The Early Childhood Education Program has strong undergraduate and graduate components. Undergraduate child development majors and master's students receive a strong foundation in early childhood education theory and practice, augmented by opportunities to work in the Mills College Children's School, an important campus resource. Graduate students can choose to focus in early childhood development or early childhood administration and practice. The Early Childhood Program offers several other opportunities for students, including specializations in child life, a program that prepares professionals who care for children in hospitals and the chronically ill, and an interdisciplinary master's degree program in infant mental heath offered with the Psychology Department. Graduate students can receive a certification in early childhood special education or a multiple subjects credential with an early childhood emphasis, which prepares them to teach in K-6 classrooms with an emphasis on young children.
Early Childhood Education
Child Life in Hospitals
Early Childhood Special Education
Infant Mental Health
An integral part of the Early Childhood Education Program, the Mills College Children's School provides an on-campus laboratory school environment in which graduate students gain firsthand experience in teaching and research.
Please see Requirements and Deadlines for information about admissions guidelines and Requirements for information about course work required to complete this program.
Early Childhood Education
The master's degree in education with an emphasis in early childhood education provides graduate students with a strong foundation in early childhood education theory and practice with the opportunity to focus on one of two areas of specialization: early childhood development and teaching or early childhood administration and policy. These programs allow students to pursue a variety of interests within the field, including teaching, administration, public policy, research, and preparation for more advanced doctoral work. Graduates of this program teach in and administer child development programs, operate their own schools for young children, work with public and private agencies to establish and evaluate childcare or preschool programs, and teach in community colleges and adult education. Many graduates pursue doctoral degrees leading to research, writing, teaching, and other forms of professional leadership.
Students may also earn a multiple subjects credential with an early childhood emphasis. This program prepares students to teach in any self-contained K–12 classroom, but is aimed at those interested in teaching young children. The credential preparation work is completed in conjunction with the master’s degree in early childhood education or in child life. Information about the requirements for a multiple subjects credential may be found at Teachers for Tomorrow’s Schools.
For additional information see the Early Childhood Education and Infant Mental Health Graduate Programs Handbook.
Child Life in Hospitals (and Community Health Centers)
The master's degree in education with an emphasis in early child education and child life in hospitals prepares graduate students to work with children in hospitals or in community agencies providing services to children and families with medical needs. This program offers a unique focus within the Early Childhood Education Program for students who have special interests in chronically ill children. Students help children to play, make decisions, have a sense of autonomy, express feelings, interact socially, and understand their illness or disability in order to cope effectively. Graduates of this program are often professionally employed in hospitals, clinics, and community health settings. Many graduates also continue their graduate studies in doctoral programs in research writing, teaching, and other forms of professional leadership.
For additional information see the Child Life in Hospital Program Fieldwork Experience Handbook.
Early Childhood Special Education:
Master’s Degree and Specialist Credential
The master's degree in early childhood education combined with the specialist credential provides students with academic preparation and training for work with infants and young children with developmental disabilities and their families in early intervention and preschool special education settings. This specialist credential in early childhood special education enables early childhood teachers to work in preschool special education classrooms and/or in early intervention centers providing educational services to young children. If you are interested in adding an early childhood special education credential, see Early Childhood Special Education Credential Requirements.
For additional information see the Early Childhood Special Education Student Teaching Handbook.
The Mills College Children's School
The Mills College Children’s School—the oldest laboratory school for teacher preparation in the West—has a dual mission of preparing early childhood education professionals and providing quality education to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten-through-fifth-grade students.
Graduate students in the early childhood education programs have the unique opportunity to use the classrooms of the Children’s School for research and study under the guidance of experienced master teachers. The teachers and administrators of the school present workshops, classes, and scholarly research as part of the laboratory's role in expanding knowledge of learning and teaching.