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Academic Master Plan

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College of Education & Human Services

Office of Dean
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1373
College Site

Department of Teacher Education

214 Shippen Hall
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Department Website

PA Early Childhood Directors Credential

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Contact Information

Graduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions Office
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
Phone: 717-477-1213
Fax: 717-477-4016

Graduate Dean's Office

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


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Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education Program

Shippensburg University offers a master’s in early childhood education program for Central PA students interested in expanding on their undergraduate foundation. 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, and primary school (grades 1 through 3). The PA Early Childhood Director Credential can also be completed as part of this program.

Emphasis is placed on working with young children and their families. Graduate students in the early childhood degree 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.

We designed our master’s of early childhood education degree program to provide students with experience in diverse educational settings. Graduate students who are interested in expanding their teaching skills, participating in assessment and policy work, and learning about child development often enroll in our early education master’s 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.
  • Contribute to continuing professional development in the field of early childhood education.

National Recognition

The early childhood program has been awarded national recognition by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the premier professional organization for early childhood education. This recognition is through the auspices of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP is the lead organization that accredits teacher preparation programs throughout the country).

CAEP has demonstrated that quality teacher preparation makes a difference in student learning. Further, graduates from CAEP accredited programs become competent, caring, and highly qualified teachers.

Early Childhood Education Master's Degree Requirements

The three 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 MEd without certification.

Option A: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Early Childhood Education

Core Courses (18 credits)

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

Early Childhood Specialization Courses (12 credits)

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

Electives with Advisement (6 credits)

  • ECH410 Physical, Motor and Sensory Development
  • RDG528 Foundations of Literacy Development
  • TCH440 Gender Equity in Education
  • TCH570 Perceptual-Motor Development
  • TCH490 Special Topics
  • TCH612 & 613 Thesis I and II
  • Other electives in consultation with adviser

Option B: MEd and State Early Childhood Teaching Certification

Option B is 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: MEd and State Early Childhood Teaching Certification

Option C is for students without any existing certification. The following is a list of proposed alternatives to meet Pre K-4 Competencies (63 credits total):

  • TCH560 Making Social Studies Dynamic*
  • 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
  • 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 credits)
  • 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.

Early Childhood 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 childcare 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.

Early Childhood Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission to our PA master's in early childhood education program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Have an undergraduate overall GPA of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale. A 3.0 GPA is required for certification. For those with a GPA below a 2.75, the academic department will determine what additional requirements may be required.
  • Provide official transcripts of all undergraduate/graduate work.
  • Complete a questionnaire[PDF] concerning teaching background and future goals. [ Word Doc]
  • Submit three (3) Reference Forms[PDF]. [ Word Doc]
  • Campus interview, if requested.

Admission is selective, and it’s important to submit all required material.

Scholarships and Tuition Reimbursement

The  Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program pays 95% of tuition costs for eligible college coursework taken by early learning professionals, with a maximum benefit of $4,500 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).

Pennsylvania Keys to Quality offers a College Tuition Reimbursement Voucher up to $500 per college credit and up to $3000 per year in tuition reimbursement.

Tuition scholarships of $900 are available through a partnership of Shippensburg University and the South Central Regional Key.

Learn more about these programs and other financial assistance available.

Early Childhood Faculty

The Department of Teacher Education faculty has a wide range of interest and focus areas as well as in-depth preparation in their subjects. They are passionate about not only their teaching areas but also about assisting students in meeting their educational goals. Our faculty has involved students in writing for publication, engaging in student-faculty research, introducing them to presenting at conferences as well as involving them in many different educational outreach programs and student clubs.