Accelerate Your Success Through Competency-Based Education

tempo logoFew professions are as rewarding as those that nurture children’s developmental needs. Our non-licensure MS in Early Childhood Studies with a specialization in Administration, Management, and Leadership delivered through Tempo Learning™, our competency-based education option, will improve your ability to work with children in diverse environments so you can promote positive learning experiences for all children and will empower you to:

  • Deepen your understanding of child development and learning.
  • Expand your knowledge of effective programs and services.
  • Enhance your ability to link issues of equity and inclusion to how students learn and grow.

Tempo Learning™

The MS in Early Childhood Studies program delivered through Tempo Learning™ by Walden is a custom-paced, competency-based education option for working professionals, meaning that your progress is measured by the mastery or demonstration of skills, abilities, and knowledge in a particular area of study.

Each competency we include in your path to a degree has been carefully designed by expert faculty with input from employers, with your education and future employment in mind.

What are competencies?
Competencies are skills or knowledge that you learn to demonstrate through your education, each carefully constructed to support successful career building. Tempo Learning™ by Walden is a competency-based program, meaning that your progress is measured by mastering these competencies. Each competency included in your path to a degree has been carefully designed by expert faculty with input from employers, with your education and future employment in mind.

By passing rigorous assessments of real-world knowledge, you'll graduate with the confidence that you are prepared for success in your career.

Two Ways to Learn

Walden now offers two ways to learn. You can choose to earn your degree through a course-based format or a competency-based format, delivered through Tempo Learning™ by Walden.

With Tempo Learning, you can build on your existing skills, knowledge and experience to customize your learning and earn your degree on your schedule, at your pace. Which option is right for you?


Preset course start and end dates help you manage your schedule over time. Knowing these dates makes it easier to plan ahead in completing your program.

The course-based approach exposes you to new material as well as reinforces and updates your knowledge in areas you’ve already mastered.

Your fellow students will be learning the same material at the same time, so if you find yourself struggling, you can connect with them for additional support.

MS in Early Childhood Studies fixed costs graph


Complete competencies at your own pace, based on your ability to demonstrate understanding of their content. At the beginning of each term, you will map out your learning goals in partnership with your Academic Coach.

You can use what you already know to accelerate your progress, potentially saving you time and money.

If you find materials challenging, you can slow down and spend additional time with them. You can also raise your hand to get support directly from our Faculty Subject Matter Experts.

Tempo MS in Early Childhood Studies competency-based comparison graph

Compare highlights of the Tempo Learning™ and course-based formats to decide which best suits your career goals and learning style.

*Cost and time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress. For information on estimating your time to degree completion with Tempo Learning, call an enrollment advisor at 1-855-598-3427.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MS in Early Childhood Studies program will be prepared to:

  1. Demonstrate deep knowledge of child development, learning, and effective programs and practices.
  2. Critically examine issues, trends, and current research.
  3. Understand foundational theories of research and practice evidence-based research and decision making.
  4. Have deep knowledge of issues related to equity and inclusion; address inequities and advocate for social change.
  5. Be skillful communicators, team members, relationship builders, and collaborators with family members, colleagues, and agencies related to the field of early childhood.
  6. Be critical and self-reflective of their own values, beliefs, and biases and use this understanding to improve their own work

Through this self-paced online program for working professionals, you can learn and advance by completing a series of competencies on your own schedule. Tempo Learning lets you accomplish your education goals at your pace, with faculty available to assist you when you need help. Plus, your prior experience may help you advance as you demonstrate what you already know through competency assessments – which can save you time and money.


We’ve designed our competency-based MS in Early Childhood Studies program not only to help you succeed in your career as the field continues to grow—but also to make earning your degree more achievable. Spend less time covering information you’ve already mastered, and apply your new knowledge to make an immediate difference on the job.

  • Study With a Respected Institution
    Our MS in Early Childhood Studies is in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)–accredited institution. NCATE accreditation is a recognized standard of excellence in professional preK–12 education.
  • Set Your Price by Setting Your Pace
    Unlike traditional programs where time and cost are fixed, Tempo Learning™ allows you to access to your entire degree program at once. Subscribe for 3 months at a time and learn as much you want, based on what you already know. The faster you go, the less you pay.*
  • Advance Past What You Already Know
    The more experience you have, the better. Our competency-based assessments allow you to demonstrate what you know about real-life, work-applicable situations—and move on to the things you still need to learn.
  • Learn Relevant Skills and Apply Them Now
    Our students say that what they learn is immediately relevant in their jobs. That’s because the program reflects the contributions of industry and academic experts—along with the professional guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Along the way, you’ll:
    • Critically examine trends.
    • Apply research to relevant problems.
    • Learn to make better-informed decisions.
    • Improve your ability to work with children in diverse learning environments.
    • As you progress, you’ll also benefit from access to recognized experts in your field.
  • Develop Your Leadership Capabilities
    As you broaden your understanding of the field’s challenges and opportunities, you’ll become a stronger leader in early childhood education. You’ll find yourself better equipped than ever to assume roles that impact your profession.

The field of early childhood education is predicted to expand through the next decade as the demand for early childhood programs continues to grow.


Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

†Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–2015 Edition, on the Internet at

Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling.

For more information, please refer to

Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.

Prospective Washington state students are advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 1-360-725-6275 or to determine whether Walden’s programs in the field of education are approved for teacher certification or endorsements in Washington state. Additionally, teachers are advised to contact their individual school district as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tempo

Interested in Tempo Learning?

You can try it before you apply!

Screenshot of Tempo portal


Heidi McFadden

Heidi McFadden

MS in Early Childhood Studies - Tempo Learning Student
I like that if I was very knowledgeable about a certain topic, I could complete the competency more quickly, and if I needed to take my time on others, this was possible.
Walden’s instructors are there to assist in your education. You are never alone in your journey.
Walden is so much more than an online university; it is a university that cares about your success as a person.
Jeneva Davis MS in Early Childhood Studies Student (Tempo Learning)
Yvette Taylor MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate
Yvette Taylor
Seletha Tucker MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate / EdD Student
Seletha Tucker