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Culturally Sustaining Teaching in Early Childhood Education


$780 Enroll

Full course description

Course Description

The Culturally Sustaining Teaching in Early Childhood Education course focuses on birth to age 5,  and it is aligned with CDA® Competency Standards and NAEYC Standards. The course is an exploration of strategies and practices for advancing young children’s physical, cognitive, communicative, creative, and intellectual development from a culturally responsive, anti-racist, and critical literacy perspective.


This is a fully online, asynchronous course where students work independently. While it is self-paced, this course is estimated to take twelve (12) to sixteen (16) weeks to complete. All course content and assignments are organized into modules, called topics. All course material and assignments are completed at your own pace and it will be up to you to stay on schedule and follow the course progression.


This is a 45-hour course (4.5 CEU) that addresses the following Council for Professional Recognition subject areas:

•        Planning a safe and healthy learning environment.

•        Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development 

•        Observing and recording children’s behavior



Course Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to develop and use strategies for building a culturally responsive and anti-racist curriculum from a critical literacy perspective in order to advance children’s physical and intellectual development in the following ways:


1.       Provide children with a variety of developmentally appropriate equipment and materials, and culturally responsive learning experiences

·        to promote the physical development of all children.

·        to promote curiosity, reasoning, and problem-solving and to lay the foundation for all later learning.

·        to promote diverse children’s language and early literacy learning and help them communicate their thoughts and feelings verbally and nonverbally.

·        to help dual-language learners make progress in understanding and speaking both English and their home language.

2.       Develop methods, strategies, and practices for culturally sustaining literacy teaching across the curriculum in early literacy classrooms, including the arts, that are socially just and anti-racist.

3.       Develop and enact play-based practices framed from a critical literacy, social justice, and anti-racist perspective.

4.       Implement anti-racist and culturally responsive curriculum, including the use of children’s books, that promotes children’s learning of important mathematics, science, technology, social studies, and other content goals appropriate to the developmental levels of each child.

5.       Actively communicate with children and provide opportunities and support for children to understand, learn, and use verbal and non-verbal multi-modal means of communicating thoughts and feelings.

6.       Provide opportunities that encourage children to

·        play with diverse sounds, rhythms, music, and movement from around the world.

·        play with language, diverse materials, space, and ideas in individual ways and to express their creative abilities including the use of the visual arts, and technology, and to develop and express their individual creative abilities.


Course Requirements

While taking this course you will complete 5 short quizzes and the following assignments. 

1.       Weekly Plan 

2.       Weekly Plan Competency Statement (Reflection)

3.       Learning Experiences for different subject areas

4.       Children’s Literature Bibliography 

5.       Physical Development Competency Statement 

6.       Cognitive Development Competency Statement 

7.       Creative Development Competency Statement 

8.       Communication and Language Development Competency Statement 

As a student in AU's CDA® program, you will have access to a School of Education faculty coach for feedback, conversation, and support. Your coach will grade each of your assignments and offer feedback. You may also reach out if you have questions, need assistance, or would like to engage in conversation on one of the course topics.

This course meets the Gold Standard for quality in online courses through American University's Eagle Online Excellence Program. 


Required Texts

The following texts are required for this course. Any other readings and resources are provided in Canvas under the related topic.

1.       Washington, V. (Ed) (2017). CDA Essentials for Working with Young Children Second Edition. Council for Professional Recognition.

2.       Washington, V. (Ed) (2019). CDA Essentials Workbook Second Edition. Council for Professional Recognition.

3.       The CDA Competency Standards Book for the credential you are seeking.


Policies and Processes


The following is the refund policy for courses registered through our Professional and Lifelong Learning Portal (

Learners will be eligible for a refund (minus any non-refundable fees) if they drop a course and request a refund no later than the date the course starts as per the dates in Canvas and/or Canvas Catalog platforms. If a learner registered for a course after the start date, they will be ineligible for a refund.

Learners registered for on-demand courses without a start date will be eligible for a refund if the course is dropped and a refund is requested within 24 hours of registration and when there is no record of page views or participation in the Canvas Platform.

Refund requests will be denied if requested after a course’s start date, 24 hours after registration in the case of on-demand courses without a start date, or when there is a record of page views or participation in the canvas Platform.

Payments and fees:

For payments with credit cards, debit cards or bank accounts, the tuition cost includes a non-refundable 4% administrative fee. In case an eligible refund is requested, the net funds returned will be the tuition minus 4%. 

Notice about this Course: 

After completing this course you will receive a certificate of course completion signed by your course instructor, issued in your name, that includes the CDA subject areas covered, the number of course hours and CEU equivalency for the course, and the date of training completion. You will also receive a digital badge which will include a course description and additional information regarding the course.

Non-credit courses are not recorded in American University transcripts. No credit is earned from these courses and grades are not posted. Learners enrolled in Non-Credit courses will not receive an AU ID or have access to services and or facilities reserved for AU students. Access to the AU library system will be available to all members of the greater Washington DC area through visitor services. See the link for more information

For questions about this course, policies, or refunds you can contact Gabrielle Harris at