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1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371 

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016 

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Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction,
Early Childhood Education

“This program has rejuvenation my teaching abilities and provided opportunities for further professional growth and experiences. The faculty with whom I have worked are experts in their fields and relate their knowledge base to the students with ease and understanding.”
~Jennifer Chestnut


National Recognition  Degree Requirements  Special Resources 
Mission Statement 

Admission Requirements 




The Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction (C & I) includes options in early childhood education. The early childhood options are designed to provide advanced knowledge in child development from birth through age eight (or 3rd grade) and at least one period of that age span: infants and toddlers, preschool and kindergarten age, and primary school (grades 1 through 3) age. The PA Early Childhood Director Credential can also be completed as part of this program.

Our Emphasis

 Emphasis is placed on working with young children and their families. Graduate students in the early childhood options will apply knowledge of child development, families and best teaching practices to a variety of educational settings including public school kindergarten and primary programs, preschool programs, Head Start, child care, parenting and family support programs.

National Recognition

 Both the early childhood option and the early childhood certification programs have recently been awarded national recognition by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the premier national scholarly organization for early childhood education. This recognition is through the auspices of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the noted organization that accredits teacher preparation programs throughout the country. After rigorous review by a national panel, our early childhood programs were granted the highest level of national recognition, meeting 100% of the guidelines for early childhood teacher preparation.
NCATE has demonstrated that quality teacher preparation makes a difference in student learning. Further, NCATE accreditation of teacher preparation programs makes a difference in teacher preparation that leads to differences in student learning. Graduates from NCATE accredited programs become competent, caring and highly qualified teachers.

Early Childhood Master's Degree Requirements

The options in early childhood education emphasize child development and family theory and practice Most courses have a balance of theory, research, and practical application. A minimum of 36 credits is required for the M.Ed. without certification.

Three degree options are available:  

  • Option A: Master’s degree in C & I with option in early childhood education.
  • Option B: Master’s degree in C & I and state certification in early childhood education (for students with existing state certification in elementary, special education, or middle school).
  • Option C: Master’s degree in C & I and state certification in early childhood education (for those without certification listed in Option B).

Option A

M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, early childhood education option.

Core Courses (18 credits): 

  • ECH577 Early Childhood Curriculum & Assessment 3 cr.
  • TCH501 Strategies for Effective Teaching (3 cr.)
    TCH502 Strategies for Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (3 cr.)
  • ECH563 Leadership in Early Childhood Education (3 cr.)
  • TCH575 Advanced Child Development (3 cr.)
  • ECH510 Including Young Children with Special Needs in Early Childhood Education (3 cr.)
  • TCH600 Elements of Research (3 cr.)

Early Childhood Specialization Courses (12 CR.):  

  • ECH520 Social & Emotional Development in Early Childhood (3 cr.)
  • ECH530 Cognitive & Language Development in Early Childhood (3 cr.)
  • ECH540 Families & Early Childhood Education (3 cr.)
  • TCH609 Internship & Action Research Seminar (3 cr.)


  • ECH410 Physical, Motor and Sensory Development (3 cr.)
  • ECH460 Family, School & Community Partnerships (3 cr.)
  • ECH461 Assessment in Early Childhood Education (3 cr.)
  • RDG528 Foundations of Literacy Development (3 cr.)
  • TCH440 Gender Equity in Education (3 cr.)
  • TCH445 Strategies for Effective Classroom Management (3 cr.)
  • TCH570 Perceptual-Motor Development (3 cr.)
  • TCH490 Special Topics (3 cr.)
  • TCH612 & 613 Thesis I and II (6 cr.)

Option B

M.Ed. and state early childhood teaching certification for students who already hold certifications in elementary, special education, or middle school education.

Meet all requirements in Option A. Applicants with current certification who wish to pursue Pre K-4 certification will follow the Option C plan after an individual evaluation of coursework.

Option C


M.Ed. and state early childhood teaching certification for students without any existing certification.


Proposed alternatives to meet Pre K-4 Competencies (63 crs. total)

  • TCH560    Making Social Studies Dynamic* and  TCH546    Teaching Science in the Elementary School*
  • ECH540    Families and Early Childhood Education*
  • ECH415    Professional Practicum in PK-4
  • RDG528    Foundations of Literacy Development
  • TCH542    Modern Elementary School Mathematics
  • RDG443    PreK-4 Literacy Assessment and Data-Driven Instruction
  • EEC526    Special Topics in Special Education and  EEC423    Effective Instructional Strategies for Children with Exceptionalities
  • EEC483    Assessing Children with Exceptionalities
  • RDG383    English Language Learners in PK-4
  • ECH489    Early Childhood Student Teaching (12 cr.)
  • ECH563    Leadership in Early Childhood Education*
  • ECH575     Advanced Child Development*
  • ECH577     Curriculum and Assessment in Early Education*
  • ECH520     Social/Emotional Development*
  • ECH530     Cognitive and Language Development*

*offered as online options
Note:      TCH600 and TCH609 are required to complete the master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Special Resources

Shippensburg University has been educating teachers for more than 140 years; thus, teacher education is part of the very fabric of the university. A number of specialized curriculum laboratories are located on campus. A Curriculum Materials Center provides a wide range of resources: textbooks, multimedia kits, films and filmstrips, audio and videotapes and more.

 Also, the university maintains the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School, one of the finest demonstration laboratories in the country. The school serves a heterogeneous group of children from kindergarten through fifth grade. The Bartos Child and Family Center, located in the same facility as the Luhrs School, provides child care and family support to university faculty, staff, students and community members. Shippensburg Head Start serves preschool children and their families and is located in the Cora I. Grove Spiritual Center, adjacent to campus. 

 Mission Statement

The mission of early childhood education at Shippensburg University is to prepare professionals to plan, implement, and evaluate programs that serve children from birth through age eight and their families, including children with special developmental and learning needs. Settings for these programs may include centers, schools, or homes. 

Admission Requirements

 To be eligible for admission to this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Have an undergraduate overall grade point average of 2.75 or an approved score on the Miller Analogies Test. (A 3.0 grade point average is required for certification.)
  • Provide official transcripts of all undergraduate/graduate work.
  • Complete a questionnaire concerning teaching background and future goals.
  • Submit three letters of reference.
  • Campus interview, if requested. 
  • Please print the forms from the following links:  

Goals of the program

At the completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of theory and practice for planning and implementing programs for individual and groups of children.
  • apply and analyze the core knowledge and to systematically develop appropriate curriculum for individual and groups of children.
  • demonstrate capability to refine the core knowledge and evaluate and apply research to improve practice.
  • develop and conduct assessments of individual children and groups.
  • demonstrate understanding of family strengths and areas for support as they form authentic partnerships with families.
  • reflect on practices that result in improved programming for young children and families.
  • use strategies for effectively advocating for policies designed to improve conditions for children, families, and the profession.
  • to contribute to continuing professional development in the field of early childhood education.


Christine A. Royce, Ed.D., Chair, Department of Teacher Education, Temple University; Science Education.

Kent Chrisman, Ed.D., University of Louisville; Educational Supervision.  

Laureen Nelson, D.Ed., Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Curriculum and Instruction.  

Anna L. Papero, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Child Development.  

Jennifer Pyles, Ph.D, Pennsylvania State University; Early Childhood Education.  

Rebecca Ward, Ph.D., Oregon State University, Human Development and Family Studies.