Early Childhood Education, MEd (PreK-2), (initial licensure online)

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In Short

Designed for those individuals who have completed an appropriate baccalaureate degree, but without an initial license who wish to acquire the competencies and requirements for the initial license in early childhood education in grades PreK-2.

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What will I do?
  • Develop as a reflective, student-centered educator
  • Effectively articulate and apply educational theory and research in the field of education

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Become a teacher with our initial licensure M.Ed. program
in Early Childhood Education. Learn more today.

Career Opportunities

Once a candidate has obtained this degree and has been endorsed by the University for initial licensure, they are eligible to teach in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Teacher of Young Children. They may engage professionally in child and family care, both public and private.

Program Highlights

  • NECHE approved
  • State approved for licensure endorsement
  • Fitchburg State University is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), a national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The program has been awarded full accreditation by AAQEP through December 31, 2030. Accreditation acknowledges that a program prepares effective educators who continue to grow as professionals and has demonstrated the commitment and capacity to maintain quality.

Total Credits

39 credits

Time Frame

While you can complete the program in as few as 2.5 years, you have 6 years to complete the program.

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Degree and Other Information

For questions about class requirements and curriculum plans, please contact the program chair, Dr. Lyndsey Benharris at lbenharr@fitchburgstate.edu.

All Students, from here on now known as Teacher Candidates (TCs), will meet the following Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE/ESE) Professional Standards for Teachers (PSTs):

(1) Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an on-going basis, and continuously refining learning objectives.

(2) Teaching All Students standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency.

(3) Family and Community Engagement standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.

(4) Professional Culture standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice.

In addition to the Professional Standards for Teachers identified above, Teacher Candidates will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for their license including the following Subject Matter Knowledge (SMKs) standards:

Knowledge of the significant theories, approaches, practices, and programs for developing reading skills and reading comprehension:

  • Current research-based theories and practices for developing proficient and strategic readers; familiarity with programs and approaches for teaching literacy/reading.
  • Principles and research-based instructional practices for developing proficient readers (phonics and word recognition, vocabulary, reading fluency, comprehension, and the reading-writing connection).
  • Theories, research, and instructional practices for supporting readers with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, strengths, and challenges.
  • Knowledge of reading standards as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Curriculum Framework: reading for key ideas and details, craft and structure, integration of knowledge and ideas, and range of reading and text complexity.
  • Instructional practices for supporting comprehension in a variety of genres and content areas.
  • Knowledge of selection criteria for classroom literary and informational texts.

Principles and research-based instructional practices for developing emergent reader skills (alphabetic principle, concepts of print, phonological and phonemic awareness).

  • Phonemic awareness and phonics; principles, knowledge, and instructional practices.
  • Use of assessment for instruction and intervention.
  • Knowledge of a variety of formal and informal reading assessment tools.
  • Use of data from screening, diagnostic, and formative assessments to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and to differentiate instruction (prepare mini-lessons, select appropriate materials, form flexible groups).
  • Knowledge of Response to Intervention models/components, including tiered instruction, shared responsibility and decision-making, research-based interventions, and progress monitoring.
  • Diagnosis and assessment of reading skills using standardized, criterion- referenced, and informal assessment instruments.

Teacher candidates must demonstrate the necessary depth and breadth of content knowledge needed to support all students in mastering expectations outlined in the following Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks:

2017 English Language Arts(ELA)/Literacy Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

2017 Mathematics Curriculum Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

2016 Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Curriculum Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

2018 History and Social Science Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

Teacher Candidates in the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education Initial Licensure program will be assessed on the above student learning outcomes throughout the program utilizing various assessment instruments and scoring rubrics including the following:

  • Candidate Dispositions Assessment [With each field experience]
  • Gateway I Assessment [Reading data analysis with EDUC 7645]
  • Gateway II Assessment [Observation with EDUC 7640]
  • Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) [During practicum]

The following assessment instruments are also used in the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education Initial Licensure program:

  • Stage 2 Review prior to admission to practicum (student teaching)
  • The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs)

Tuition and Fees

Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis. Admissions requirements are as follows:

  • An official transcript of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Passing scores for the Communication and Literacy subtest of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume
  • Official transcripts of graduate level course work from a regionally accredited institution (if applicable)
  • Graduate application and fee
  • An essay, no more than one page in length, in response to one of the following questions:
    • Tell us about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
    • What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
    • Tell us about a significant event that involved you in a teaching or helping mode.
      • Describe the situation as it occurred at the time.
      • What did you do in that particular situation?
      • How did you feel about the situation at the time you were experiencing it?
      • How do you feel about the situation now?
      • What would you change, if anything?

If you're currently teaching on an emergency license and would like to connect with an Enrollment Counselor to learn more about your options for earning your initial teaching license and master's degree, as well as MTEL workshops Fitchburg State offers, please fill out this brief form:

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