities and department needs are best planned and implemented by leadership within the CDE department.