Early Childhood Education

Education and Professional Studies Building, Room 329

The Early Childhood Education Department provides leadership in meeting the educational and professional needs of students preparing for careers as preschool and primary grade teachers and other school personnel. The department is committed to building and sustaining a learning community that provides high quality instruction for persons seeking careers in urban educational environments.

The Early Childhood Education Department offers the following:

  • Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood Education—Preschool-3 (P-3) certification (39 credits, offered online)
    This program leads to initial P-3 certification. The certification courses focus on developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum and the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be an effective early childhood teacher. Candidates who successfully complete this program will be eligible for the New Jersey Preschool through Grade Three Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing.
  • Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood/Special Education, includes P-3 and Teacher of Students with Disabilities (TOSD) certification/endorsement eligibility (39 credits, offered online)
    This degree prepares candidates to teach in inclusive settings for young children with exceptional needs. Candidates focus on developmentally appropriate practices and the requisite modifications needed in inclusive or special education settings. Candidates who successfully complete this program will be eligible for the New Jersey Preschool through Grade Three Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing and the Teacher of Students with Disabilities endorsement.
  • Specialized P-3 Alternate Route (offered online)
    This program is designed for candidates who have the New Jersey Department of Education Preschool through Grade Three Certificate of Eligibility, working full time as a lead teacher in an early childhood setting and are required to complete the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) approved 24-credit course of study. The program is taken over a two-year period. The courses focus on developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum and the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be an effective early childhood educator. Candidates also have to obtain a passing score on edTPA. A letter of completion or NJDOE program verification form can be obtained by the candidate upon completion of the courses and obtaining a passing score on edTPA.

Department Goals

The goals of all of the Early Childhood Education Department programs are as follows:

  • To provide both pre-service and in-service P-3 teachers and other education professionals with the skills necessary for meeting and serving the broad diversity of teaching/learning needs in an urban community.
  • To enable early childhood educators to develop proficiency in developmentally appropriate curriculum and subject specific content pedagogy across the birth-third grade age span.
  • To provide pre-service teachers with the skills necessary for meeting the instructional needs of children with physical, communicative, cognitive, behavioral, and specific learning disabilities.
  • To familiarize early childhood educators with assessment approaches across the birth-third grade age span.
  • To support young children’s development and learning by having early childhood educators analyze, collect and use data from instruction to reflect on student outcomes.
  • To demonstrate the use of research and technology to support young children’s learning and development.
  • To demonstrate the importance of supporting families and community involvement.
  • To provide opportunities for early childhood educators to model best professional practices in teaching, to assess their own effectiveness and reflect on ways of growing professionally.

The graduate Early Childhood programs are based upon a reflective urban practitioner model that seeks to develop teachers who are effective in current and future urban classrooms and who are adaptable to societal changing demands. The reflective urban practitioner model brings together the dimensions of theory, practice, community resources and reflective practice.

Applicants should be aware that programs may be revised in response to changes in state certification requirements and/or changes in accrediting agency standards. Substitution of courses should only be done with the approval of one’s officially assigned graduate advisor and/or department chairperson. The department should be contacted for the most up-to-date information and requirements.

Early Childhood Education Department Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for admission to graduate study at NJCU, admission to all Early Childhood Education Department graduate certification eligibility and degree programs, the following criteria must be met:


  • A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0.
  • A minimum of B- or better on all education courses
  • Passing scores on all three sections of the Praxis CORE, or 560 verbal, 540 Math on the SAT, or 23 or higher on the ACT, or 155 verbal, 156 quantitative on the GRE.

Passing scores on the Praxis CORE Academic Skills for Educators Tests, as of 9/1/19:

  • Math Test #5733         Passing Score 150
  • Reading Test #5713    Passing Score 156
  • Writing Test #5723     Passing Score 162

Students who meet the score levels below are not required to take the Praxis CORE:

SAT Scores

  • If taken before 4/1/1995: Math 520, Reading 480
  • If taken between 4/1/1995 to 2/28/2016: Math 540, Reading 560
  • If taken on or after 3/1/2016: Math 570, 610 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing or 30 Reading Section

ACT Scores

  • If taken before 8/28/1989: Math 23, English 20
  • If taken on or after 8/28/1989: Math 23, English 23

GRE Scores

  • If taken before 8/1/2011: Quantitative 720, Verbal 530
  • If taken on or after 8/1/2011: Quantitative 156, Verbal 155

For more information on Praxis exams:  https://www.ets.org/praxis/nj/requirements

Note: For the most updated information on this teaching certification program, students are directed to contact the Department Chairperson, Dr. Sai Jambunathan (sjambunatha@njcu.edu) as changes may have occurred since publication.

Saigeetha Jambunathan, Chairperson
Professor of Early Childhood Education
University of Madras, B.S., M.S.; Oklahoma State University, Ph.D.

Basanti Chakraborty
Professor of Early Childhood Education
Utkal University, B.S., B.Ed., M.Ed., Ph.D

Muriel Rand
Professor of Early Childhood Education
Bucknell University, B.A.; Rutgers University, M.S.W., M.Ed., Ed.D.

Jale Aldemir
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey, B.S.; Pennsylvania State University, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Various discipline-specific concentrations that will prepare students for multiple fields of employment or areas of additional graduate study are noted below. Course requirements for each concentration are explained in detail. The requirements for graduation, in addition to completion of the major area, are listed on "Completing a Graduate Program."

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

No more than three 500-level courses may be counted towards any master’s degree.

ECE 500 Early Childhood Classroom Management (1 Credit)

This course addresses classroom management in settings that serve children from birth through third grade. Using the Reflective Urban Practitioner Model, the course content covers establishing a positive social climate, designing appropriate physical environments, establishing classroom rules and routines, and discussing techniques for handling challenging behaviors. As candidates explore the elements of classroom management, they reflect on what they also learned about classroom management in their previous field experiences.

UG Pre-Requisite(s): 3.00 CGPA and Passing Scores on the Praxis Tests (Core Academic Skills in Reading, Writing and Mathematics)

ECE 601 Creating Developmentally Appropriate Learning Centers (1 Credit)

ECE 602 Strats for Successful Teaching (3 Credits)

ECE 603 Science and Mathematics in the Early Childhood Classroom (3 Credits)

Course explores appropriate scientific and mathematical pedagogy for children pre K through third grade. Candidates study the theory of science and mathematics instruction and observe practical models in early childhood classrooms and other settings. Candidates will demostrate specific lessons in the University classroom.

ECE 604 Building Meaningful Curriculum/Developmentally Appropriate Pract in Creative Arts & Social Studies (3 Credits)

In this course candidates learn to design developmentally appropriate lessons in the creative arts and social studies in diverse, inclusive and urban early childhood settings. Candidates analyze and evaluate lessons based on theories, research implementation of lessons, and state and national standards.

ECE 605 ECE GRAD Clinical Practice II (4 Credits)

This s a Full Time, full semester internship for teacher candidates pursuing P-3 and Teacher of Students with Disabilities certifications. Placements include preprimary and primary urban inclusive settings. Reflective practice is emphasized.

Pre-Requisite(s): ECE 624, ECE 631, ECE 610, ECE 638, SPEC 620, SPEC 669, ECE 623, ECE 634, ECE 639, ECE 656 and GPA 3.00 equal to or greater.

ECE 606 Early Childhood/Special Education Field Experience II including Portfolio Development (1 Credit)

This course is a pass/fail field/seminar experience for Early Childhood Special Education candidates. A University supervisor visits the classrooms of the candidates to observe and to assist in putting theory into practice. In the seminars, the attributes of a reflective practitioner are discussed and practiced by utilizing real experiences in urban child care and/or educational settings where knowlede of child development can be observed and applied to early childhood special education program practices. Emphasis will be placed on the dimensions of modification and reframing of knowledge, along with the utilization of knowledge applied to the delivery of developmentally appropriate practice to children and their families.

ECE 607 Assessment Strategies for the Primary Grades II: Best Practices in Diverse Urban Environments (3 Credits)

Teacher candidates learn to use ongoing assessment for planning programs that respond to the needs, interests, and abilities of all children in diverse, urban classrooms. Teacher candidates learn to use tools to collect information and analyze children's progress. To ensure positive outcomes for children, teacher educators need to manage and analyze data in multiple ways to make informed programmatic decisions.

ECE 608 Student Teaching Seminar in Early Childhood Special Education (1 Credit)

This internship seminar for early childhood special education teacher candidates gives teacher candidates an opportunity to engage in reflective thought and dialogue with their peers and the University instructor.

ECE 609 P3 Alternate Route Field Experience I (1 Credit)

In this course, through coaching and mentoring, teachers completing the alternate route coursework will employ appropriate planning and instructional techniques. Utilization of school curriculum will be supported as well as modeling of appropriate instruction as needed.

ECE 610 Child Study Basis Educational Planning (3 Credits)

The course deals with the analysis of all areas of children’s development during early childhood. Students will learn about various assessment strategies to be used in early childhood/inclusion settings. Students will learn to plan curriculum based on assessment information. This course has 25 hours of field experience.

ECE 612 Experiences for Learning and Development (3 Credits)

This course offers a comprehensive survey of psychological principles of learning and development of infants and young children in early childhood and elementary education. Emphasis is on implications for the early childhood setting, educational processes, and the creation of an enriched educational environmental.

ECE 622 Constructing Early Childhood Education & Field Experience (3 Credits)

This course has as its focus the history, philosophy, theories, and research which underlie early childhood education. From this base the student participates in the construction of knowledge and meaning through interviews with community and family members as well as observations in early childhood child care and school settings. Assignments, lectures, class discussion, activities, interviews, and observations are designed to enhance knowledge and skills needed to integrate philosophy and theory with practice.

ECE 623 ECE Graduate Clinical Practice I (2 Credits)

In this field experience course students are placed in an early childhood/elementary education/inclusion setting. Students will be involved in lesson planning, teaching, and observations of young children.

Pre-Requisite(s): Department Consent

ECE 624 Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education:Establishing a Positive Urban Educational Envir (3 Credits)

Teacher candidates examine and identify developmentally appropriate practices, appropriate physical environments, early childhood special education program models, developmental patterns, disabilities and accommodations, assessment, standards, laws and urban influences. This course has 25 hours of field experience built into the course.

ECE 625 Early Childhood Education Foundation of Literacy & Numeracy (1 Credit)

This course provides a framework of theory, research, and developmentally appropriate practice. Influences of the family and the environment on the development of numeracy and literacy are explored.

ECE 626 Primary Writing Development: Theory into Practice in the Early Childhood Clasroom (3 Credits)

Theories, research, and practice of the development of writing are examined. The role of parents and teachers, learning environment, assessment and evaluation, and fostering children to become writes are investigated. Teaching writing to children with special needs, integrating writing across the curriculum, writing genres, and the reading/writing connection are explored.

ECE 627 Child Advocacy and the Early Childhood Educator (3 Credits)

This course will explore contemporary trends in child welfare policy and current social issues related to early childhood. Students will receive child abuse and neglect training to understand NJ law, and to determine appropriate courses of action required to protect children and help families acquire the services and supports needed in a crisis.

ECE 628 Integrating the Creative, Visual, and Performing Arts Across the Curriculum (3 Credits)

Integrating art, drama, dance, music, and literature students gain knowledge and techniques that promote the construction and communication of meaning where young children select, manipulate, and combine the spoken, written, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic components (i.e. rhythm, movement, color, oral expression) into appropriate forms to enhance instruction across the curriculum.

ECE 629 Constructing Meaning in the Early Childhood Curriculum: Research to Practice (3 Credits)

The focus of this class is to develop and evaluate strategies proven effective in the research to promote the construction of meaning across the disciplines. Assessment, family involvement, and professional responsibility are explored. The integration of technology and children’s literature in the curriculum to enhance instruction across the curriculum is examined.

ECE 630 Integrated Curriculum I: Creative Arts and Social Studies (3 Credits)

In this course, candidates learn to design developmentally appropriate lessons in the creative arts and social studies for urban early childhood students. Candidates analyze and evaluate practice on the bases of theories, research, and state and national standards. Candidates complete a video portfolio of their own teaching in creative arts and social studies.

Pre-Requisite(s): ECE 660 and ECE 661

ECE 631 Early Childhood Curriculums & Programs (3 Credits)

This course focuses on developmentally appropriate curriculum for all types of early childhood and inclusion settings and areas of child development through an integrated approach. The physical environment, program organization, lesson plan development with modifications, teacher roles, early childhood programs and models, and parental involvement are studied.

ECE 632 Advanced Early Childhood Curriculum and Programs (3 Credits)

This course approaches curriculum from a process approach looking at meaning, problem solving, critical thinking, thinking skills. Various curriculum models are evaluated. Curriculum is related to assessment, measurement and evaluation measures which are appropriate for use in early childhood classrooms.

Pre-Requisite(s): ECE 631

ECE 633 Seminar & Practicum in Early Childhood Education (3 Credits)

This course combines field experience in various types of early childhood programs and inclusion settings with a seminar approach relating theory and research to practice. It focuses on developing reflective practitioners who become aware of their own teaching styles in relation to curriculum planning and children’s group and individual needs.

Prerequisite: Department Consent

ECE 634 Family, Child and School Interaction (3 Credits)

Attitudes and involvement of parents, children and teachers are studied to develop specific techniques and materials for expanding the collaborative role of parents in the educational process. Emphasis is placed on conducting parent-teacher conferences, and collaborating with members of the community, i.e., guidance specialists, pediatricians, nurses and health departments.

ECE 635 Research Early Childhood Education (3 Credits)

A seminar designed to emphasize the principles of scientific research. The completion of a study demonstrating the candidate’s ability to employ sound research techniques in a useful field investigation is the significant requirement to the seminar.

Prerequisite: Department Consent

ECE 636 Advanced Theories of Child Development and Learning (3 Credits)

This course will include an in-depth/comparative examination of learning theories and implications for practice in early childhood classroom settings.

ECE 637 Research Methods in Early Childhood Education I (3 Credits)

This course is designed to emphasize the basic principles of scientific research in early childhood education. This course will provide the basic skills for reading, understanding, and interpreting qualitative and quantitative research. The students in this course will develop a research proposal that will be developed into a research project in Research Methods II.

ECE 638 Theory into Practice Language Acquistion and Constructing Meaning Across the Curriculum Pre K-K (3 Credits)

The course explores language development and the construction of meaning across the curriculum in the Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms primarily through tasks or activities that reflect best practices, and inclusion strategies proven effective in research, and are grounded in theory.

ECE 639 Theory into Practice Language Acquistion and Constructing Meaning Across the Curriculum (3 Credits)

This course examines language development and constructing meaning across the curriculum in the primary grades. Theories, best practices and inclusion strategies proven effective in the research are incorporated in the planning of instruction in the primary grades.

Pre-Requisite(s): ECE 638

ECE 640 Families, Communities and Social World of Children (3 Credits)

Early childhood educators acquire a clear understanding of the families,cimmunities and social world of children and the impact of each entity on school and in classrooms. Practitioners will use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support, empower, and involve families in their children's development and learning.

ECE 641 Infant Care Methods and Programs (3 Credits)

ECE 642 Development & Adjust Problems (3 Credits)

This course focuses on techniques to help young children who show evidence of developmental delays, disorders, or disabilities. Students learn strategies for the identification, assessment, evaluation, program planning, and individualized teaching of these young children.

ECE 643 Observation, Documentation, Assessment of Young Childlren (3 Credits)

Students will learn formal and informal assessment measures and how to communicate the assessment results to parents. This course will prepare the early childhood educator to conduct ethical, developmentally appropriate assessments. The student will learn to document, analyze, interpret and use the information gained to support daily curricular activities.

ECE 644 Play & Creativity (1 Credit)

This course explores the nature of play and creativity and how they are nurtured and enriched. Play theory and research as well as the nature and stages of play are examined. Interrelationships between play, creativity and development, learning, and imagination are considered.

ECE 646 Research Methods in Early Childhood Education II (3 Credits)

Teacher candidates implement qualitative and/or quantitative research designs, analyze data generated from various designs, and interpret findings resulting from data analysis. A significant requirement of the course is the completion of a research thesis based on a completed and approved research proposal.

Pre-Requisite: ECE 637 Research Methods in Early Childhood Education I

ECE 647 Observing & Understanding Young Children and Families I (3 Credits)

This course focuses on observation and other methods of assessments used to study and understand young children in the context of families and society. Emphasis will be on documentation, portfolios, informal and formal evaluations. The candidate will work with families to develop an appropriate research based performance based assessment for the children.

ECE 648 Meet Diverse Needs ECE Clsrm (1 Credit)

This course focuses on the diversities present in typical early childhood classrooms. Students learn strategies and current best practices effectively used to enhance the optimal development of all children, how to identify and assess children’s needs and how to meet these needs.

ECE 649 Advanced Theories and Research I (3 Credits)

This course will integrate knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on learning theories. This course will also emphasize the basic principles of scientific research in early childhood education and will provide the basic skills for reading, understanding and interpreting qualitative and quantitative research.

ECE 650 ECE GRAD Clinical Practice II (5 Credits)

This internship is a field-based, full-time, full semester experience assigned to local and regional public schools. Students observe master teachers and tutor and teach children in their certification area. Students are placed in an early childhood setting, or if employed in an appropriate early childhood setting, they may use their own classroom as their laboratory.

Pre-Requisite(s): Department Consent

ECE 651 Early Childhood Education Internship Seminar (1 Credit)

In this course students analyze and evaluate their own student teaching experience and progress. Developmentally appropriate curriculum (with an integrated approach) as well as planning, implementing, assessing, and managing unique instructional methods and activities are the topics included.

ECE 655 Classroom Management, Classroom Behavior and Positive Behavior Supports (3 Credits)

Based on research and theory, teacher candidates learn to design, structure, and manage daily routines, including transition time, for all children. Teacher candidates learn to define target behaviors, teach replacement behaviors and use positive behavior supports. Candidates see how technology, including assistive technology, assists with management of teaching and learning.

Pre-Requisite(s): Department Consent

ECE 656 Building Meaningful Curriculum/Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Mathematics and Science (3 Credits)

This course addresses developmentally appropriate scientific and mathematical pedagogy for young children in Pre-K through Third Grade including inclusion settings. Candidates focus on children's play, projects, and activities as opportunities for curriculum development. Candidates plan, implement, provide modifications and evaluate creative, integrative, and project-based learning experiences.

ECE 660 Observing and Understanding Young Children and Families II (3 Credits)

This course will focus on the implementation of appropriate performance- based assessments developed with families in Part I (e.i. Observing and Understanding Young Children and Families I) of this two course sequence. The student will develop developmentally appropriate educational planning based on information from assessments and an understanding of developmental research and principles.

Pre-Requisite(s): ECE 647 Observing and Understanding Young Children with Families I

ECE 661 Advance Theories and Research Methods in Child Development II (3 Credits)

This course will continue the advanced study of developmental theories including an in-depth comparative examination of developmental theories, learning theories, research approaches and implications for teachers. Specific focus will be on a critical assessment of theories and research studies related to learning and child development which lead to reforms in educational practice.

Pre-Requisite(s): ECE 649 Advanced Theories and Research in Child Development I

ECE 666 Supervision in Early Childhood (3 Credits)

This course devotes attention to the theories of leadership and the concepts of supervision that are applicable in early childhood settings. Opportunities to practice the various and diverse skills associated with effective supervision are provided.

ECE 667 School&Child Care Legal Issues (1 Credit)

This course is designed to provide early childhood administrators and teachers with an awareness of legal issues regarding the rights and responsibilities of educators, parents and children. Students examine current law and appropriate strategies for early childhood settings.

ECE 668 Application of Early Childhood Supervision Strategies (3 Credits)

ECE 680 School & Child Care Center Financial (1 Credit)

This course provides budgetary knowledge. Students explore the principles of financial management and accounting for making decisions regarding the fiscal management of early childhood programs.

ECE 683 Facil.Des.Oper.&Admin.Issues (1 Credit)

This course provides an overview of effective facility design for early childhood settings of quality. Students consider various operational and administrative issues that pertain to facilities and to educational programming.