Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education

Early Childhood Where Education Begins

We have classes for individuals who want to become a teacher or a paraprofessional as well as "in-service" courses for practicing teachers.

Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education

The Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education A.A.S. Degree prepares you for employment in an Early Childhood setting. You will obtain the educational background and practical experience necessary to provide young children (birth to age eight) of varying abilities with developmentally appropriate learning experiences.

You will also explore universal promotion, secondary prevention, and tertiary intervention approaches to educate and care for children with challenging behaviors. Physical space, appropriate routines, and myriad transition and teaching strategies will be practiced. In addition, you will develop several communication strategies that will foster an inclusive, relationship-based approach to interacting effectively with diverse families.

Program Planners

Teacher's Assistant/Instructional Aide

This degree prepares graduates for employment as a paraprofessional educator in a Kindergarten - 12th grade school district or early childhood program.

The curriculum is developed to cover the nine Minnesota Core Competency Areas:

  • The philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of education
  • Characteristics of learners
  • Assessment, diagnosis and evaluation
  • Instructional content and practice
  • Supporting the teaching and learning environment
  • Managing student behaviors and social interaction skills
  • Communication and collaborative partnerships
  • Professional and ethical practices
  • Academic instructional skills in math, reading and writing

Graduates who decide to continue their education and are interested in a professional education need to work closely with their advisor to ensure that their career goals are achieved.

Program Plan

Program Requirements

Students must be able to pass a state of Minnesota background study to participate in the required practicum component of the program. Please see the following:



Student Testimonials

"To be honest online learning is amazing, especially if you are a mother. I can sit down read, take my quizzes, do a discussion or a paper whenever I can find the little bit of alone time I have. I like working at my own pace. Assistance? Whenever I have an issue or a question, I email my instructor and she's so amazing at answering my questions or getting back to me." -- Kayla Kingbird

"The Mesabi-UMD Cohort Program enabled me to work full-time while still being able to go to school to extend my current teaching degree. The convenience of on-line learning, weekend classes, and supportive instructors have made the programs possible and worthwile." -- Lisa Hirsch

"While taking courses in the Mesabi Range Education Program, I was given the opportunity to explore options in becoming a future teacher. Each course was designed to give me the tools I need to transfer to a four-year University. The motivated teaching staff and flexible online classes allowed me to work in the field of education as a liason for a local school while attending college." -- Sarah Strong

My Appreciation for Online Learning - Patricia Monacelli

I am a 42 year old non-traditional student who feels so fortunate to be able to complete all of my courses at Mesabi Range Community College online. I started out with one computer course and was immediately hooked on the D2L system. I am a full time in-home child care provider and mother of three children. Each class that I have been fortunate enough to take has been a direct benefit to my child care business. I learn things every day that I can put to practical use and expand my knowledge in all areas relating to working with young children. All of the instructors that I have had online courses with have been exceptional at presenting the material and enhancing my learning experience. I look forward to logging in each course every day and the flexibility online learning allows with my full time job and busy family. At the present time I am working on completing my AA degree in liberal arts and my AAS degree in the area of Education Assistant. Once I have completed these two degrees, I hope to be able to continue my education almost entirely online for a BA in Early Childhood Education.

Professional Statements

"The Education programs at Mesabi Range College are a fantastic option for students who need a top-notch, affordable program close to home. The department's intense collaboration with UMD allows students to reap the benefits of a vast storehouse of knowledge without the added expense of travel or higher living costs."

Dawn Heisel, Children's Librarian
Arrowhead Library Systems

"It is wonderful that these education program opportunities exist here for students of any age who want to pursure their interests in education, close to home. This collaborative model with UMD greatly enhances and expands these programs and the career choices of folks here on the Iron Range. We are so fortuante to have this choice and opportunity."

Edie Carr
Family Services Collaborative


Dawn Olson

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"Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded." - Jess Lair

Dawn's Curriculum Vitae