Courses in M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood

Core Curriculum (24 credits) *
See Core Curriculum descriptions below

  • ECH 500 Early Childhood Education in Today’s World
  • ECH 533 Advanced Foundations of Child Development
  • ECH 534 Advanced Program Administration
  • ECH 535 Play and the Social World of the Child
  • ECH 538 Collaboration with Families and Communities
  • ECH 539 Curriculum Development and Assessment
  • ECH 540 Research Methods in Early Childhood
  • ECH 541 Field-Based Research

Electives (12 credits)*

  • ECH 502 Diverse Programming in Early Learning Environments
  • ECH 503 Leadership and Supervision
  • ECH 504 Early Childhood Policy and Research
  • ECH 505 Mathematics in the Early Childhood Years
  • ECH 537 Science in the Early Childhood Years
  • ECH 577 Special Topics in Early Childhood Education

Up to nine (9) graduate credits (500-level or above) may be transferred into the program if:

  • Content is appropriate as judged by the faculty
  • Course was completed within five (5) years of applying to the program
  • Credit was granted at an accredited higher education institution and
  • A grade of B (3.0) or better was awarded

* Participation in courses with direct contact with children requires proof of an official clear Criminal History and Child Abuse and Neglect Record.


M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Core Curriculum Course Descriptions

ECH 500 Early Childhood Education in Today’s World

Participants in this course will investigate the current field of inclusive early childhood care and education from the perspectives of leadership, advocacy, policy and research. This course serves as a foundation for the M.S. Ed. Program, as students develop goals for their professional growth. Using a socio-ecological model, the contexts of the environments that surround childhood in the 21st century will be identified and explored. Students will explore current issues in early childhood by reading and understanding research on a selected topic in early childhood. Varies.

ECH 533 Advanced Foundations of Child Development

This course is an examination of the historical, philosophical, and theoretical basis of inclusive early childhood education today.  The class traces the history and philosophy of education in early childhood and how they impact education practice.  Social, economic and political forces will be analyzed within the context of shaping early childhood education.  The course examines children’s behavior and learning within education contexts, with particular emphasis on inclusive environments. This course will fulfill a course towards attainment of the Maine state Birth-5 081 teaching certificate. Varies.

ECH 534 Advanced Program Administration

Participants in this course will investigate the current field of early childhood care and education from the perspectives of leadership, advocacy, policy, and research within inclusive settings. Building on their professional experiences in the field and previous coursework in program administration, this course will help students examine major components of administration including supervision and professional development of staff, relationships with families and the community, advocacy for the program and the field, professional accreditation, and applying research findings in the field. Varies.

ECH 535  Play and the Social World of the Child

In this course, students examine how children form and maintain relationships with others, including the family, peers, early childhood educators, and the community.  Issues involving support systems for inclusive education settings will be investigated. The implications of these relationships for children’s development are investigated, as is the critical role of play in promoting positive connections with individuals and groups in the child’s world. Varies.

ECH 538 Collaboration with Families and Communities

The course presents strategies for educators to develop supportive family and community relationships.  The multiple roles played by early educators are examined as they design and implement collaborative relationships with families and communities for the purpose of mutual support within inclusive settings.  The course critically analyzes theoretical paradigms and current research, with a particular focus on the ecological system from the most immediate environments inhabited by the child to the most distant (i.e. federal agencies, belief systems). This course will fulfill a course towards attainment of the Maine state Birth-5 081 teaching certificate. Varies.

ECH 539 Curriculum Development and Assessment

This course focuses on building collaborative and integrative curricula that utilizes assessment for best teaching practices.  The emphasis will be child-centered and include the use of inclusive classroom adaptations. Students will focus on assessing outcomes and learning goals, as well as articulating developmentally appropriate alignment with school (K-3) outcomes and goals.  The role of inquiry to practice and viewing reflective inquiry as a critical part of curriculum building will be emphasized. Varies.

ECH 540 Research Methods in Early Childhood

In this course, students examine research methodologies used in inclusive early childhood settings. Students will investigate and interpret the methods used in existing empirical literature, and will investigate and practice various qualitative and quantitative techniques.  The use of ethics in conducting research on young children, their families, and their learning environments is emphasized. Varies.

ECH 541 Field-Based Research

This course is the capstone of the M.S. Ed. Early Childhood Program. Students will complete a field-based, original research project, utilizing a research design that will draw on the student’s background knowledge from ECH 541. Analysis and reflection on the research process with an emphasis on interpretation and practical application of research to practice will be central to the course. Varies.


MS.Ed. in Early Childhood Electives Course Descriptions

ECH 501 The Reggio Emilia Approach and the Emergent Curriculum

This course introduces students to the Reggio Emilia approach and the use of the emergent curriculum in early childhood education. The course begins with an overview of the history and development of the Reggio Emilia approach and moves to the pedagogical dimensions and features of the emergent curriculum as practiced in this curriculum model. The methodology of project work is extensively explored over the course. Students are expected to construct an understanding of how to develop an emergent curriculum based upon children’s interest and needs. The concept of pedagogical documentation is debased and used to support curriculum planning and children’s assessment. Varies.

ECH 502 Diverse Programming in Early Learning Environments

This course is designed for the early childhood educator interested in learning how to incorporate diversity and multiculturalism in to the classroom with an emphasis on curriculum-building.  Students will study the reality of increasing diversity within the classroom setting including issues relating to class, ethnicity, religion, exceptionality, gender and language.  Included in the analysis of diversity will be how to move beyond cultural stereotyping toward using diversity as a care giving and teaching strategy.  Students will have the opportunity to emerge with a deeper understanding of multiculturalism and how to integrate meaningful diversity in to their lesson plans. Varies

ECH 503 Leadership and Supervision

This course presents an in-depth study of principles of leadership and management and applies those principles to a variety of early childhood programs. The course focuses on comparing and contrasting leadership models and styles, while delineating the differing roles and ethical responsibilities of leaders and managers. Participants will explore the application of technologically-based tools to visionary program planning and staff supervision. The course emphasizes principles for designing staff development and training methods that are effective with adult learners. Varies.

ECH 504 Early Childhood Policy and Research

Participants in this course will investigate the current field of early childhood care and education from the perspectives of leadership, advocacy, policy and research. An analysis of the influence and impact of national, state and local politics on early childhood policy will include an examination of involved stakeholders, both external and internal to government entities.  Students will explore current issues in early childhood policy and research by reading and understanding research on selected current topics in early childhood. Students may opt to complete a mini-internship in a policy research institute or project. Varies.

ECH 505 Mathematics in the Early Childhood Years

This course will concentrate on the development of mathematical concepts in young children ages B-8 in naturalistic, informal and formal settings. Using a constructivist theoretical approach, the course will embed and integrate early math development across curriculum areas and throughout the daily environments of young children. Current research and national and state mathematics standards on early mathematics will be linked to philosophy and practice. This course will fulfill the required math content area for the Maine state Birth-5 081 teaching certificate. Varies.

ECH 537 Science in the Early Childhood Years

This course addresses the development of inquiry-based science curriculum in the early childhood setting.  Rooted in constructivist approaches, it incorporates topics of scientific literacy, conceptual development, content areas, current research and curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.   Sources of curriculum in science for young children are explored (e.g., standards content, children’s knowledge and concepts, flora and fauna of the immediate environment, etc.) are explored, teaching/learning strategies examined and scientific outcomes assessed.  This course will fulfill the science content area for the Maine state Birth-5 081 teaching certificate. Varies.

ECH 577 Special Topics in Early Childhood Education

This course provides students with the opportunity to cover specialized topics, not included in regular course offerings, in the fields of child development and early childhood education.  May be repeated for credit when the topic differs. Varies.