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Become an Early Childhood Education Specialist

Positive, meaningful learning experiences are a vital part of child development from birth through age 8. Play a pivotal role in healthy growth—as an influential educator and advocate for young children—with an Education Specialist (EdS) in Early Childhood Education degree from Walden.

An early childhood education specialist degree empowers educators to improve the policies, programs, practices, and systems that affect the lives of young children. This non-licensure program is ideal for teachers, community college instructors, curriculum specialists, and early childhood support services professionals who are ready to make a positive and lasting impact on children’s lives.

Gain Actionable Tools

Develop skills you can use in various settings, such as program design, instruction, policy implementation, and family education.

Build Your Confidence

In the capstone, work with an early education provider to identify a challenge, make recommendations, and create an action plan.

Expand Your Options

Open a path to more than one future with research and leadership skills that can serve you both professionally and academically.

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Curriculum

Completion Requirements

  • 45 quarter credits*

Education Specialist candidates must have access to a school or learning environment that has early childhood education programming.

*Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Time to degree completion assumes it takes two years and three months to complete the nine courses.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits

Choose either EDSD 7002 or 7006 (6-week version)

EDSD 7002

Leading the Future of Education

As an advanced graduate student, you are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life. This practical course provides meaningful skills you will need to select your path, complete your degree, and become a successful leader of educational change in the 21st century. Networking and research skills, scholarly writing, critical thinking, use of Walden resources, and the three advanced graduate paths (e.g., PhD, EdD, EdS)—this course addresses all of these in a manner that provides a solid foundation of skill sets upon which to base your journey. You will find a balance of assignments (e.g., case studies, discussions, application assignments) that will ignite your passion for learning, allow you to collaborate with others, and guide your current and future work. This course is designed to reflect Walden's social change mission and provide you with meaningful tools for success as an advanced graduate student.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7006

Leading the Future of Education

As an advanced graduate student, you are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life. This practical course provides meaningful skills you will need to select your path, complete your degree, and become a successful leader of educational change in the 21st century. Networking and research skills, scholarly writing, critical thinking, use of Walden resources, and the three advanced graduate paths (e.g., PhD, EdD, EdS)—this course addresses all of these in a manner that provides a solid foundation of skill sets upon which to base your journey. You will find a balance of assignments (e.g., case studies, discussions, application assignments) that will ignite your passion for learning, allow you to collaborate with others, and guide your current and future work. This course is designed to reflect Walden's social change mission and provide you with meaningful tools for success as an advanced graduate student.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7080

Child Development in the Critical Early Years

Effective early childhood professionals know that respectful relationships with families provide the foundation for supporting young children's healthy development. Candidates examine key developmental stages, from prenatal experiences to the early school years. Education professionals explore child development theory, current research in neuroscience, and social-emotional development across the early childhood years, with a special emphasis on the significant role families play in fostering healthy development. Current thinking from the fields of psychology, science, and education are integrated with global perspectives on child development. Educators apply their knowledge to promote positive developmental outcomes for young children and their families. 

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7081

The Language/Literacy Continuum From Birth Through Age 8

How does language affect the young child's ability to think, communicate, and learn? In this course, educators explore the language and linguistic development of young children. Education professionals focus on theories of language acquisition; the nature and function of language; the relationship between language and cognition; the developmental stages of language and literacy; and the critical role of families, communities, and educators in fostering language and literacy development from birth through age 8. Education professionals examine current research and ways early childhood professionals can support language and literacy learning for all children across the early childhood spectrum. 

(5 cr.)
RSCH 7110

Research Theory, Design, and Methods

Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the doctoral level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the importance of theory in research, and research processes. The course also introduces students to the quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research designs and methods. Students devote special attention to understanding the ethical and social change implications of conducting research and engaging in scholarship. They apply their knowledge and skills by developing elements of simple research plans for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7082

Meaningful Learning Experiences in Supportive Environments

What does excellence look like in early childhood settings? What are varying perspectives on excellence in early childhood education throughout the world? What are the common elements of learning experiences and environments that provide meaning, inspire curiosity, offer safety, and encourage children to thrive? By examining the research, candidates explore current issues and trends in early childhood education such as the inclusion of national standards, project-based learning, looping, technology, and the role of play in fostering healthy development and learning. Education professionals also explore the role of families in supporting children's learning at home and in early childhood settings as well as how to build effective partnerships with families. 

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7083

Assessment Practices to Promote Healthy Development and Learning

How can early childhood professionals ensure that assessment not only evaluates development and learning but also promotes children's growth? What kinds of assessments are appropriate and effective for very young children as well as those throughout the primary grades? Educators explore formative, summative, formal, and informal assessment as well as the use of these assessments to promote development and guide teaching and learning. Education professionals reflect on the many ways they use assessment on a daily basis, and discuss strategies for communicating assessment processes and results. Educators review current research regarding culturally responsive assessments, assistive technology, and international perspectives. 

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7084

Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Programs

Researchers indicate that high-quality early childhood programs result in long-term positive outcomes for children. Early childhood professionals have a deep understanding of the developmental domains and content areas of early childhood. Based on this understanding, educators use professional accreditation standards to evaluate the effectiveness of early childhood programs. Professionals learn how to evaluate programs for research-based, effective practices that promote healthy development and learning from birth through age 8. Specific focus is placed on effective practice related to management policies and procedures, teacher qualifications, family engagement, and community involvement.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7085

Inspired Leadership, Informed Advocacy, and Improved Policy

What are the dispositions and responsibilities needed to be an effective professional in the early childhood field? Early childhood leaders exemplify the values and ethics of the field, act as advocates for children and families, and lead initiatives to improve policy and effect positive social change. In this course, education professionals study leadership theory, advocacy strategies, and early childhood policy systems. Educators explore multiple leadership roles in the early childhood field, analyze leadership qualities and traits, reflect on professional growth, and continue to refine research interests. Educators are challenged to be innovative and transformative future thinkers who are deeply committed to the well-being of young children and families.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7900

EdS Capstone Project: Creating and Supporting Effective Educational Practices

Effective education leaders promote meaningful change for all students, foster the use of effective practices, and sustain long-term program viability in diverse educational settings. Throughout the program course sequence, educators examine critical components to create and support continuous improvement. These skill sets are applied in this capstone course as educators create a project that promotes meaningful education and social change. Working in a consultative role as a school or district professional, the educator engages in a project to identify a problem within his or her academic and/or work environment and propose a solution in the form of draft recommendations for the school, district, or educational setting. Additionally, the educator projects how the proposed recommendations, if implemented, would be evaluated and sustained. A Capstone Project Rubric is used to guide in project development and evaluation.

(5 cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition 45 total quarter credit hours $615 per semester hour $27,675
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $1,440


TOTAL $29,115


Transfer up to 22 credits $14,170


Total with Maximum Transfer Credits† $14,945

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply.

More information for international applicants.


Lead the Way Toward Better Learning Outcomes 

In our early childhood education non-licensure program, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the complex family, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child growth and learning. Learn what it takes to build programs and experiences that foster positive outcomes for diverse populations of children. Examine techniques for evaluating program effectiveness so that they can be continually improved.

Meet Your Academic Team

  • Martha Cheney

    Program Director

    Dr. Cheney began her career as a writer in educational publishing and has taught preschool and primary school students. She serves as a Specialty Professional Associations (SPA) program reviewer for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

    Read Martha's Bio
  • Jerita Whaley

    Academic Coordinator

    Dr. Whaley’s formal training is in reading, literacy, and educational leadership, and she has served in various roles in those areas during a career of more than 50 years. Her research interests focus primarily on teacher efficacy and effective teacher professional development.

    Read Jerita's Bio
  • Maryanne Longo

    Maryanne Longo

    Senior Faculty

    Dr. Longo is an early childhood lead faculty and senior contributing faculty member at Walden. She retired from the School District of Philadelphia after 35 years of instructional and administrative responsibilities.

    Read Maryanne's Bio

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of Walden’s EdS in Early Childhood Education program, you will be prepared to:

  • Apply research-based skills in the areas of child development and learning to evaluate practices and policies.
  • Apply effective leadership practices, including collaboration and advocacy, to promote positive outcomes for young children and families.
  • Apply responsible assessment practices to support healthy development and positive learning outcomes for young children.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural responsiveness in interactions with children, families, community members, and early childhood professionals.
  • Integrate professional resources, including technology, to create effective solutions to authentic problems in the early childhood field.
  • Apply a variety of perspectives that are knowledgeable, reflective, and critical to promote professional growth and positive social change in the early childhood field.
  • Design a scholarly response to address an early childhood education problem and contribute to the profession.

Career Outlook

A child’s early years lay the foundation for lifelong learning, success, and well-being. Help more children get off to a strong start in the world with an early childhood education specialist degree from Walden.

An early childhood education specialist degree can position you as an expert and leader within your school, district, or organization. Open the door to new professional roles and responsibilities. Earn a valuable academic credential, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn an EdD or PhD in Education—and transfer seamlessly into a doctorate program later if you choose to.

Walden’s Riley College of Education and Leadership has nearly

60,000

alumni.1

An EdS in Early Childhood Education can position you to pursue career options such as:2

  • Early childhood educator (non-licensure)
  • Early childhood leader/administrator (non-licensure)
  • Faculty, higher education
  • Child and family services professional

An EdS in Early Childhood Education can position you to work in settings such as:

  • Early childhood care and education centers
  • Community colleges
  • Private schools
  • Government and nongovernmental organizations

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

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