About Early Childhood Education

"When we love children, we acknowledge by our every action that they are not property, that they have rights—that we respect and uphold their rights." 

-bell hooks

The importance of the early years in a child’s life has been well documented across disciplines, sectors, and social policies. Over several decades, research has reported the benefits of quality early childhood education and care for the social, emotional, and intellectual well-being of children. However, we live in a world where access to quality early childhood education is inequitably distributed due to larger sociopolitical factors that impact present and future opportunities. Like social theorist bell hooks, we believe in children’s rights to an education that is safe, caring, culturally sustaining, and intellectually and socially rich. We also believe that it is a teacher’s role to uphold these values, while advocating for settings where play, creativity, joy, and imagination are central to children’s development. 

Towards this end, the program is developed under the following core experiences:

  1. Extensive field work that includes infant/toddler, prek/k, k-2, and special education settings for all degree programs
  2. Sustained placement (in addition to the above) within a school classroom community for one full semester of student teaching that meets New York State (NYS) certificate requirements.
  3. Course content that views development as a continuum and childhood as integrated across time, space, and sociopolitical contexts. Therefore, our program uniquely engages all students in birth-4yr settings as critical to their understanding of childhoods.
  4. A focus on diverse identities throughout courses around curriculum, development, language, and literacy.
  5. Collaborative partnerships among schools, families, and communities

We have two main tracks for the Masters in Early Childhood Programs, both leading to birth-grade 2 certification. Both tracks also have an option for bilingual extensions in Mandarin, French, Spanish, and Korean (an additional 3 credits):

  • M.A. in Early Childhood Education – Initial Certification (36 credits)
  • M.A. in Early Childhood Education/Teaching Students with Disabilities – Dual Certification (42 credits)

Our emphasis is on curriculum, teaching, and learning for inclusive education. That is, the intersection of multiple identities (e.g. race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability) are addressed throughout the course content in both tracks. Our goal is to foster a community of reflective and engaged early childhood educators, leaders and advocates who create the conditions for children’s learning. Designed around the belief that early childhood educators are public intellectuals, our program develops early childhood educators into reflective practitioners and activists. 

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