Master of Science in Early Childhood Education

Contact: Gail Cueto (860-832-2434)

Program Rationale:
This program is designed for early childhood educators wishing to pursue graduate study which will extend their knowledge of the theory and practice of early childhood education. The program offerings enable professionals working in the field of early childhood to increase knowledge and skills related to the most effective research-based strategies in teaching, learning, and assessment. Students will have opportunities to analyze, extend, and increase the relevance and responsiveness of their current work with children, particularly as it relates to development and diversity issues.
The program consists of a number of courses in the introductory block, curriculum and instruction block, and specialization block. It also provides the opportunity to develop and implement research skills during the final two semesters of the capstone requirement, during which candidates are enrolled in courses that facilitate the planning and conducting of an action research project in the school or early childhood classroom and/or professional teaching setting in which s/he is employed. An undergraduate degree in, or related to, early childhood education is required for admission to the program.

Program Learning Outcomes:
Students are expected to:

  • demonstrate how to implement curriculum that includes elements that are developmentally appropriate, multicultural, multimedia, integrated, and suitable for inclusive and diverse settings;
  • demonstrate effective management and assessment strategies;
  • demonstrate improvement in the quality of their teaching skills by self-reflecting and analyzing teaching practices through data collection and analysis;
  • demonstrate best practice teaching as agents of change by designing and conducting action research that is grounded in professional literature and can have a positive impact on early childhood settings and communities;
  • assess a variety of early childhood programs in light of their students' developmental stages and cultural and linguistic backgrounds;
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the course material in the introductory block courses that incorporate and highlight insights from the study of diversity in schools, socio-cultural and historical issues influencing schools, and research in education;
  • demonstrate knowledge of and value for a variety of structures in which young children are reared while demonstrating the ability to build effective reciprocal relationships with parents; and
  • identify models for effective school-community partnerships that assist and empower families.
Course and Capstone Requirements
(33 credits):
Core Courses (9 credits)
EDTE 502 Focus on Diversity in Education 3
EDF 516 School and Society 3
EDTE 598 Introduction to Research in Education 3
Professional Courses (9 credits)
EDEC 551 Programs and Curricula in Early Childhood Education 3
EDEC 552 Programs and Curricula in Early Childhood Education II 3
EDEC 554 Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood Education 3
Specializations (9 credits)
Choose from one of the following specializations:
a) Leadership/Directorship:
EDL 513 Supervision 3
EDEC 561 Administration in Early Childhood Education 3
EDEC 553 Family, School and Community Partnerships in Early Childhood Education) 3
b) Working with Families:
EDEC 553 Family, School and Community Partnerships in Early Childhood Education 3
RDG 586 Literacy Instruction for Diverse Populations I 3
Related course approved in advance by advisor (SPED 510 recommended)
c) Diversity in Education:
EDF 510 The Social, Political, and Cultural Context of Urban Schools 3
EDEL 509 Education and the Development of Cultural Understanding 3
EDEL 485 Creating Classroom Community (K-8) 3

Capstone Requirement (6 credits)

Special Project, Plan E: EDEL 591 and EDEL 592 (all students are required to enroll in Plan E unless they are exempted for Plan A, the thesis option). Capstone requires the completion of all core and professional courses and at least 6 credits in specialization area. Students are strongly discouraged from taking any other coursework concurrent with EDEL 591. Under no circumstances may students take a course concurrently with EDEL 592.

Program Sequence:

Students should complete the core requirements before enrolling in the professional and specialization courses. Courses in the professional and specialization areas may be taken concurrently with courses from the core with permission of advisor. All core and professional courses, as well as 6 credits in the specialization block, must be completed prior to taking EDEL 591.

In the case of a student who is not employed in a professional setting with children during the capstone semesters, the student may opt to fulfill Plan A, Thesis Capstone (3 credits). In this case the student must take an additional course, with advisor counsel, to complete the 33 credits in the planned program. The student must also find a faculty member in the department to supervise the thesis work.

Note: A maximum of 6 credits at the 400 level may be taken with the approval of the graduate advisor.

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