M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education

Our 36-credit Master of Education in Early Childhood Education prepares you for your Initial License to work in grades Pre-K through grade 2. Through coursework and field-based experiences, you will develop an understanding of subject matter knowledge, curriculum design, instructional strategies, observation and assessment, communication, and collaboration with families and the community.

This program is approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is aligned with the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge requirements.

Initial Licensure students who decide not to pursue their license will still be able to complete their degree as a personalized non-licensure master’s degree.

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Key features of our Early Childhood M.Ed. program include:

What Skills Will You Develop?

To earn your M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, you will complete 9 courses, including your practicum, for a total of 36 credit hours. Classes are 8-weeks long and self-paced for your convenience. Field-based experiences include three pre-practicums and one full practicum.

The course will present the basic components of lesson planning using Understanding by Design (UbD). Students will learn techniques around differentiating instruction, including tiered instruction, scaffolds to accommodate differences in learning styles, needs, interests, and levels of readiness of students. Students will examine specific systematic behaviors teachers use to create orderly, cooperative, and motivating learning environments that promote student achievement.

Co-requisite (0 credits): ED 6500G – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience I

This course provides an overview of the challenges that students with moderate disabilities encounter in their lives. The class will explore how disabilities are identified, what necessary steps are taken to refer students for evaluations in the Special Education process, characteristics of students with disabilities, general issues of evaluation approaches, and research-based accommodations and interventions including the use of assistive technology devices and behavioral interventions. State and federal laws as well as an overview of local and national support agencies are also reviewed.

The course will address three major aspects of social studies. Initially, there will be a focus on the development of geography skills and global awareness through the study of five world regions and the convergence of environmental, cultural, political and economic systems of globalization. Secondly, the course will focus on developing history skills such as critical, creative and analytical thinking, problem solving, valuing, and decision making. Lastly, the course will apply cooperative learning, vocabulary and concept formation, and online resources to the study of the Social Studies. Throughout the course, there will be a focus on the organization of curriculum, instructional methods and student assessment processes.

The purpose of this course is to prepare teachers with the knowledge and skills to effectively design content instruction in order to support English Language Learners (ELLs) in accessing curriculum and achieving academic success as they prepare for their futures in the 21st century global economy. Throughout the course, effective research-based strategies will be modeled. Teachers will have opportunities to practice strategies, to analyze their practice, to provide and receive feedback, and to reflect on their own experiences. The course addresses three over-arching goals for teaching ELLs:

  • To help teachers effectively carry out their responsibility for the teaching and learning of ELLs, as well as to understand the social and cultural issues that contribute to and impact schooling for ELLs.
  • To expand teachers’ knowledge of how language functions within academic content teaching and learning, and how children and adolescents acquire a second language.
  • Provide teachers practical research-based protocols, methods, and strategies to integrate subject area content, language, and literacy development using the Massachusetts English Language Development (ELD) standards and the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) standards to support ELL students’ success in meeting standards of the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks as well as the Common Core content standards.

This course is delivered in a hybrid model with on-ground elements delivered in person over a series of weekends. Alternate models for the completion of your SEI endorsement are available. Please contact the Program Director for more information.

Co-requisite (0 credits): ED 6507G – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience III

Students will undertake the gradual assumption of full teaching responsibilities in an early childhood education setting under the guidance of a Supervising Practitioner and a Program Supervisor. Students must complete at least 200 hours of full teaching responsibility and another 100 hours observing and/or assisting. Students must have a passing score on all required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) exams and have successfully completed all graduate education courses prior to the practicum.

Co-requisite (0 credits): ED 6510G – Practicum Seminar

The course will introduce students to the biological, cognitive, and socio cultural theories of early childhood education from the period of prenatal growth through age eight.  This course will examine topics including prenatal growth, infant health, language development, child care and schooling, play family life, learning assessment, differentiated instruction, and multicultural perspectives of early childhood development as relevant to educational practice.  Students will engage in a comprehensive curriculum assignment that will encompass all areas of child development demonstrating their full understanding of the importance of quality early education.

This course introduces students to the foundations of teaching reading as defined by the national Reading Panel Report (NRPR).  The foundational areas are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  The course uses these areas of study as a framework from which to address several other topics such as assessment (formal and informal), models of teaching reading/language arts, the writing process, and the developmental stages of reading, writing and spelling.  Students will be expected to develop comprehensive standards-based units giving evidence of their understanding of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the early childhood years.  Field experience required.

This course focuses on the fundamental principles and concepts in a prekindergarten through grade two mathematics program that includes number sense, numeration, patterns and functions, geometry and measurement, and data analysis. Assessment strategies, adaptations for special needs and classroom management will be addressed. The course offers a comprehensive content knowledge of math that can be applied to real-life problem solving, communication, and decision making.

Co-requisite (0 credits): ED 6505G – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience II

This course is designed to increase your confidence and enthusiasm for teaching early childhood Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math Health and PE. The integration of STEAM can be an essential part of an early childhood classroom not only to achieve key learning goals, but also as a means to engage and motivate students. Additionally, health and physical education and the related issues of obesity, wellness healthy foods and diet will be explored. Students will design an integrated curriculum for an inclusive early childhood setting using national, state and local standards and frameworks. Using inquiry focused investigations students will plan and assess appropriate learning experiences and learn strategies to modify and adapt lessons for the diversity of learners in the classroom.

Yes! Tell me more about Merrimack’s online degrees!