M.A. Early Childhood Education

Program Description

Our master's program in Early Childhood Education prepares graduates to integrate Pacific Oaks' transformative approach to early childhood education into leadership roles in public schools, child care programs, state agencies, and a variety of nonprofits serving children and families. 

Graduates will be prepared with a strong grounding in the theory and research that supports high-quality educational experiences for children, and will have gained an unrivaled amount of real-world experience, working with children and families, fostering staff development, and collaborating with educational administrators and leaders on projects such as program evaluation, business processes, and creating and implementing effective policies and practices. 

Benefiting from Pacific Oaks' commitment to culture-centered education, students will be immersed in an environment that celebrates diversity, inclusion, and equality and will emerge with the cultural competencies to provide leadership in a wide variety of educational settings.

  • May be completed in as little as two years part time, or one year full time.
  • Students pursuing the on-ground course of study may also have the opportunity to enroll in online courses.
  • All School of Education program courses include an online component.
  • Course content is presented through multiple cultural lenses including language and family diversity.


POC:Pasadena, CAPOC:Online



Total Credits


Fieldwork Requirements

In addition to various course-level assignments that require students to consult and/or collaborate with administrators and other leaders in early childhood education, the M.A. program includes a Capstone Program Evaluation course which requires that students engage extensively with a particular early childhood educational setting and conduct a formal evaluation of a program offered at the site.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Evidence of practical experience with young children.
  • Personal statement: This typed, 500-word statement will be used as a writing sample, so make your essay integrative and cohesive. Sign your essay as a pledge that it represents your own work. Your personal statement must include the following:
    • A description of two experiences in your life and what they meant to you.
    • Your professional goals and how you will pursue these goals through your study at Pacific Oaks College.
    • An explanation of what it is about Pacific Oaks College that appeals to you.
    • Your expectations of a graduate program.

Sample Courses

The Impact of Privilege and Oppression in Early Childhood Educational Settings

Exploring the cultural contexts of communities from a lens of privilege and oppression opens doors to understanding and considerations for inclusion, equity, advocacy and support in early childhood educational settings. This course explores early childhood educational experiences relevant to such variables as race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, (dis)ability, and body size. Through self-reflection and critical review of related research and other scholarship, students will examine the historical and current role of privilege and oppression in the delivery of early childhood educational services. Strategies and resources for designing and implementing programs that are intentionally inclusive and welcoming to all will also be addressed.

Public Policy and Its Impact on Children and Families 

This course explores the role and impact of public policy as it relates to early childhood education. Through an examination of current and historical public educational policy, the course examines the multiple factors that influence the education of young children including emerging scientific research, diverse pedagogical perspectives, historical influences and data, community activism and support systems addressing family well-being. The course also focuses on policies related to the academic qualifications of teachers and administrators in early childhood education and the allocation of resources to ensure quality delivery systems. Students will also critically examine existing policies with regard to the delivery of culturally competent care for children and families and articulate strategies for advocating for public policy change where indicated.

Creating Responsive Communities for All Families

Maximizing the potential of every young child requires effective leadership committed to building culturally responsive and inclusive early childhood educational communities for all families. This course emphasizes the importance of understanding what creates community and how it is best nurtured to be responsive to common community needs (e.g., parent education that enhances child growth and development) as well as those needs unique to particular communities. This course addresses the importance of developing effective communication skills and culturally responsive programs and policies that welcome and celebrate all members of the early childhood educational community. Existing programs and communication strategies will be examined, particularly with regard to the diverse needs of families.

POC:Pasadena, CAPOC:Online