Elena Nitecki, Ph.D., Chair
The 39-credit Master of Science in Early Childhood Education, Birth – Grade 2, offered at Mercy College, leads to either initial or professional certification. Placement in the Initial or Advanced Teacher program is determined by a candidate’s undergraduate preparation and teaching experience. Pre-practice candidates will pursue a course of study leading to degree conferral and initial New York State certification. The Advanced Teacher program is open to teacher education candidates who are currently working as teachers of record in classrooms in private, parochial or charter schools, and are seeking both a graduate degree and initial certification. A minimum of one year of teaching experience as the teacher of record is required. Candidates who do not yet have appropriate experience at both the lower and upper grade levels covered by their prospective certification areas(s) will be required to fulfill this requirement during this program. This requirement will be fulfilled by completing 20 days of supervised student teaching in each area of certification(s) they are seeking, and do not already have appropriate experience. Professional candidates must also have completed three years of teaching in the area of the certificate to qualify for the professional certificate.
Qualified applicants in either the Initial or the Advanced Teacher program may earn as many as three certifications while pursuing the degree in Early Childhood Education Birth–Grade 2. Students complete the required courses for degree conferral and the additional courses specific to the Childhood Education and/or Students with Disabilities certification(s). Students pursuing additional certificate(s) will be required to complete additional student teaching and field experiences.
Degree-seeking candidates in all Early Childhood Education programs must successfully complete the education capstone requirement specific to the Early Childhood degree prior to degree conferral.
Degree candidates seeking initial certification will complete a capstone project and submit the edTPA in the clinical practice course. Degree candidates seeking either initial or professional certification in the Advanced Teacher program in Early Childhood Education will register for the capstone course, complete an action research project, and may need to complete additional student teaching as indicated above depending on their teaching experience.
Early Childhood Program Goals
- Candidates will understand, explain, analyze, and apply major theories and philosophies that address physical, affective and cognitive development during the critical early childhood years.
- Candidates will create high-quality, meaningful learning opportunities that are based on competencies and content knowledge, utilize developmental knowledge, employ formal and informal assessment strategies and incorporate collaboration with all aspects of the broad school community to facilitate developmental processes and encourage growth to a child’s maximum potential.
- Candidates will become reflective practitioners who continually reflect on their practice and actively pursue opportunities for professional growth.