Remember that Walden’s Title IV Code is 025042.
This specialization in Walden’s Minnesota state-approved* teacher preparation program offers an in-depth look at increasing positive child development from infancy through the primary grades. This program will help you create a solid foundation for these early learners.
Based on national and academic standards, this specialization was developed by leading educational experts and master teachers in order to build your teaching skills and help you make a significant impact on young children.
In this specialization, you will:
Estimated time to completion is 20 months. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
*Walden University’s teacher preparation program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching for licensure in Minnesota. Walden’s enrollment advisors can provide individuals with guidelines and other information about licensure. It remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with the out-of-state licensure requirements for the state in which he or she seeks to be licensed.
#Field experience includes a minimum of 75 hours of classroom-based and Virtual field Experience (VFE) in conjunction with coursework; 12–14 weeks of full-time demonstration teaching.
Lifelong learning and professionalism are key components of teaching. Education professionals in this course are oriented to the skills, understandings, strategies, and knowledge necessary to become successful learners while establishing the foundations for becoming professional educators, including knowledge of child development. Course instructors help education professionals become comfortable in the online learning environment, enabling them to clarify program expectations; create support networks and learning communities with colleagues and instructors; and establish a personal professional philosophy to promote social change. Upon completion of this course, education professionals demonstrate understanding of resources and expectations, initiate an electronic professional portfolio, and determine strategies for success as professional educators.
The dynamics of today’s classroom are unique and challenging for teachers and learners. Education professionals in this course explore and analyze issues, complexities, and responsibilities associated with the field of education in the 21st century, including providing equal educational opportunities for all learners, regardless of their differences. They come to understand that many factors influence learning, including individual experiences, talents, prior learning, language, culture, and family and community values. Additionally, education professionals gain an understanding of the Minnesota-based American Indian tribal government, history, language, and culture. They engage in discussions and reflections on issues of diversity through which they have the opportunity to articulate, defend, and/or challenge current issues. They also address learning theory, diverse learning styles, and practical instructional strategies, and they acquire theoretical and practical knowledge about today’s classroom as well as the family and community contexts that influence children’s learning and development.
To help ensure high levels of learning and achievement for all students, today’s educators must be knowledgeable about learners and learning and well-versed in effective teaching and assessment practices. In this course, education professionals examine the interrelationships between assessment, teaching, and learning as well as effective practices for applying and integrating these critical components in the P–12 classroom. They gain a historical perspective on the standards and accountability movement, and they examine standards in their state or local setting. They also explore learning theory in the context of today’s challenging educational goals and standards. Education professionals learn and apply research-based practices in effective assessment, curriculum design, and instruction. Through on-site and Virtual Field Experience (VFE®), they critically analyze and implement teaching and learning principles and practices that help ensure awareness of individual and collective needs of students.
Education professionals are helped to create safe, supportive, and respectful learning environments that promote social-emotional development, self-responsibility, and character to optimize learning for all students in this course. Education professionals learn how to foster a sense of community in the classroom and develop positive relationships with and among students. They explore age-appropriate skills and strategies for managing dynamic and flexible grouping structures and teaching conflict resolution. They also examine strategies for building positive relationships, fostering motivation, and engaging in effective communication and problem solving with parents and families. Education professionals apply course concepts through the development of a hands-on, age-appropriate learning activity to implement within a classroom field experience.
This seminar is an opportunity for education professionals to fine-tune their skills, strategies, and knowledge. They complete the requirements for their ePortfolio and determine strategies for success as professional educators. The seminar allows for problem solving among colleagues; group and individual reflective practice; and support and feedback for current events in demonstration teaching districts, schools, and classrooms. Education professionals engage in practical seminar topics, such as collaboration, ethics, professional development, and family and community engagement, to support their transition from the program of study into employment in the field as professional educators.
In this course, education professionals examine the historical and philosophical foundations of early childhood care and education while exploring a variety of early childhood programs, from child care centers to preschools and primary-grade classrooms. Through this exploration, education professionals acquire a range of professional insights and opportunities regarding effective practice. They use this course to continue the development of a reasoned, coherent philosophy of education as a basis for ethical and professional practice and decision making in diverse settings. They consider the importance in establishing developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive learning environments and maintaining effective partnerships with families. Education professionals also have the opportunity to review early childhood learning and developmental theory as well as the knowledge needed to support and enhance the development and learning of all children from birth through grade 3.
What constitutes high-quality care and education for infants and toddlers? Through this course, education professionals have the opportunity to answer this question as they examine developmentally appropriate practices that promote children’s total well-being and that guide development in each of the domains—physical, social, emotional, and cognitive/language. They also gain a practical overview of infant and toddler growth and development, and they explore a variety of related issues, such as health and safety, early mental health, brain development, creative development, respectful and responsive adult-child relationships, and family involvement. Through field experience and practical applications, education professionals learn to design and evaluate environments that enrich the development and learning of infants and toddlers.
Playtime for children is an opportunity for growth and discovery as well as a time to develop life skills and to learn about themselves and other children. Education professionals are offered an in-depth look at the development, learning, and play experiences of preschoolers in this course. Education professionals focus on developmentally appropriate theory, practices, and environments that enhance children’s development and learning in each of the domains—physical, social, emotional, and cognitive/language. They explore and discuss the integral roles of play and creativity in children’s learning; the role of observation as it relates to establishing a child-centered approach to planning curriculum and assessing young children; the promotion of pro-social, anti-bias learning communities; and the importance of being responsive to and inclusive of children’s family members. Through field experience, education professionals apply knowledge gained throughout the course to authentic contexts in which they demonstrate their growth and development as teaching professionals.
Education professionals in this course explore instructional and assessment strategies, including the best use of materials and technology, to develop children’s conceptual understanding of mathematics. They engage in coursework that emphasizes real-world problem solving and incorporates content and process standards of The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). They assess and apply the latest research on the most effective methods for teaching developmentally appropriate mathematics curriculum from preschool through grade 3. Applying course concepts, education professionals complete various field experience assignments, such as developing various lessons on computation, algebra, data analysis, and probability.
An important skill for early childhood educators is to recognize the benefits and work through the challenges of implementing an integrated approach to curriculum and instruction. In this course, education professionals focus on standards-based, data-driven, developmentally appropriate teaching, learning, and assessment within and across content areas in preschool through grade 3. They learn the importance of integrating literacy and mathematics in meaningful and relevant ways, and they engage in practical assignments that focus primarily on teaching in content areas of science, social studies, and the arts. Education professionals examine standards; apply effective methods and strategies to plan instruction, including approaches to meet diverse needs; and develop ideas for integrating multiple content areas.
Demonstration teaching is the culminating experience in the Teacher Preparation Program with an M.A.T.; it provides education professionals the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills and to demonstrate required competencies. Demonstration teaching occurs in two different classroom settings throughout the semester. During demonstration teaching, education professionals gradually assume complete teaching responsibility of the classroom, gaining real-world experience and the opportunity to translate theory into practice. The university supervisor and classroom cooperating teacher work closely with students and evaluate their performance.
An underlying theory in the field of education is that research can improve classroom practice. Education professionals in this course are provided with an introduction to the fundamentals of research. They examine contemporary educational research and develop knowledge and skills in applications of theoretical frameworks; quantitative, qualitative, and action research methodologies; development of research questions; and compliance with ethical responsibilities of the researcher. Education professionals also complete an initial review of literature relevant to an identified research question.
Education professionals in this applied research course expand their knowledge and skills through the use of tools and information gained in EDUC 6621 - Educational Research: Foundations, in the design of a timely and practical educational research project. They engage in a variety of activities, such as developing and refining research questions or needs assessments; determining appropriate research methodologies and instrumentation; collecting and analyzing data, if possible; evaluating validity; and presenting analysis and implications. In addition, education professionals link their research proposal to the social change mission of the university.
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