New Early Childhood Education MEd and CAGS Begin Summer 2019
Sponges. Perhaps no other word better describes the minds of young children. In fact, Dr. Maria Montessori—early childhood education pioneer and founder of the Montessori method—called young minds “absorbent,” soaking up the surrounding environment. Montessori recognized that a child’s early years lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning and development. It’s no surprise, then, that early childhood education—birth to age eight—is so important.
“Young children need opportunities from which they can learn and grow and eventually become successful lifelong learners,” explains Dr. Debra Nitschke-Shaw, Senior Professor of Education at New England College. “Early educational experiences allow them to socialize, collaborate, and connect with other children both like and dissimilar to themselves. The importance of these formative years led us to develop advanced studies in early childhood education.”
Known for its high-quality education programs, NEC has offered a Master of Education (MEd) and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Education for some time, but neither path offered a concentration in Early Childhood Education. That changed when local professionals began looking for a program that would give them deeper knowledge of their field.
“These local educators learned about our Summer Institute and looked into NEC’s education programs. Not seeing an early childhood focus, they then asked if we could help them,” states Nitschke-Shaw, also the Program Director for NEC’s Summer Institute for Educators. “After seeing the interest from the early childhood community, we immediately started to develop an MEd/CAGS concentration for early childhood education.”
Two Paths to Deeper Understanding
Master of Education: Teachers and educational professionals who want to become certified or add a new certification complete 28 CORE credits and 9 ELECTIVE credits in their concentration. Learn more.
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies: Experienced educational professionals who want to expand their knowledge and advance their careers complete 20 CORE credits and 12 ELECTIVE credits in their concentration. Learn more.
NEC’s new early childhood MEd/CAGS program begins July 1, 2019 with concentrations in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and Early Childhood Administration. Teaching in the program, Nitschke-Shaw adds, are gifted early childhood educators who will provide cutting-edge learning opportunities that students can immediately apply in their classrooms. Students will also learn how to engage with and meet the needs of diverse populations.
“The early childhood classroom brings a very diverse population of young learners, all of whom arrive with unique talents, skills, and needs. Teachers need to be able to meet those needs in a supportive, caring environment that provides appropriate learning opportunities for each child,” advocates Nitschke-Shaw. “And parents bring their own set of needs and questions. We want to empower early childhood educators to meet parents’ needs as well.”
Why Pursue NEC’s MEd/CAGS in Early Childhood Education?
NEC’s MEd/CAGS programs focus on development and leadership so that educators can improve their instruction and achieve greater classroom success. That begins by learning from dedicated faculty members who provide real solutions for the real-world needs and goals of teachers and education professionals. From there, students develop individual research to craft solutions that will improve education or remove barriers to it within their own communities.
These programs align with national teacher training standards, which ensures that specific learning outcomes are met.
These programs are taught online by practitioner faculty with outstanding professional experience. Educators can advance their knowledge and careers in a convenient format that works with their busy schedules.
And then there’s peer support. “Being in a cohort and connecting with other educators going through NEC’s programs is very beneficial,” comments Heather Smith, who earned her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction and Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from New England College. Smith now uses her NEC experiences and training as a special education teacher in Florida. “It felt as though we were part of a team all cheering for and supporting each other. In order to adapt for our own students, teachers need to continue learning for themselves.”