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Early Childhood Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Early Childhood Education

In the Department of Curriculum & Teaching

About Us > Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Master of Arts

There are three initial certification programs in Early Childhood Education:

The course of study for the M.A. in Early Childhood Education (ECED-INIT) leads to initial certification in Early Childhood Education (birth-8 years). The course of study for the M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE-INIT) leads to initial certification as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities, Early Childhood (birth-8 years).

Students with backgrounds in elementary education or with no previous coursework in education must complete at least 40 points in order to obtain the Master of Arts degree and the department’s recommendation for initial certification.

The course of study in Dual Certification: Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood/Special Education (ECSE-DUAL) leads to initial certification as both an Early Childhood Education teacher and a Teacher of Students with Disabilities in Early Childhood (birth-8 years). Stu-dents must complete at least 48 points in order to obtain the Master of Arts degree and the department’s recommendation for initial dual certification.

Students in these programs are prepared to teach in diverse and inclusive environments, including homes, schools, and other community settings, which serve children from birth to age 8 and their families. Child-centered and culturally sensitive practices are emphasized throughout the program, focusing on the need for multiple methods of instruction to accommodate a broad range of learners. Through a curriculum that integrates general and special early childhood education content, we aim to enable our initial certification students to become outstanding early childhood teachers, decision makers, and intellectual and ethical leaders. Honoring the importance of understanding children’s development and learning in context, the Master of Arts program emphasizes collaboration with families and other professionals and considers policies that affect families’ access to desirable services, especially in urban settings. Our students participate in several field experiences, which serve as the foundation from which theories about development, learning, and curriculum come to life and through which teachers begin to construct their professional practice.

Master of Education

Early Childhood Policy

The Master of Education (Ed.M.) with an Early Childhood Policy concentration is designed to give students a firm grounding in early childhood pedagogy, programs, and practice as well as in policy analysis and policy making related to young children and their families. Students will combine theoretical knowledge with practice in the policy field; they will also become familiar with an array of policy issues impacting contemporary child and family life. While the focus of this work is on U.S. policy, there will be opportunity for international and comparative work as well.

Doctor of Education (Early Childhood Education)

At the doctoral level, the specialization in Early Childhood Education prepares candidates for college teaching, research, policy, and other leadership positions in early childhood education. The program is highly selective, aiming to identify and train individuals whose prior education and experience, whether or not it has been specifically in the field of early childhood, gives promise of the ability to develop modes of inquiry suitable to the field’s complexities.

Early Childhood Policy

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) concentration in Early Childhood Policy prepares candidates for leadership positions, college teaching, and research in early childhood policy. The concentration is highly selective, aiming to identify and train individuals whose prior education and experience, whether or not it has been specifically in the field of early childhood, gives promise of the ability to develop modes of inquiry suitable to the field’s complexities. Combining rigorous methodological, conceptual, and practical interdis-ciplinary experiences, the program is designed for those interested in shaping the policy agenda for young children and their families. It is predicated on the principle that undergirding all policy work, candidates must have thorough understandings of both substantive content (early childhood practices, pedagogy, and theory) and research skills. While the focus of this program is on U.S. early childhood policy, there will be opportunity for international and comparative work.