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Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

In Maryland and nationally, there's a rising need for educators who specialize in early childhood education for infants, toddlers, and young children. Through specialized courses and student teaching in local schools, an Early Childhood Education degree will prepare you to teach Pre-K through third grade children. 

Degree Types
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Student Teaching
Reputation & Recognition
State Teacher of the Year recipients

Why McDaniel for Early Childhood Education?

Accreditation and Certification

McDaniel has provided programs for teacher preparation and certification for over 110 years. Programs in the McDaniel College Education department were reviewed and accredited by the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teachers) in 2017. McDaniel College will be reviewed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in the next cycle of accreditation in 2024.

Students who complete the Early Childhood Education major with certification requirements are eligible for initial teacher certification in the State of Maryland (and the more than 45 states involved in the Interstate Reciprocity Agreement).

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Our education programs are well-known, highly respected, and regarded, and we are excited to be able to build upon our current offerings while focusing on the need for high quality teachers in support of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which emphasizes access to early education opportunities to prepare all children for success.

Tracey Lucas, assistant dean of Education

Job Opportunities in Early Childhood Education

Filling teacher shortages: McDaniel's Early Childhood Education program has been developed to address two major needs in Maryland, particularly Carroll County. The first is a growing teacher shortage; data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that 44% of public schools report teaching vacancies.

Meeting state expansion of Pre-K: The second major reason is an upcoming expansion of pre-kindergarten for all Maryland students over the next decade, a priority of the Maryland Department of Education’s Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

Serving diverse communities: The program also incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion, so graduates are prepared to work in a broad range of communities and childcare centers, including private childcare providers.

The Early Childhood Education major prepares teaching candidates to:

  • Develop positive, safe, and age-appropriate learning environments in both indoor and outdoor spaces

  • Use materials, curriculum, and pedagogy that are culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate to scaffold each child’s learning and development

  • Utilize a variety of ongoing assessments, including formative and summative assessments, to adjust for learning and development

  • Model, demonstrate, and promote best practices in nutrition, health and mental health for early learners

  • Establish positive, communicative, and collaborative relationships with families and the community

  • Demonstrate competency in assisting all families, including those with diverse needs, to support their child’s learning and development

  • Implement curriculum with a multicultural approach to learning

  • Seek out and utilize community resources and partnerships to further support student learning and development


of Education graduates from McDaniel are still employed as teachers five years after graduation, exceeding state and national averages of ~50%.


annual job openings for preschool teachers between 2021 and 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


projected growth rate of early childhood education careers in Maryland between 2020 and 2030.


McDaniel alums have been recognized as County Teachers of the Year and three as Maryland Teachers of the Year since 2010.

McDaniel is transfer-friendly!

With block transfer to McDaniel and a standing articulation agreement between McDaniel College and Carroll Community College, you can have a smooth transfer into the Early Childhood Education major to earn your bachelor's degree and Maryland certification, especially if you have previously earned an Early Childhood Education associate's degree.

Learn more about transferring to McDaniel.

Early Childhood Education Courses

EDU 1141 - Teaching and Learning in a Diverse Society

An overview of education in the U.S., including identification of pupil characteristics. The course includes psychology of teaching and learning, related educational foundations, and a research-based introduction to current issues in education. This course places a strong emphasis on understanding how students differ in their approaches to learning and creating instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners in order to meet individual needs. Incorporation of selected multimedia and technology and structured observations in schools are included.

Early Childhood Theory and Practice

This course presents an overview of theory and best practice for developmentally appropriate environments, materials, and curriculum in the early childhood setting.  Course topics include program models for early childhood education, types and stages of play, program design that incorporates play as a core teaching practice to extend learning across age levels, and creation of a physically and emotionally safe learning environment.  Candidates will plan, implement, and assess developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive activities to foster children’s cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and linguistic development. 

Family and Community in Early Childhood

This course presents the theory and research to support family engagement and community partnerships across a variety of early childhood education contexts. The course content addresses the role of socioeconomic conditions, family structures, cultural values, and language diversity in sustaining culturally responsive interactions with family and community members. Candidates explore ways to initiate and sustain respectful, reciprocal relationships with families and partner with community resources to support young children’s learning and development. 

Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood

This course examines theoretical perspectives, concepts, and standards to inform developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically relevant pedagogy for early childhood mathematics education.  The course content addresses prenumeracy and early numeracy skills, number and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and data analysis. Candidates investigate and apply methods and materials using active exploration and concrete experiences to build children’s development of mathematical concepts, abstract reasoning, and critical thinking.

Special Opportunities

A male student stands next to a female teacher. The student holds a sign pointing to the teacher that says "this was my third grade teacher" and the teacher holds a sign that reads "This is my McDaniel intern"

Teaching Experience

McDaniel College has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Carroll County Public Schools. Currently, McDaniel has 13 elementary professional development schools which are sites for candidate placement for student teaching. During a required January Term course, Internship in an Ethnically Diverse Classroom, Early Childhood Education majors will work in a partnered school under a mentor teacher to learn more about the teaching profession.

Photo: Junior Paul Steinert interned at Norwood Elementary School for his Jan Tern internship, and happened to be placed with a mentor teacher, Valerie Tarbell, who was his own third grade teacher when he attended Norwood Elementary. 

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment — a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students — provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Q&A with Associate Professor of Education Becca Gibson, Ph.D.

What do you hope students take away from your courses?
I hope students come away from my courses with an understanding of both how complex and how important teaching reading and writing is to children and a sense of self-efficacy in literacy teaching. It’s not supposed to be easy, and students won’t know all the answers, but they will be able to teach effectively — and joyously!
Read the full Q&A.
Students walking across campus.

New Early Childhood Education undergraduate major begins fall 2024

This new major, beginning fall 2024, expands McDaniel’s education offerings to prepare undergraduate students to teach infants, toddlers, and young children, which is a focus of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.