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Lead Transformative Change in Early Childhood Administration and Management

Do you want to increase your impact as an early childhood educator and gain the skills to run your own program? With Walden’s MS in Early Childhood Studies program with an Early Childhood Administration, Management, and Leadership specialization, you can do both.

In this path of study, you’ll gain deeper insight into what young children need in order to thrive. You’ll also master best practices for creating a welcoming, nurturing environment that instills confidence in families. Gain the practical tools to plan, resource, and guide an early childhood program and become the strong and capable leader you know you can be.

Coursework in this program is aligned with professional guidelines established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

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The Tempo Learning degree completion option1 is ideal for busy working professionals like you. Your progress is measured by the mastery or demonstration of skills, abilities, and knowledge in a particular area of expertise (AoE).

Each competency has been carefully designed by expert faculty with input from employers, with your education and future employment in mind.

Degree Completion Requirements

  • 33 semester credits
    • Core courses (21 sem. cr.)
    • Specialization courses (9 sem. cr.)
    • Capstone Seminar (Capstone (3 sem. cr.)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 1-866-492-5336.


Course Code Title Credits
EDUC 6160

Early Childhood Development

Education professionals in this course critically examine typical and atypical physical, cognitive/language, and social and emotional development. They examine the powerful and important influence of cultural and linguistic diversity on the development of children from the prenatal stage through age 8. They also examine new findings related to the factors that foster and impede healthy development and learning, and they explore how adults can support healthy development. Additionally, education professionals have the opportunity to observe children in a variety of settings to gain practical insight on the developing child in the real world.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6164

Perspectives on Diversity and Equity

Understanding and respecting the diversity and individuality of every child and family is central to effective practice and at the heart of the early childhood field. Education professionals in this course examine family cultures and their impact on children and programs, and they investigate issues related to access, equity, and social justice. Through assignments designed to provide practical application of content, they also work toward developing an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of diversity, scrutinizing their own biases to effectively work with and advocate for all children and families.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6165

Communicating and Collaborating in the Early Childhood Field

Professionals in the field of early childhood education must engage often with other colleagues, families, agencies, and government officials; therefore, communication and collaboration skills are essential to effective and productive work in the field. Education professionals in this course explore the use of tools and strategies to collaborate with others, such as building relationships, teaming, negotiating, problem-solving, resolving conflicts, and building consensus. They engage in coursework that emphasizes effective practices for working with diverse families, collaboration with colleagues to improve programs and services for children and families, and communication skills needed to advocate and work effectively with agencies and government officials. Through this course, education professionals learn and practice techniques essential to effective one-on-one interactions and group work while deepening their understanding of how cultural responsiveness influences successful communication and collaboration.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6005

Foundations: Early Childhood Studies

In this course, education professionals focus on leadership and professionalism in the early childhood field; analysis of current research; ethical considerations; and multiple theories of child development, teaching, and learning. Education professionals are introduced to the foundation of evidence-based research and decision making, which is interwoven throughout the program. Education professionals also build understanding of the philosophy, requirements, and community of Walden University, the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, and the MS in Early Childhood Studies program.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6162

Issues and Trends in the Early Childhood Field

Leaders in the early childhood field must have in-depth understanding of the critical issues and trends affecting young children, their families, and the field. Education professionals in this course explore changing demographics; political and economic influence on programmatic funding streams; current debates related to school success, effective assessment and the achievement gap; and brain research influence on early development, care, and education from a historical and current perspective. Sharing perspectives and making connections with the professional world, educational professionals post blogs to establish contacts with early childhood professionals; reach out to international contacts in the field to gain an understanding of poverty issues in different regions, issues related to excellence at the forefront of professional discussions, and insights on further development opportunities; and share web resources, such as websites and e-newsletters. 

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6161

Effective Programs and Practices

Researchers indicate that long-term benefits from early childhood programs result only when the programs are of high quality. In this course, education professionals explore the components essential to program effectiveness, including planning for, improving, and evaluating program quality. They learn research-based, effective practices for promoting learning and development across developmental domains and subject matter areas in children from birth through age 8. Education professionals transfer new knowledge and skills to an authentic context through practical assignments, such as reflective blog posts and real-world observations of professionals in the field.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6163

Building Research Competencies

Nearly all professionals benefit from the ability to understand, evaluate, and use research effectively. In this course, education professionals prepare to be knowledgeable consumers of research, understand the language of research, and apply research and inquiry skills to the early childhood field. They engage in a variety of conceptual and application-based assignments focused on building skills in analyzing trends, critically assessing emerging knowledge, and using a variety of tools to access and evaluate research. They also have the opportunity to practice and apply course concepts and theories through research on early childhood research topics of personal or professional interest.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6166

Developing People and Leading Teams

The success of any manager is largely dependent on the leadership they provide their staff. Students in this course explore the roles and responsibilities of directors and/or administrators in effectively managing individuals and leading teams for early childhood programs. Education professionals in this course focus on staff recruitment, evaluation, and development, and they identify the skills and knowledge required to create positive environments and achieve individual and organizational goals. In this course, the educator will be challenged to consider the ethical, legal, and cultural implications of working with a diverse staff, with emphasis given to the importance of effective communication in maintaining productive relationships.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6167

Budgeting and Allocating Resources

Administrators of early childhood programs must be able to effectively budget and allocate resources. Education professionals in this course explore the role of the administrator in budgeting and handling resource allocation for early childhood programs. They examine processes for effectively managing budgets and explore strategies designed to help them understand and communicate budgets to stakeholders. Education professionals also explore the various sources of funding and plan a budget for an early childhood education program.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6168

Planning and Managing Early Childhood Programs

Effective early childhood directors/administrators are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating programs to ensure quality experiences for the children and families they serve. In this course, effective administrators focus on the wide range of roles in which they must excel, including developing and maintaining the program's mission and vision, understanding regulatory and accreditation requirements, marketing, and providing all children proper nutrition and safety while in their care. Education professionals in this course also examine the importance of engaging in meaningful communication with parents, families, and communities.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6990

Capstone: Practical Application in the Early Childhood Field

Through the master's capstone experience, education professionals are provided an opportunity to integrate and apply learning to real-world situations, issues, or problems. Education professionals choose a field project, issue, or problem related to their specialization that is of sufficient scope to enable them to apply theories, concepts, and practices from across their prior coursework.


  • All other courses

(3 sem. cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Progress at Your Pace. Control Your Cost.

Walden’s Tempo Learning® programs follow a subscription-based pricing format. Students are billed a flat-rate for each 3-month subscription term. All pricing is represented in U.S. dollars and is subject to change.

Program Subscription Period Tuition Subscription Period Technology Fee Subscription Period Time Frame
MS in Early Childhood Studies $2,250 $75 3-month subscription period


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.

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Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General 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.

Master the Mechanics of Teaching and Learning

In Walden’s master’s in early childhood education program, you’ll explore how children’s brains develop and how early experiences affect learning and social emotional development. Gain strategies to advocate for the infusion of play and creativity into early childhood teaching and learning. Apply your skills in field experiences in varied areas of expertise, from infants and toddlers to children in grades P–3.

Learning Outcomes

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



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