The Master of Arts in early childhood education is designed for the practicing early childhood professional seeking to strengthen the opportunities and experiences all young children and families are afforded. This non-licensure program is geared for teachers and assistant teachers working with children,  birth through eight, and for those that support those teachers, such as trainers and coaches, quality improvement staff, state licensing consultants, and policymakers.

Guided by a constructivist approach to teaching and learning, with emphasis on inclusion and equity, students examine the complexity of environmental influences on development including family culture and background, adverse childhood experiences, community, systems and policy, and quality of care and education in group settings.

Integrating a strong emphasis on self-reflection, Students in the Master of Arts early childhood program leverage the strengths they possess as practicing early childhood professionals, to refine the experiences provided to young children, birth through age eight.  

Students in the program may choose to complete one of two pathways to meet internship requirements – the Teaching Pathway, or the Systems Support Pathway. If you are a teacher, you will broaden and refine your teaching by completing your internship in a classroom setting. If you are not directly working with children, then you may want to choose the Systems Support Pathway. The Systems Support Pathway in the early childhood internship is designed for those who support teachers in the field, offering an individualized, immersive experience that broadens and strengthens the systems of support afforded to those directly working with our youngest learners.

This 35 credit, fully online degree program is geared for GSRP, Head Start and Early Head Start teachers, early childhood special education teachers, primary teachers seeking their ZS endorsement, teachers and staff in center-based or home daycares serving birth through school-aged children, and for those in systems roles that support teachers in the field.  


ED 500 Educational Research 3
ED 550 Content and Pedagogy: Infants and Toddlers 4
ED 551 Early Child Development 4
ED 553 Application of Theories and Practices within Early Childhood Settings 4
ED 554 Early Intervention Birth to Age Eight 4
ED 555 Family Partnerships in Early Childhood Education 4
ED 556 Assessment in Early Childhood Environments 4
ED 557 Childhood Internship with Seminar 6
ED 574 Seminar in Educational Research 2

Chelsea Miller

Brighton, MI

"I have been doing my internship through the Early On program. This is something very unfamiliar for me. I have been working in a tuition-based center for almost five years and have had little to no interaction with state programs. I also have had little to no interaction with children that have special needs or disabilities. Throughout my internship with Early On, I have referred continuously to my class at NMU when we learned about children with special needs and disabilities. My NMU program and my internship have taught me many ways to make my classroom inclusive for all children and families."

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Crystal harthun

Manistee, MI

"Learning deeper into the field of Early Childhood Education has helped me become both a better director and a better teacher. I am learning ways to work closely with families and make sure that we are encouraging family-centered education for the families we work with. I am learning new and helpful ways to interact with children that have disabilities, challenges, and also those that excel and need to be helped to achieve all they can. I am grateful for the knowledgeable professors at NMU as well as the peers I meet in courses, as it gives me opportunities to ask questions, learn and add to my professional toolbox. I am so glad I made the decision to pursue my degree with NMU!"

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Kristen Osterhouse

Holt, MI

"A huge part of my work is professional development training for licensed childcare providers. The ECE courses at NMU align beautifully with my daily work. I have a deeper understanding of the importance of relationships between the child, family, school, and community."

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Sarah Godfrey-Williams

West Branch, MI

"My course work in the Early Childhood Masters Program at NMU has not only empowered me with a deep understanding of child development but has provided me with the skills to create a developmentally appropriate classroom. The courses and instructor are professional, relevant, and share the importance of issues such as equity, inclusion, diversity trauma, and early intervention. One of the greatest opportunities I have had from this program is to be able to learn from the vast and varied experiences of my peers through group work and applicable discussions."

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Jennifer Rountree

Holt, MI

"In my internship with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) I was able to focus on equity in the consultation services provided by the Social and Emotional Consultants across Michigan. It was impactful to scaffold the learning I had within my early childhood education courses at NMU to support this project and make connections in my findings to best practices in our field. I was grateful for the support of my instructor in this project since my internship was not in a typical early childhood classroom but more of a systems-based focus and had some unique characteristics to balance. I felt that the courses I had taken up to my internship prepared me for this task and helped breakdown some of the silos in early childhood systems work across the state. Truly grateful for opportunities to reflect and craft an internship that I was passionate about and that aligned with my  work in the EC workforce and stretch my skillsets in focusing on equitable access for all children and families."

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Questions can be directed to Cindy Basse, Instructor and Academic Adviser for the early childhood endorsement program.


Phone: (906) 227-2770