Early Childhood Education

Initial License

Master’s Degree (M.Ed.) or Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

Programs in Early Childhood Education prepare candidates to teach in PreK through Grade 2. The program leads to a Massachusetts Initial License. The rational of the program is in response to the national call to make an investment in our children at the earliest stages in their lives and reduce the probability they will engage in delinquent behaviors, high failure rates, poor health, and inability to become successful, contributing citizens. The goals of the program are to provide candidates with an in-depth knowledge of research, best practices, and evidenced based strategies to prepare them for delivering appropriate instructional practices in early childhood and to children with special needs. The program also focuses on candidates who give children and families the tools to become resilient and practice self-regulatory behaviors.


Learning Outcomes for Early Childhood Education

Upon completion of the program, the candidate in the Elementary Education Program will be able to:

  • Articulate and apply theoretical constructs and best practices to understand the characteristics of young children with and without disabilities.
  • Identify and explain the rationale and essential need for family and school partnerships to improve education, health, safety for all children.
  • Identify, analyze, select and apply appropriate assessment methods to determine growth and development of children within the school or home environment.
  • Demonstrate, implement and assess diverse instructional (including technology) and content pedagogy that addresses children with multiple needs, language barriers, developmental delays or other learning challenges.
  • Demonstrate impact of reflective practices in PreK-2 classrooms.


*Pre Practicum required

Foundation Courses

  • EDU5400: The Reflective Practitioner
  • EDU5460: Theory and Practice in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (25 hours Pre Practicum*)

Professional Area Courses

  • EDU5520*: Teaching Reading and Language Arts: EC, Elementary, Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8) (25 hours Pre Practicum*)
  • EDU5540: Multisensory Teaching of Language Skills
  • EDU5530*: Teaching of Mathematics: Early Childhood, Elementary, Moderate Disabilities (25 hours Pre Practicum*)
  • EDU6610: Behavior Management

Specialty Area Courses

  • EDU6595: Assessment and Curriculum for Early Childhood


Required Practicum Orientation

Prior to the Practicum experience, there is a mandatory practicum orientation session.

Field Experience Explanation for Recommendation of Licensure

Candidates seeking endorsement for Initial teacher licensure must successfully complete the course sequence and all required field experience hours. The practicum requires the candidate to log hours in two levels, PreK-K and Grades 1 or 2. In one practicum level, there must be students with disabilities in your classroom and you must demonstrate that you have provided instruction to them.


Choose one as appropriate


Mandatory pre-requisite

Pass Communication & Literacy MTEL for admission into the licensure track. All candidates must have passed either one of the following courses at the graduate or undergraduate level: Child Development, Child Psychology or Developmental Psychology.

  • EDU 6624: Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) Seminar
  • EDU 6829/6830: Practicum in Education I/II: Early Childhood


  • EDU 6628/6629: Field-Based Research I/II: Elementary/Early Childhood
  • EDU6622/6623: Field-Based Action Research I/II


Additional Program Notes

All licensure candidates have the option to take EDU 6625: Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Course for Teachers. SEI is not a requirement for practicum nor obtaining your degree. This is a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirement to obtain your licensure.

Master of Education degree or CAGS awarded
Total credits: 30-36

Licensure Track: 33 credits
Degree only, non-licensure Track: 30 credits
Completion of SEI course accounts for an additional 3 credits*

Course Descriptions

Candidates for initial teacher licensure will examine the dispositions, knowledge and skills of the 21st century educator. A study of American education will explore the historical, economic, and political trends underpinning our current approaches to instruction, curriculum and assessment. Diversity in the classroom and the implications for teaching students with special needs, English Language learners, and students from low income families will be studied. A related investigation of district-based demographic and assessment data will be conducted, followed by the analysis current practices, such as, inclusion, differentiated instruction, and response to intervention. The Common Core Curriculum Frameworks (MCF) will be incorporated into instructional mini-lesson demonstrations. A concentrated ELL module will develop in-depth understanding of the demographic, cultural, language and educational characteristics of these unique learners. Lesson plan development with instructional considerations for ELLs will align with ELL case study activities. Field experience required.

This course focuses on the underlying theories, principles and philosophies in the field of early childhood and elementary education and helps candidates understand the process and reasoning behind practices in the field. This course explores theories of child learning in school/classroom, family and community contexts. Special attention is paid to how features of these contexts mediate positive social-emotional, linguistic, and cognitive/academic student learning outcomes. PREREQUISITE: Enrollment in graduate education program.

The purpose of this course is to investigate developmental factors and influences that impact child growth and learning for the special needs child. The course will provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify those children who have special needs and study the ways and means that may be used to aid these children. Students will explore current early identification strategies and techniques as well as Response To Intervention (RTI) procedures used to facilitate struggling learners in the educational setting. State regulations (Chapt. 766) and Federal requirements (IDEA) will be covered in depth, as well as information about services provided and/or available to students by other agencies. An analysis of local/district/state data will be included. Students will acquire knowledge of how to use technology and assistive technology with special needs students and its curriculum implications. This includes Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder (w/wo hyperactivity). Course participants will gain an understanding of the educational problems which mild, moderated or severe handicaps imposes on a special needs child or youth and how this applies to the preparation and implementation of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP).

A survey of theories, practices, and techniques of reading instruction for children in grades preK-8. Various methods and materials used in the teaching-learning process will be examined, including the informal diagnosis and assessment of reading skills. The Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Frameworks, as well as related documents for English language learners and guidelines for special education students will be central to developing and presenting reading strategy lessons. Instructional accommodations for diverse learners will explore methods in sheltered English language immersion, special education, gifted and talented enrichment, and compensatory strategies for rural and urban poverty populations. Field work experiences and a diagnostic case-study assignment will integrate all course components. On-line research of the National Reading Panel Report and other professional sources will supplement course learning. Field experience is required.

This course will examine the basics of a multisensory, structured language curriculum for teaching reading, writing, spelling, comprehension and composition to diverse groups of students including those with reading problems, language disorders, cognitive disabilities, mild and moderate specific learning disabilities, and English Language Learners. There will be hands-on experience as well as exemplary lessons exploring best practice strategies to facilitate the development of reading and language skills. The students will learn how and where the sounds of English are made; how to introduce phonemic awareness activities; and how to teach sound-symbol associations in a logical, scientific way according to latest research. Students explore the qualities of children’s and adolescent literature, including the various genres, meaning, voices, and visual elements that are central to engaging learners through literature. Students will become proficient with regard to terminology relating to instructional standards and techniques in the areas of reading, written language, and content areas such as Science and Social Studies. They will become familiar with the use of identified best practice strategies for use in both specialized and the general education inclusive settings.

This course examines a full range of effective early childhood programs and curriculum. State curriculum documents, along with a variety of assessments, materials and teaching strategies are examined for their effectiveness in addressing the diverse cognitive, language, and developmental characteristics of young learners. Particular consideration is given to special needs of children with limited English proficiency, cognitive or language deficits, learning disabilities, economic or social disadvantage, etc. A research paper and presentation designed around one exceptionality is required. The administration and interpretation of informal and formal screening and evaluation procedures will be used to assess individual students. Assessment findings are used to plan instruction for young children with and without special needs.

Prospective educators will examine theoretical and developmental models of mathematics instruction in order to plan and implement effective instruction based on the diverse cognitive, language, and developmental needs of students. Using technology to access national and local district assessment data, students will analyze and identify areas of need within the mathematics curriculum and engage in instructional decision-making. Demonstrations and micro-teaching will reference the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework and the NCTM standards. Field experience is required.

Students will engage in a survey of current practices of classroom management for regular and special needs students. Theory, materials, and practical applications will be included. Special attention is given to communication, observation, group and class management skills. Students will master terminology relative to cognitive behavioral programming and educational applications. Students will become familiar with classroom management techniques and demonstrate the ability to identify specific target behaviors, develop positively based programming strategies, establish manageable data collection methods, and analyze data using empirically based strategies. Federal and State regulatory mandates will be studied with a focus on the implementation of Functional Behavioral Assessments within the naturalistic setting. Students will become familiar with strategies that reduce or eliminate disruptiveness, aggressiveness, and defiance. They will learn practical ways of achieving better home-school relations and become familiar with services of the resource staffs as well as services provided by other (State and private agencies) in order to meet the needs of exceptional students.

The seminar sequence is taken concurrently with the culminating/practicum semester to integrate specific topics and competencies with the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP). The 144 Massachusetts Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) is designed to assess the overall readiness of teacher candidates. By demonstrating readiness through CAP, the School of Education at American International College, will be able to ensure that teacher candidates enter classrooms prepared to be impactful with students on day one. CAP is the culminating assessment required for program completion in the Commonwealth, thus creating an intentional bridge from training to practice by aligning expectations with the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework. The goals of CAP and the Education Seminar are: 1) To ensure teacher candidates are ready to make impact with students on day one; 2) To measure teacher candidates’ practice on key indicators as outlined in the Guidelines for the Professional Standards for Teachers (PSTs); and 3) To support teachers in improving their practice based on targeted feedback and performance evaluations. This seminar is required for all initial licensure programs including Early Childhood, Elementary, Moderate Disabilities, Middle and Secondary Education. PREREQUISITE: All prior coursework in graduate education program.

This course will provide a comprehensive model for instruction for preparing teachers to work with English language learners, (PreK-12) in all classrooms. Using a structured immersion approach (SEI), such as the SIOP Model, students will practice the cycle of assessment, lesson design and implementation of instructional strategies that provide access to grade level content for ELL learners. Students will plan, design and present a model lesson following the SIOP Model.

Students majoring in one of the above specialty areas may opt for the appropriate field experience which will satisfy the degree requirement for a culminating experience. Candidates will have the opportunity to delve into data collection and analysis, designing program for diverse populations, technology, developing 21st century skills, as examples, and/or other principles learned in their coursework to the end of increasing student achievement in the classroom. An action based research project is the central activity for this course. Employed teachers may utilize their own classrooms for this culminating experience [40 clock hours per credit]. Students who complete their degree with this culminating project are not eligible for licensure as a teacher or administrator in Massachusetts nor will they receive the NASDTEC stamp for reciprocity with other states.

This is a research and statistics based course that leads to the completion of an APA formatted classroom based research project. Action research, unlike traditional research, places action at the center of investigation; its primary goal is to solve a problem that will lead to improvement in individual or organizational practice. Action research prioritizes the “insider” status rather than assuming an outside, “detached” stance. The purpose of the course is to have practitioners in PK12 schools be empowered to construct their own knowledge, skills, and dispositions to improve outcomes for their students. The action research project is designed to help the educator and other professionals analyze their own practices and professional development to enhance the quality of their classroom outcomes and their colleagues’ learning. PREREQUISITE: Successful passage of all other coursework in program of study. COREQUISITE: Registration for 6 credits of Field Based Research hours (code dependent upon program). NOTE: EDU 6622/6623 is NOT a practicum, and will not lead to educator licensure

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