Early Childhood Education, Master of Education
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education
We designed this program for practicing teachers who wish to develop skills to better work with preschool and primary-level children.
This program is nationally recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
- Available Emphasis Areas:
- Early Childhood Teacher - Emphasis
- Early Childhood Leadership - Emphasis
- Early Childhood National Board Preparation - Emphasis
To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
Read the full policy here.
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements.
Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded in the following course(s):
|Minimum Units for Completion||30|
|Additional Admission Requirements||
Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
|Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate Required||
An emphasis, minor, or certificate is required for this major.
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
Student Learning Outcomes
In addition to the NAEYC SPA accreditation standards, which are integral as we move into accreditation procedures for this degree, this program also incorporates the opportunity to enroll in coursework for National Board Certification:
What Is National Board Certification?All students deserve accomplished teachers who are equipped to prepare them for success in today's world. National Board Standards and National Board Certification give teachers and schools the tools to define and measure teaching excellence. Similar to certification in fields like medicine, National Board Certification is a rigorous, peer-reviewed process that ensures that Board-certified teachers have proven skills to advance student achievement.
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential. As part of this process, teachers must analyze their teaching context and students’ needs, submit videos of their teaching, and provide student work samples that demonstrate growth and achievement. The reflective analyses that they submit must demonstrate:
1) A strong command of content;
2) The ability to design appropriate learning experiences that advance student learning;
3) The use of assessments to inform instructional decision making; and
4) Partnerships with colleagues, parents and the community.
Through this structured and iterative process, teachers expand and refine their content knowledge and pedagogy. The outcome is more powerful teaching that improves student achievement and reflects college and career readiness (NBPTS, 2014)
NAEYC SPA Standards
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 1: Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children's characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children's development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 2: Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 3: Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 4: Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 5: Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 6: Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members of the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.
NAEYC-ADV – Standard 7: Field experiences and clinical practice are planned and sequenced so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children across the entire developmental period of early childhood – in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3 through 5, 5 through 8 years) and in the variety of settings that offer early education (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).
Additional Admission Requirements
Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
Admission requirements include the following:
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.
Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.
Ready to apply? Begin your application now.
International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.
- IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card
- Teaching certificate (if the applicant has one)
Take the following 30 - 31 units:
Core requirements (12-15 units):
Emphasis Requirements (16-18 units):
Early Childhood Teacher Emphasis (18 units):
- ECI 526, ECI 531 (6 units)
- Select one course from (3 units):
- (One additional from EDF 670, EDF 671, EDF 673, EDF 677,) EDR 611, EPS 525
Early Childhood Leadership Emphasis (18 units):
- ECI 608 (3 units)
Early Childhood National Board Preparation Emphasis (16 units):
At least fifty percent of the courses in your program must be at the 600-level or above. In addition, you must be admitted to this degree program before taking your last 12 units of graduate work.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.