Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

In the Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy specialization, you will critically review the latest research to understand the complex family, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child development and learning. Coursework covers topics such as child development, family partnerships, content knowledge, leadership, advocacy, social change, and professionalism. This program utilizes case studies and innovative technology, which provides you the opportunity to examine the quality of early childhood programs and policies, research and present strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children, and evaluate the leadership characteristics necessary to be an advocate in the field.

The individual dissertation process enables you to pursue original research in an effort to promote positive social change for young children, their families, and the early childhood field as a whole.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of this program, you will be prepared to:

  • Evaluate practices, programs, and policies in the areas of child development and learning.
  • Engage in effective leadership practices to advocate for positive outcomes for young children and families. 
  • Evaluate responsible assessment practices to support healthy development and positive learning outcomes for young children.
  • Demonstrate cultural responsiveness in interactions with children, families, community members, and early childhood professionals.
  • Integrate professional resources to inform solutions to problems in early childhood.
  • Synthesize a variety of perspectives to promote professional growth and positive social change in the early childhood field.
  • Design research to address educational problems and contribute to the profession.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct research that positively impacts social change.

Minimum Completion Requirements

  • 86 quarter credits
    • Foundations courses (5 cr.)
    • Specialized courses (30 cr.)
    • Doctoral support courses (11 cr.)
    • Research courses (20 cr.)
    • Doctoral capstone (minimum 20 cr.)
    • Doctoral Writing Assessment (0 cr.)
  • Four PhD residencies to equal a minimum of 16 units

Walden students have 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.

PhD vs EDD Early Childhood thumbnail graphic

Compare Walden’s Doctoral Education Programs

Walden offers both an EdD and PhD in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood to meet your career goals. View the chart to help you determine which program is right for you.

Course Sequence

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code EDPD 8002 Course Leading the Future of Education Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8080 Course Child Development in the Critical Early Years Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8081 Course The Language/Literacy Continuum From Birth Through Age 8 Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code RSCH 8110 Course Research Theory, Design, and Methods Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8082 Course Meaningful Learning Experiences in Supportive Environments Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8083 Course Evaluating and Leading Effective Early Childhood Programs Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8113 Course Tools for Doctoral Research Success Credits (3 cr.)
Course Code RSCH 8210 Course Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8084 Course Early Childhood Advocacy, Policy Development, and Positive Social Change Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8114 Course Demystifying Doctoral Writing for Research Credits (3 cr.)
Course Code RSCH 8310 Course Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8085 Course Early Childhood Research Methodology Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code EDPD 8910 Course Completing the Prospectus Credits (5 cr.)

Advanced Research Course

Choose one

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code RSCH 8260 Course Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code RSCH 8360 Course Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Course Code RSCH 8460 Course Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code DRWA 8000 Course Doctoral Writing Assessment Credits (0 cr.)

Dissertation

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code EDPD 8990 Course Completing the Dissertation Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)

You will be registered for two courses every 11 weeks, following the completion of your foundation course. Students who wish to reduce their course load during one or more terms should contact their academic advisor.

Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.
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