Early Childhood Education (MAT)

School of Education

Program Description

Students pursuing early childhood education in the MAT program study young children and their families from an ecological systems perspective. The emphasis is on the integration of knowledge of child development, relationships with families and community, developmentally appropriate practice, and the curriculum content areas.

Students can develop a specialized focus on infants and toddlers, pre-primary age children, kindergarten, early primary, or parent education through specific courses, projects within courses, practica, and individualized planning of action research or curriculum development.

Students learn to identify developmental needs and design appropriate educational plans for children who are “typically developing,” as well as those who have special needs. Strategies for meeting the needs of all children in the least restrictive environment are emphasized. Throughout this major, students explore methods of consultation and collaboration among teachers, therapists, parents, and others involved in providing services to young children.

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Learning Outcomes

The goals of the MAT in early childhood education are to cultivate graduates who:

    • Demonstrate competence as a teacher researcher through ability to observe, document, and analyze children's ideas, learning processes, and actions.
    • Apply an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and ecological systems-oriented approach to early education that encourages family and community participation.
    • Create curriculum that is grounded in an understanding of subject matter, developmental theory, and ongoing research; that is responsive and respectful of diverse learners and their families; that considers the physical and social contexts of learning; and that promotes inquiry and multiple forms of expression.
    • Demonstrate professionalism through communication and collaboration with colleagues, families, children, and community leaders; and through understanding and respect for self and others.

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Course Requirements

  • ECED 5010 Foundations of Early Childhood Education (3 hours)
  • ECED 5430 Language and Motor Development in Infant Toddler Programs (3 hours)
  • ECED 5460 Curriculum Design (3 hours)
  • ECED 5470 Observation, Documentation and Analysis in Early Childhood Education (3 hours)
  • ECED 5480 Math Methods for the Young Child (3 hours)
  • ECED 5880 Integrating Resources: Community Schools and Family (3 hours)
  • COMM 5440 Integrated Language Arts (3 hours)
  • COMM 5830 Emergent Literacy (3 hours)
  • COMM 5960 Differentiated Reading Instruction (3 hours)
  • ECED 5096 Apprentice Teaching Seminar (1 hour)
  • ECED 5940 Apprentice Teaching: Pre-Primary (6 hours)
  • ECED 5950 Apprentice Teaching: Primary (6 hours)

Total: 40 hours

Additional Courses Required for Certification

  • CMAT 5000 Teaching in a Diverse Society (3 hours)
    (To be completed within the first 2 semesters; must be taken in residence at Webster) 
  • COMM 5000 Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry for children (3 hours)
  • COMM 5820 Foundations of Reading Instruction (3 hours)
  • ECED 5431 Practicum: Infant/Toddler(1 hour)
  • ECED 5461 Practicum: Pre-Primary(1 hour)
  • ECED 5462 Practicum: Primary(1 hour)
  • EDUC 4020 Health, Nutrition and Safety (3 hours)
  • EPSY 5130 Educational Psychology (3 hours)
  • EPSY 5816 Advanced Child Development(2-3 hours)
  • EPSY 5170 Behavioral Management (3 hours)
  • EDTC 5010 Introduction to Technologies for Educators (3 hours)
  • SPED 5860 Psychology of the Exceptional Student (3 hours)

Prior to apprentice teaching, students must take and pass the PRAXIS Exam #20021 Education of Young Children.

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Teacher Certification in Early Childhood Special Education

Early childhood education MAT students may receive an added teaching certificate in early childhood special education. These students should contact the Teacher Certification advisor.

Student Internship and Apprentice Teaching

Students must also complete the following courses to earn both the MAT Early Childhood Degree and to complete certification in early childhood.

  • ECED 5096 Apprentice Teaching Seminar(1 hour)
  • ECED 5940 Apprentice Teaching:  PrePrimary (3 hours)
  • ECED 5950 Apprentice Teaching: Primary (3 hours)

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Optional Emphasis Area

Students who wish to pursue a special emphasis area in Inclusive Education, in addition to their degree program, may pursue the following program. This is an option available to those who have a special interest in this area.

Emphasis in Inclusive Education

The emphasis in inclusive education is designed to provide classroom teachers and regular and special educators at the pre-primary, elementary, and secondary levels with the knowledge base, practical applications, and strategies necessary for implementing a successful inclusive education program appropriate to the diverse needs of students in today's regular classroom.

This emphasis will enable practicing teachers to investigate issues and examine strategies that relate to the education of all students, regardless of ability, in their local school. In addition to the 40 required early childhood credit hours, students must complete at least 9 credit hours of appropriate coursework related to inclusive education.

The following two courses are required for the area of emphasis in inclusive education:

  • EDUC 5080 Planning for the Inclusive Classroom (3 hours)
  • EDUC 5090 Curricular and Instructional Adaptation (3 hours)

In addition, students select one course from the following courses:

  • SPED 5250 Behavior Management for Children with Special Needs (3 hours)
  • SPED 5260 Career Preparation for Students with Special Needs (3 hours)
  • SPED 5270 Advocating for Persons with Disabilities (3 hours)
  • SPED 5290 Collaboration and Cooperative Teaching (3 hours)
  • SPED 5300 Communicating with Families and Disabled Persons (3 hours)
  • SPED 5330 Legal Issues in Special Education (3 hours)
  • SPED 5370 Educating Students with Physical and Health Impairments (3 hours)
  • SPED 5480 Learning and Behavior Problems in the Classroom (3 hours)
  • ECED 5830 Topics in Early Learning: Assessment for Intervention of Infants and Young Children (3 hours)
  • ECED 5830 Topics in Early Learning; Early Childhood Special Education Curriculum (3 hours)

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Students who are interested in applying to this degree program should also see the Admission Section found in the front of this catalog for general requirements.

Admission Requirements

  • Receipt of official transcripts from the baccalaureate-granting institution.
  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • B- or greater in a college-level math course.
  • B- or greater in a college-level composition course.

Send all admission materials to:

Webster University
Office of Admission
470 East Lockwood Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63119

Completed application files will be reviewed by the Communication Arts, Reading and Early Childhood Department

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Advancement to Candidacy (ATC)

Automatic ATC based on 12 credit hours of 3.0 GPA graduate level

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