Early Childhood Teacher (Preschool-3) Certificate

Program Overview

The graduate-level Early Childhood Teacher Certification Program is designed for college graduates seeking initial certification as a preschool-grade 3 teacher. This is a streamlined, rigorous, and sequential program of professional studies that combines the best of theory, research, and practice. It is designed for part-time students who take one or two late afternoon/evening courses per semester. The teaching internship (student teaching) at the end of the program requires full-time enrollment for one semester. The program is state approved.

The course work in this program counts toward completion of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Curriculum Overview

This is a 24 credit program requiring five courses taken in late afternoons/evenings followed by a full semester of full-time student teaching in a host school in the region. 

Certificate Offered

  • Early Childhood Teacher (Preschool-3) Certificate

Contact

Kathleen M. Pierce, Ph.D.
Professor of Graduate Education
Memorial Hall 202
609-895-5478
kpierce@rider.edu

Program Website: Early Childhood Certificate
Associated Department: Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling

Related Programs

Early Childhood Education (P-Grade 3) Certificate Requirements

CURR 700Educational Foundations for Inclusive Practices3
ECED 532Issues and Challenges in Early Childhood Education3
CURR 702Early Literacy Teaching and Learning3
or ECED 507 Emergent Literacy
ECED 550Development Methods and Assessment in Early Childhood Education3
CURR 710Elementary Mathematics Teaching and Learning3
CURR 770Clinical Experience and Seminar in Teaching3-9
or CURR 771 Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching
Total Credits18-24

Additional requirements for completion

  • Completion of all courses before the clinical experience (student teaching) with a “C+” or better in each course and with a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Completion of CURR 770 or CURR 771 with a “C+” grade or better.

Courses and Descriptions

CURR 700 Educational Foundations for Inclusive Practices 3 Credits

This course provides psychological and interdisciplinary perspectives on teaching and learning. Within the theme of optimal development of creative intelligence, and in concordance with important NJ and national professional standards, candidates will use these perspectives to begin their career-long processes of reflective professional development. More specifically, the course develops knowledge, skills, and dispositions pertinent to (a) child and adolescent development, (b) learning theories, (c) learner diversity, (d) classroom management, (e) career readiness skills, (f) philosophical and historical perspectives on education, (g) sociocontextual and interdisciplinary influences on education, and (h) higher-order, creative and critical thinking. The emphases on student development and learner diversity entail in-depth investigation of the following subtopics: the philosophical, legal, and historical foundations of special education; the characteristics of students with disabilities and learning strengths; inclusive practices; professional partnerships for support of diverse learners; and strategies for modification of curriculum content and materials aligned to NJ Student Learning Standards, learning environments and processes, and learning products for students with disabilities and strengths.

CURR 702 Early Literacy Development for Diverse Learners 3 Credits

This course addresses current strategies for teaching beginning learners’ vocabulary, comprehension, composition, and language study. It addresses strategies for the development of literacy for all learners ranging from the gifted and talented to those with learning disabilities or other special needs. The course develops proficiency with the management of literacy instruction for content areas in general education in preschool and primary grades and planning aligns with NJ Student Learning Standards. It provides candidates with the pedagogical literacy proficiency necessary for the development of their students’ career readiness skills (employability skills, employment readiness through enhanced literacy capacities). Field experiences include observation and interaction in classes focusing on literacy instruction in inclusive classrooms.

CURR 710 Math Methods for the Inclusive Elementary Classroom 3 Credits

This course introduces candidates to effective mathematics instruction based on learning trajectories of diverse learners in preschool and elementary classrooms. In alignment with NAEYC and NCTM and NJ Student Learning standards, emphasis is placed on planning and implementing an inquiry-based approach with hands-on experiences, use of technology, and traditional and non-traditional assessment strategies. Students also explore positive models of classroom management and environment design to support diverse learning needs. The course provides candidates with the pedagogical proficiency necessary for the development of the mathematical dimensions of their students’ career readiness skills. Field experiences consist of classroom observations with instructional analysis and assessment of children’s mathematical thinking.

CURR 770 Clinical Experience and Seminar in Teaching 9 Credits

This course, designed for those seeking initial certification, requires full-time supervised daily participation in a school setting with diverse students including students with disabilities. The candidate gradually assumes a full load of teaching responsibility. These experiences test and strengthen the translation of educational theory and research into meaningful practice. An on-campus or site-based seminar accompanies the clinical experience. Seminars emphasize reflective development toward professionalism through sharing and analyses of experiences, and in-depth reports on teaching learners with disabilities and instructional modifications employed to meet their needs. Additional analyses of student learning and reflective assignments require candidates to connect their clinical experiences with content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge from prior course work. The clinical experience is augmented with a series of additional seminars, which include the following: introductory/orientation seminars prior to the beginning of the semester; strategies for designing inclusive education practices and positive behavioral supports, assistive technology for diverse learners, transition planning, and agencies available for students with disabilities; classroom management strategies; awareness of methods for strengthening student achievement and career readiness, panel sessions with veteran teachers who graduated from this program; panel sessions with principals and superintendents who provide advice about long-term professional development; interviews with special education teachers who provide advice about meeting the needs of students with disabilities; and wrap-up reflective sessions at the conclusion of the semester.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 704, CURR 705, CURR 706, CURR 707, CURR 715 and (BSED 530 or ECED 550) or Permission of instructor.

CURR 771 Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching 3 Credits

This practicum is a condensed version of the Internship in Teaching. It is available only to interns seeking teacher certification who already have a year of successful, full-time teaching experience or its equivalent. A special application must be made and approved for enrollment in the course. The practicum requires six weeks of full-time, supervised daily participation in a school setting. After a brief period of orientation to the school and classroom, the intern assumes a full load of teaching responsibility at the school. The experience finetunes the teaching abilities of interns and enables them to demonstrate competence in the specialty for which they seek certification.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 704, CURR 705, CURR 706, CURR 707, CURR 715 and (BSED 530 or ECED 550) or Permission of instructor.

ECED 507 Emergent Literacy 3 Credits

Examines perspectives on literacy acquisition including the social-constructivist perspective. Examines the processes of comprehension and composition through the language systems for written language: the grapho-phonic, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic. Explores the components of these processes including concepts of print, knowledge of the alphabet, phonological awareness, language play, literary genres, spelling development, vocabulary development, and word recognition.

ECED 532 Families, Community, and Diversity in Early Childhood Education 3 Credits

This course addresses the role of parents of young children within the context of school, home and society, as well as the influence of culture, traditions and current issues in early childhood education. Students will explore the efficacy of parenting techniques and behaviors on child development in the early years, including cognitive growth, emotional and social well-being and physical health. Students will investigate strategies for fostering home-school partnerships that enhance child development and educational success, as well as the influence of community, culture and socio-economic status on families and schools throughout our world. In addition, this course addresses current issues and challenges in the early childhood profession including inclusion of children with special needs, advocacy for quality care and education for all young children, and any other subject that might arise - either from the lives of children and families, teachers’ professional development, or community agencies. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required.

Prerequisite(s): EDU 106 and EDU 206.

ECED 550 Development Methods and Assessment in Early Childhood Education 3 Credits

The focus of this course is developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive curriculum and teaching P-3 settings as delineated in the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Students will learn how to make curriculum and teaching decisions based on knowledge of child development, content area, curriculum content standards, and home and community cultures. In order to meet the ever-changing needs, interests, and growing strengths of individual children, careful observation and assessment provides teachers with information on which to base adjustments of teaching plans. This course will provide opportunities to deepen understanding of child development; gain an appreciation for the professional responsibility of ongoing assessment of children; and, develop the necessary skills to gather, record, and interpret information in a deliberate and reflective manner. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required.

Prerequisite(s): EDU 106 and EDU 206.