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M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education

Welcome to the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education Website at Rhode Island College. We appreciate your interest in our program. Please enjoy browsing though our website. We hope that it provides you with helpful information about our program. We look forward to hearing from you and answering your further questions. We accept applications throughout the year on a rolling admissions basis.

Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz
(401) 456-8250

Program Overview

The M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education prepares early childhood educators for leadership positions in the field. The program emphasizes an understanding and commitment to the importance of the early years from birth to age 8. Children's optimal development and learning is strongly advocated for, as well as, the role of research as critical to a strong knowledge of theory and practice. Cultural competence is intrinsic to the program. Each child/learner is considered and respected as a unique individual who is a member of a group from a unique family configuration that is embedded in a unique social/cultural context. The program embraces professional dispositions, values, and professional ethics that encompass reflective practitioners who value life-long learning, technological competency, collaboration, professionalism, and excellence through equity, diversity, and social advocacy in the field of early childhood education.

Within the M.Ed. program, teaching and learning includes the preparation of meaningful curriculum that connects with children and families. Meaningful curriculum uses developmentally effective approaches, understands content knowledge in early education, and promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for all children through reflective practice, pedagogy, knowledge, diversity, assessment, and professionalism. Families are valued as partners in the educational process. Collaborative community, school, and family relationships and interrelationships are highly valued and viewed as integral parts of the learning process. Ethical guidelines and professional standards provide a framework for practice. Advocacy for young children and their families, early care and education programs, educational policies and practices is a valued goal for all early childhood education professionals and leaders within the program.

The Rhode Island College Early Childhood Education Program is committed to preparing early childhood professionals and leaders who value knowledge, research, and learning with ethical principles and professionalism. A respect for diversity and collaboration with others are nurtured and supported. Democracy, social justice, and equity for all are valued. The program promotes excellence for all learners, students, and families with full access to learning and knowledge within a context of cultural and linguistic diversity, anti-bias education, and cultural competence. Constructivist pedagogy, reflective practice, and professionalism are highly valued. For early childhood education professionals and leaders, a deep understanding of how children grow, develop, and learn includes knowledge of learning as a developmental process within a constructivist framework of hands-on learning and respect for the diversity of every child's culture, learning styles, and language.

The M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education offers graduate courses using the latest technology of Blackboard 9. In order to meet the needs of graduate students, hybrid (50% online) and online (at least 80% online) courses are offered with the possibility of Distance Courses (entirely online) being offered in the future based upon the needs of students. For the convenience of graduate students, on campus course meetings are generally held between 4:00 and 7:00 PM.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development master's-level programs is determined by the quality of the total application. Applicants must submit the materials listed below to the associate dean of graduate studies as a measure of their potential for success in graduate-level studies. The teaching certification requirement may be waived under special circumstances and with special considerations.

  1. A completed application form accompanied by a fifty-dollar nonrefundable application fee. Graduate applications are available online at:
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate records.
  3. A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in all undergraduate course work. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs less than 3.00 may be admitted to degree candidacy upon submission of other evidence of academic potential.
  4. A teaching certificate (for all school-related programs, except school psychology).
  5. An official report of scores on the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test, except C.G.S. candidates and C.A.G.S. in mental health counseling candidates.
  6. Three Candidate Reference Forms accompanied by three Letters of Recommendation.
  7. A Professional Goals Essay.
  8. A Performance-Based Evaluation.
  9. Teacher certification in elementary education, early childhood education, or an appropriate field.
  10. An interview may be required.

Course Requirements

Click here for course details.

Requirements for Early Childhood Education Certificate

Approved Early Childhood Courses in the M.Ed. Program

  • Child Growth and Development - ECED 505, Early Childhood Education and Development Issues
  • Curriculum and Methods in Early Childhood Education - ECED 502, Curriculum, Developmental Play, and Programs
  • Reading Readiness and Developmental Reading - ECED 509, Emergent Literacy - Infants through Grade Two
  • Health and Nutrition for the Young Child - ECED 503 Infants and Toddlers in Early Care and Education Programs
  • Child, Family, and Community Relationships - ECED 512 Working with Families: Building Home-School Partnerships

Applicants who have not completed an approved program can be certified by transcript analysis by presenting evidence of six (6) semester hours of student teaching (SEE NOTE TWO) in the early childhood grades and not less than twenty-four semester hours of course work to include work in each of the following areas; Child Growth and Development, Curriculum and Methods in Early Childhood Education, Reading Readiness and Developmental Reading, Health and Nutrition for the Young Child; Child, Family, and Community Relationships; and Identification of and Service to Special Needs Children.

NOTE TWO (2): The student teaching requirement may be waived for an applicant who has had two or more documented years of successful teaching experience in an approved early childhood setting. Certified teachers who have had two or more years of teaching experience and who seek early childhood certification may fulfill the student teaching requirement by completing a one-year supervised internship at the early childhood level. After completing the necessary course work for the early childhood certificate, and arranging through the local community for a one-year internship, the Superintendent of Schools may request the issuance of a one-year professional certificate. The Department of Education must approve the internship in advance and the supervisor must have at least 3 years of teaching experience. Upon successful completion of the internship, the individual will be issued a five (5) year professional certificate.

Outside Link Early Childhood Certificate by Transcript Review effective January 2012 until December 31, 2014

Adobe PDFRequirements for an Early Childhood Certificate retrieved on 1/5/11 from Outside Link

For further information about the Early Childhood Certificate, please visit the RIDE website:
Adobe PDF Year Transitional Certification Requirements/Early Childhood 2010.pdf

and the RIDE Office of Educator Quality and Certification at:
Outside Link

**Please Note: RIDE implemented new certification regulations on January 1, 2012. Please be informed of the new regulations and changes on the RIDE website. Certification by transcript review ended on January 1, 2015. It was replaced with the Credential Review Pathway. Further information can be found at the following websites:  and Outside Link

Advanced Preparation and Learning

This program prepares early childhood educators for leadership positions in the field.  With emphasis on birth to age 8, the program explores specializations in curriculum development, infant-toddler development, program administration, early literacy and early intervention. The M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education offers an accessible, affordable, and high quality advanced education program in Rhode Island.

Program Goals

The goal of promoting children's optimal development and learning is the foundation for the program. Graduate candidates gain a deep understanding of learning as a developmental process within a constructivist framework of hands-on learning.

The program embraces NAEYC professional dispositions, standards, values and ethics, and focuses on learning in cultural competence, research, and advocacy.

Career Possibilities

Possible career options with a Early Childhood Education  include leadership positions in early education care and education programs, college teaching and training, early childhood curriculum specialists and trainers, advocacy positions, early childhood/ early intervention positions, and early childhood teaching in public and private schools


For information about applications, please see the Admission Requirements for the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development Graduate School.

Financial Aid

For information about financial aid, please see the RIC Financial Aid website.

Please contact me at (401)456-8250 or to set up an appointment to discuss the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education at Rhode Island College. I look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,
Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz, Ed.D.
Graduate Coordinator of the M.Ed

Credential Review Pathway

Thank you for your interest in Rhode Island College’s Credential Review Pathway (CRP).

The Credential Review Pathway is one of the pathways for individuals seeking to re-issue their Expert Residency Preliminary Certificate, to add another certification, or renew a certificate that is more than five years expired.

If you can document the following pre-requisites, you are qualified for the RIC Credential Review Pathway:

RIC CRP allows prospective and current educators with a bachelor's degree, academic excellence (minimum GPA of 3.0), and “extensive teaching experience” in the desired certification area to achieve certification by working with Rhode Island College's Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. “Extensive teaching experience” is a full semester of supervised student teaching in the desired certification area (if you are recent graduate) or 270+ days of full-time desired professional teaching or 270+ days of full-time daily or long-term substitute teaching in the desired certification area. Work experience as a teacher assistant does not count. You need to be fully in charge of the class.

To determine whether RIC CRP is the best pathway for you to achieve the desired certification, click on this hyperlink to a Google Form (Survey) called “RIC CRP Potential Application Overview​.”

We will email our recommendation of the best pathway shortly after receiving the survey response – within a week. If you are recommended for RIC CRP as a pathway to certification, we will send you a URL to the FULL online application (different from the “RIC CRP Potential Application Overview”). The process of assessing the FULL online application with documentation can take up to 14 weeks after we receive a completed FULL online application and $150 application fee.

RIC CRP receives FULL online applications with documentation throughout the year. The process of assessing the online application with documentation can take up to 14 weeks after the date the online application is fully completed and the $150 fee has been received.

Faculty RIC CRP assessors are not expected to assess applications during the summer (May 15 - late August). Applications submitted between April 15 - June 3 will not be assessed until September 8. If you are applying for the re-issuance of an expert residency preliminary certificate (emergency certificate) and are required by RIDE to submit a CRP Status Form and Plan of Study as evidence of enrollment, we advise that you submit your CRP application materials and $150 fee no later than February 6 to prepare for the August 31 deadline. The Status Form and Plan of Study should be assessed by May 15.

For more information, email Dr. Christine Kunkel, Liaison, RIC CRP at​​​​​​​​

Page last updated: April 08, 2021