MAT in Early Childhood Education

Students pursuing early childhood education in the Master of Arts in Teaching (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.

Points of Distinction

  • 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.

Academic Program

Additional Information