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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences:
Education Specialist (EdS) in Early Childhood Education

Educators prepare to become more effective early childhood leaders and advocate for and foster positive outcomes for young children and their families in the Education Specialist (EdS) in Early Childhood Education program. Educators in this program explore the complex family, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child development and learning and critically review current research in the field. They analyze topics such as child development, family partnerships, content knowledge, assessment, effective practices, leadership, advocacy, and professionalism. Through case studies and innovative technology, professionals examine the quality of early childhood programs and policies, implement strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children, and evaluate the leadership characteristics necessary to implement effective change.

Coursework in this specialization is designed to reflect the advanced early childhood professional guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. 

Note on Educator Licensure or Certification

This program does not lead to educator licensure or certification. Educators are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Learning Outcomes

All EdS graduates will be prepared to:

  1. Apply discipline-specific knowledge to address issues in educational settings.
  2. Apply evidence-based practices to address a problem within the academic and/or work environment and propose a solution.
  3. Communicate information to a variety of stakeholders using oral and written formats.
  4. Practice ethically as a professional in the field of education.
  5. Collaborate with diverse stakeholders to promote continuous improvement in educational settings.
  6. Advocate for social change to make a positive impact in educational settings.

In addition to the shared EdS outcomes above, Early Childhood Education (Non-Licensure) graduates will be prepared to:

  1. Apply research-based skills in the areas of child development and learning to evaluate practices and policies.
  2. Apply effective leadership practices, including collaboration and advocacy, to promote positive outcomes for young children and families. 
  3. Apply responsible assessment practices to support healthy development and positive learning outcomes for young children.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of cultural responsiveness in interactions with children, families, community members, and early childhood professionals.
  5. Integrate professional resources, including technology, to create effective solutions to authentic problems in the early childhood field.
  6. Apply a variety of perspectives that are knowledgeable, reflective, and critical to promote professional growth and positive social change in the early childhood field.
  7. Design a scholarly response to address an early childhood education problem and contribute to the profession.

Degree Requirements

  • 45 total quarter credits
  • Foundation course (5 credits)
  • Research course (5 credits)
  • Specialization courses (30 credits)
  • EdS Capstone Project (5 credits)
  • ePortfolio

Curriculum (45 total credits)

Foundation Course (5 credits)


  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

(6-week version)

Research Course (5 credits)

Specialization Courses (30 credits)

  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Capstone (5 credits)

Course Sequence

The recommended course sequence is as follows:

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1

EDSD 7002 - Leading the Future of Education


EDSD 7006 - Leading the Future of Education (6-week version)

5 credits
Quarter 2

EDSD 7080 - Child Development in the Critical Early Years

5 credits
Quarter 3

EDSD 7081 - The Language/Literacy Continuum From Birth Through Age 8

5 credits
Quarter 4

RSCH 7110 - Research Theory, Design, and Methods

5 credits
Quarter 5

EDSD 7082 - Meaningful Learning Experiences in Supportive Environments

5 credits
Quarter 6

EDSD 7083 - Assessment Practices to Promote Healthy Development and Learning

5 credits
Quarter 7

EDSD 7084 - Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Programs

5 credits
Quarter 8

EDSD 7085 - Inspired Leadership, Informed Advocacy, and Improved Policy

5 credits
Quarter 9

EDSD 7900 - EdS Capstone Project: Creating and Supporting Effective Educational Practices

5 credits