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School of Education - George Mason University
Early childhood is a unique developmental period, requiring similarly unique teaching strategies and styles.

Mason’s Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) early childhood education concentration provides professional development for prekindergarten through third-grade educators and focuses on advancing the professional knowledge of practicing teachers who teach and work with diverse young children and their families.

In addition to the ASTL core courses, students in this concentration take course work that builds their expertise in early childhood education frameworks, research, and policy. They also choose electives in specific subjects such as literacy foundations or supporting English learners.

Why Is Early Childhood Education Important?

Learning in the early years of education (prekindergarten through third grade) provides a critical foundation for future learning and can promote important long-term social benefits to those developing in the classroom. The ASTL early childhood education concentration at Mason provides advanced professional development in this crucial content to our students, helping them do the important work in their classrooms that enables their own students to succeed.

What Are Some Benefits of the Program?

All students in this ASTL concentration take the required course “Frameworks for Early Childhood Education” and can choose between a course on teaching at the early childhood level or one on early childhood policy perspectives. These courses complement the ASTL core degree requirements and electives. By completing this course work, graduates gain the advantages of a master’s degree, including the possibility of increased pay and opportunities to be curriculum leaders in their schools.

Who Should Apply?

Educators holding a bachelor's degree with or without a master's degree may apply for the full master's degree program, which includes 12 credits of core education courses and 18 credits of concentration courses chosen with support from a Mason advisor. This is not an initial licensure program.

Can I Use Graduate Credits from Other Universities to Reduce my Course Load?

Possibly! University policy allows for up to 12 credits (depending on the program) that have not been previously used to complete a degree to be transferred from another accredited graduate program. Consultation with an ASTL advisor is necessary to determine if and which courses may be acceptable to a specific concentration. The literacy: K-12 reading specialist concentration does not allow for substitutions. Substitutions cannot be made for the five core courses of the ASTL program (EDUC 612, EDUC 613, EDUC 614, EDUC 606, EDUC 615). Course work that is older than six years will not be accepted, even if the courses were taken at Mason.