Why Mills

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MA in Early Childhood Education

This program prepares our students to work as leaders in teaching or administration in early childhood settings, including preschools and child development programs.

In addition, the program prepares students to teach early childhood education topics in community colleges or adult education programs. Our students often continue their education to pursue research or doctoral degrees as well as other forms of professional leadership. The program provides a strong foundation in child development and in developmentally, culturally, and linguistically responsive practices. Students can choose from two areas of specialization: early childhood development and teaching, or early childhood administration and policy.

This two-year MA program can be combined with a multiple subject credential (for K–8 teaching) or an early childhood special education credential.

Distinctive Features

  • Mills College Children's School: Students have the opportunity to connect theory and practice by working in the Mills College laboratory school, where they are closely mentored by experienced and knowledgeable early childhood professionals.

  • Social justice and equity: Graduates leave the program inspired to use teaching and leadership to improve the lives of young children and families, deepen student learning, increase their own knowledge, transform schools, and increase educational equity.

  • Strength-based approach: The program teaches students to approach early childhood with an appreciation of the diverse resources that children and families bring to young children's education and care.

Course Work

Course work is designed to prepare students to teach in diverse settings, and integrates theory and practice. Course work is generally completed in two years. See the Requirements page for a list of courses required for this program; see the Course Descriptions page for paragraph-length descriptions of individual courses.


Students who enter directly into the MA program spend their first year student teaching in an infant-toddler or preschool classroom at the Mills College Children's School under the supervision of highly experienced head teachers. This student teaching experience is paired with a year-long course in which students reflect on their teaching practice. In the second year, students may participate in internships in a variety of early childhood organizations. Depending on the emphasis they choose, students might intern in local preschool programs as administrators, in national or local research organizations as research assistants, in community college classrooms as student teachers, or in local policy and advocacy organizations.

Those who enter the program after completing the Multiple Subject Credential Program spend at least one semester in an infant-toddler or preschool classroom at the Mills College Children's School and one semester either in an alternate educational setting for young children or in a public preschool classroom.

Career Opportunities

Students are prepared for teaching, intervention, administration, evaluation, public policy, research, and nonprofit and community leadership, and many further their studies with advanced degrees.


Last Updated: 9/27/13