Programs preparing Early Childhood educators

Do you love working with young children and want to make a difference in their lives? Then consider becoming an early childhood educator.
Few careers give people the opportunity to impact individuals and their communities like teaching.  Can you think of a specific teacher who made a difference in your life?  Would you like to become that kind of teacher? 

The first years of a child’s life are the most formative and impactful. Warner will prepare you to become an innovative early childhood educator, committed and able to help all your students learn and grow.  

Our teacher preparation programs offer the shortest path to New York State initial and professional teaching certification and a guaranteed 50% tuition scholarship.
Guaranteed 50% tuition scholarshipLearn More About Our Scholarships

Program Quickview

All of the master's degree programs described below prepare candidates for New York State initial and professional teaching certification in Early Childhood Education (teaching all subjects to children from birth to grade 2) and are offered at the graduate level only.

If you are interested in other early childhood education programs, check our related programs.
Prerequisites (as required by NYS):
  • Undergraduate degree in a liberal art (BA) or science (BS).
Key Program Features:
  • Meets all coursework and internship requirements for both initial and professional New York teaching certification: In addition, you will need to pass the required state exams and complete the teaching requirements for professional certification.
  • Shortest program:  Preservice teachers can complete the program in 15 months of full-time study (if starting in summer); certified teachers seeking additional certification in early childhood may require less time.
  • Focus on Early Childhood and Elementary Education: Includes two courses focusing on young children’s learning and development as well as elementary methods courses in each of the four core content areas; all internships are taken concurrently with at least one of these courses.  
  • Focus on teaching all students: Includes courses on diversity, students with disabilities, and English language learners; these required courses may be transferred in for certified teachers.
  • Option to add specializations: With only a few additional credits required, you can pursue additional state certification to also teach up to 6th grade or in inclusive classrooms, or advanced certificates that can strengthen your effectiveness with diverse learners and make you more marketable; see Opportunities for additional specializations.

Warner programs that prepare Early Childhood teachers

For Preservice Teachers with No Prior Teaching Certification
  • MS Program (TA1): 45 credits, including field experiences and two student teaching experiences.
parent and child reading in classroom
Opportunities for additional specializations (with minimum additional credits required):
  • New York Certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities in Early Childhood: Prepares you to better serve students with diverse learning needs while qualifying you to teach in inclusive classes.
  • New York Certification in Childhood Education: Qualifies you to also teach children from birth to grade 6.
  • Advanced Certificate in Digitally-Rich Teaching: Prepares you to make the best use of digital technology in your teaching.
  • Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership: Prepares you to teach highly diverse and disadvantaged students in urban settings.
  • New York Certification in TESOL: Prepares you to better serve English language learners in your classes and qualifies you to teach TESOL courses.

Licensure in other states. Review certification and licensure requirements for all Warner programs

For Initially Certified Early Childhood Teachers Seeking NYS Professional Certification
If you already have your initial teaching certification in Early Childhood Education, and are seeking New York professional teaching certification in the same area, there are several Warner programs to help you achieve this goal. Most of these programs require only 30 credits of coursework and no internships. Check the requirements related to the option(s) that best apply to you from the program choices below:
preschooler with pigtails in classroom
For Certified Teachers in Areas Other than Early Childhood Seeking Certification in Early Childhood
If you already have your teaching certification in another area of specialization, and are seeking an additional certification in early childhood education, you will still need to meet the same prerequisites, but will have fewer requirements and internships to complete your program. The following Warner programs should meet your needs:
  • Advanced Certificate (NA1): Fastest path; as few as 10 credits, including specialization courses plus 50 contact hours of field experiences and one student teaching experience.
  • MS Program (SA1): 34 credits, including 50 contact hours of field experiences and one student teaching experience; also leads to New York professional teaching certification in your original area of certification.
preschoolers on playground

Our Approach

Creating effective Early Childhood teachers who can inspire and lead change

Warner’s approach to early childhood education reflects what we know about how young children learn best. We prepare an innovative teachers who can lay the foundation for a lifetime of interest in learning and lead change.

Children learn more quickly during their first five years than at any other time in life. Early childhood teachers are some of the most important teachers as they help young children develop a love for learning during these formative years that impacts their lives for years to come. They directly help to shape how their students develop learning skills as well as social and emotion abilities. And, they believe young children are learning every day and they enjoy every stage of early development.
joyful child playing in pile of leaves
Learn More About Warner's Approach to Early Childhood Education
Our early childhood program will prepare you to work with children from birth to age eight and to play a key role during the formative years in determining their future.  Interdisciplinary in both content and process, coursework and field experiences prepare our students to have a deep understanding and strong foundation of early childhood development in the areas of language, cognitive, social emotional, and physical development. Throughout the program, they explore current research on early childhood curriculum in the areas of literacy, science, mathematics, and social studies, and they gain a deep understanding of these subjects they teach and the skills and understanding of teaching, learning, and development needed to help all children develop to their fullest potential. They gain a strong understanding of how children develop within the context of a family, community, and society and what impact this has on development, as well as an in-depth analysis of human development during the early childhood years. These experiences prepare dedicated, creative, and motivated teachers who are capable of supporting the learning and growth of young children at whatever rate they are developing.

Our graduates are critically reflective practitioners who understand children and their needs, and they have the ability and interest to see beyond themselves to delve into a young child’s world. They are compassionate teachers who help children make sense of the world around them and support them when they make mistakes. And, they develop meaningful relationships with children’s families and support their learning as well.

At the heart of our work in early childhood education is a commitment to social justice and equity. Our graduates lead efforts to advocate for full inclusion of all students in heterogeneous learning environments that value diversity and maintain high expectations based on students’ individual strengths, needs, and interests.

The Warner Advantage

Preparing graduates to thrive in Early Childhood education

Our programs in early childhood education will help you stand out from other early childhood educators and prepare you to excel in your career.
  • Become an early childhood educator who can create learning opportunities that are inviting and accessible for all students – engaging with cutting-edge research and educational innovations.
  • Be challenged to be an agent of change, who can effectively introduce new ideas and practices that will enhance students’ learning and address current inequities.
  • Leverage the reputation of a leading research university to strengthen recognition of your degree.
  • Network with the best and the brightest future colleagues.
  • Make yourself stand out when applying for teaching positions by pursuing additional specializations for a few additional credits.
  • Learn from an accessible, supportive faculty of researchers and accomplished practitioners who will prepare you to become adaptive experts in today’s K-12 schools.
  • Shorten your path to a doctoral degree by earning transferable credits.
While rigorous, Warner’s teacher preparation programs are both flexible and affordable.
  • Benefit from a guaranteed 50% scholarship.
  • Take advantage of online learning options that help reduce trips to campus.
  • Be ready to teach the school year following enrollment, as the program can be completed in as little as 15 months, even by teachers new to the profession.

All About experience

Your experience at Warner will be informed by the many research projects and community initiatives we are engaged in. In addition, you'll benefit from the experience of faculty that include nationally recognized researchers, award-winning authors and accomplished practitioners.

Horizons at Warner: Enrichment Program for RCSD Students in Grades K-8

Horizons at Warner: Enrichment program for students in grades K-8

Warner hosts a six-week summer enrichment program that engages urban K-8 students in meaningful and authentic learning experiences. The Horizons program creates a unique opportunity for Warner students to interact with young learners in an out-of-school setting. Opportunities for paid teaching experiences in this program are also available after graduation for a limited number of students.

Center for Disability and Education

Center for Disability and Education

Benefit from faculty who are involved in ambitious initiatives undertaken by Warner’s Center for Disability and Education. Led by program director Martha Mock, the center provides expertise, guidance, and connections to individuals and institutions navigating the world of disability.

Nationally Recognized Expert

Nationally recognized expert

Martha Mock, faculty member and program director of the Warner Center for Disability and Education, recently received the Leadership in Inclusive Higher Education Award. The award recognizes her work in seeking change to the educational opportunities of transition-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Career Opportunities

Advancing your career to the next level

Graduates of a Warner teacher preparation program in early childhood education will have the credentials needed to teach all subjects to children from birth to grade 2 in New York State public schools and other states that recognize our state's teaching certification. And with only six extra credits, you will be qualified to also teach at any elementary grade.

Unlike graduates of an undergraduate teacher preparation program, our graduates will have already met all the coursework requirements for professional teaching certification. This means they will only be required to complete three years of teaching and some state exams in order to obtain this additional level of certification – a New York State requirement within five years of beginning a teaching job.

At the same time, some of our graduates have chosen to pursue careers other than teaching in K-12 public schools. These include working in daycare centers, community-based organizations, preschools, private schools, and camps.
teacher leading students on a fun walk


Accessible, supportive faculty researchers and accomplished practitioners

Kristen Love thumbnail imageKristen Love, PhD
Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Program Director and Advisor
LeChase Hall 456
(585) 273-5443


Making your graduate education experience affordable

The Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester is pleased to offer a number of scholarships to eligible students who enroll in teacher preparation programs. These scholarships are made possible by federal grants as well as the generous support of donors, who are committed to the success of future teachers.

Byron Williams Teaching Scholarships – Guaranteed 50% tuition savings
All new students starting their master’s programs in teacher education leading to New York State teaching certification are guaranteed a minimum 50 percent tuition scholarship, provided they commit to teach in a United States school for a minimum of two years after graduation.

Vasquez in class at table with studnets

Try Us Out

Take a course before applying and visit our instructional programs

We invite you to visit one of our innovative instructional programs, including:
  • Horizons Summer Enrichment Program: A six-week, full-day summer program for K-8 students in the city of Rochester that takes place on the University of Rochester campus, and provides its students with meaningful literacy and math learning opportunities in an informal context.
Take a course: You can also experience Warner as student  prior to applying, for a highly discounted price. There are many classes available and some may apply toward your eventual program of study. 

Contact admissions to arrange for a visit or learn more about course opportunities for students who have yet to apply.
young smiling girl in Horizons at Warner t-shirt


Meliora means 'Ever Better.' To our graduates, it means making a world of difference.

  • Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

    "The growth I’ve realized in myself is something I will be forever grateful for. I’ve learned to question, analyze, think and create in ways I never considered. I’ve changed as an educator and as a person."

    Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

  • Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

    “As educators, it’s our job to make sure we’re giving students the knowledge to be successful when they move on in their life….Warner was the best grad school experience I’ve ever had because it prepared me extremely well to jump into my career, and I will forever be grateful for that.”

    Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

  • Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

    “I had a very unique situation. I wasn’t going down the typical path of a Warner student, and the school was just so flexible and supportive.”

    Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

  • Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

    "The most important thing I received there was the opportunity to be immersed in the study of education and leadership with very talented people, that think-tank mentality of being surrounded by the best of the best. The intellectual stimulation from both the staff and fellow classmates really did allow me to think about things differently."

    Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

  • Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

    “It was more than I expected. Not only what I learned in the program, which I’ve been able to put into practice every day since, but also the connections I was able to make and the relationships I was able to form."

    Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

  • Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children

    “When it came time to interview for jobs, it was very easy for me to talk about anything in the field, and that set me apart,” he says. “You name it, and I had at least one experience in it—largely due to Warner.”

    Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children's Zone, New York, NY

Contact Admissions

The admissions team looks forward to assisting you as you explore graduate education at the Warner School. Please feel free to use the form below to contact us with any questions. You can also email us at or call (585) 275-3950.

Application Deadlines

The next application deadline is March 01, 2023. View all  Admissions Deadlines.

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