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Arkansas State University

What Is a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Services?

A master’s degree in early childhood services includes a variety of courses designed to prepare graduate students for careers in the field of early childhood care and education. Students in this program learn about early childhood development and appropriate educational materials and activities. In addition, degree candidates explore appropriate assessment and monitoring tools. Hands-on experiences give students opportunities to test projects they design. Courses in administration prepare students for organizing and supervising preschool programs, and each course includes instruction on building relationships with families and communities.

Learning to Teach

Some of the courses in the master’s degree in early childhood services program offer in-depth study of the development of preschool children. Degree candidates study the factors that influence differences in development and how to create beneficial learning environments, curricula and materials for each child.

These early childhood education courses also provide professional training in the selection and use of appropriate assessments as well as tools to document growth and progress. Assessments include both observational and standardized. In addition, when degree candidates complete this program, they understand the importance of partnering with families to monitor children’s progress.

Graduate students earning a master’s degree in early childhood services participate in practicum courses in community-based early childhood education settings for hands-on experience. The program at Arkansas State University “includes development and implementation of a personal research project within the early childhood setting.” Degree candidates can customize this project to fit their interests or align the project with their existing careers.

The program’s Education Core courses address the best practices in preschool settings. Degree candidates study research and data collection. They learn the value of self-assessment, the importance of their roles as child advocates, and the ethical responsibilities involved in the care and education of young children.

Learning to Lead

The administrative responsibilities of preschool and childcare programs is also part of the Master of Science in Early Childhood Services degree curriculum. Courses emphasize early childhood program design, curriculum and staff development. Students will investigate and discuss the importance of fiscal management and policy formation.

In addition to studying the practical elements of administration, students will consider the various roles of staff leadership and the responsibilities of mentoring young leaders; evaluating staff members; and collaborating with staff, families and the community. They will view early childhood education as a piece of the broader picture, as one of the first steps children take as they move into elementary education and beyond.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “The demand for early childhood care and education programs continues to increase … in recognition of the critical importance of educational experiences during the early years. Several decades of research clearly demonstrate that high-quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood programs produce short- and long-term positive effects on children’s cognitive and social development.” Earning a master’s degree in early childhood services is one of the most important steps educators can take to fill the need for well-prepared early childhood educators and day care professionals. A graduate from this program is qualified to not only work effectively with preschoolers but also to organize and manage a creative learning environment for young children.

Learn more about A-State’s Online Master of Science in Early Childhood Services.


National Association for the Education of Young Children

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