Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education, Online with Boulder Journey School

School of Education & Human Development


Degree: MA

Classroom Type: Fully Online

A new online MA in Early Childhood Education to study innovation for children birth to age 8, at Boulder Journey School, inspired by the schools for young children in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Study quality multi-media examples of learning and teaching, engage in collaborative examination of documentation, and develop interpretations and new practices to innovate the field of Early Childhood Education.

Application​ deadlines

Application opens November 1, 2024 for Summer 2025 start. Deadline date to submit Summer 2025 applications is April 1, 2025.

Program Details

Interest Categories: Education & Counseling

Campus: CU Denver Online

Program Overview

You will study the philosophy, foundational ideas and the contextualized practices from the infant toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. While exploring the Reggio Emilia Approach, you will make extensive connections between your own context and the Reggio-inspired work at Boulder Journey School, a school for young children and teacher education developed in partnership with the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver.

children learning

Boulder Journey School and CU Denver faculty’s expertise has been developed over 25 years in a wide variety of contexts, including public schools, HeadStart programs, Educare programs and blended, inclusive ECE programs and in collaboration with the educators of Reggio Emilia. Locally, Boulder Journey School and University of Colorado Denver partnerships include Denver Public Schools, specifically Inspire Elementary School and The Zone for Inclusive Learning.

Throughout this interactive, online Master’s program, you will deeply study the philosophy, foundational ideas and practices from the infant toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. While exploring the Reggio Emilia Approach, you will make extensive connections between your own context and the Reggio-inspired work at Boulder Journey School, a school for young children and teacher education developed in partnership with the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver.

Note: This program is designed so that students can work full-time while earning a Master’s degree in two years or less. It is also created to support educators who work in diverse contexts, including urban public schools and HeadStart programs.

Program Outcomes

  1. Explore the history, values and core concepts of the Reggio Emilia Approach, and the interpretations of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education at Boulder Journey School in Boulder, Colorado. 
  2. Use documentation as a form of assessment of children and for self-assessment of your teaching practice, ultimately informing the decisions you make as a teacher in the classroom. 
  3. Organize learning experiences that offer the potential for peer learning and the potential for a differentiated curriculum based on cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as individual strengths and goals. 
  4. Develop strategies that offer appropriate support for promoting positive interactions in the classroom based on an understanding of social and emotional development. 
  5. Understand how to use a continuous cycle of observation, documentation, interpretation, and provocation to create contextually, meaningful curriculum and long term investigations. 
  6. Critically analyze literature on a topic of interest, create connections to your own research within your context, and write a literature review.
  7. Understand and experience STEM teaching as active facilitation, explore the early childhood STEM research literature to create a “STEM mindset”.
  8. Develop an awareness of a wide spectrum of learning environments and learning materials and design provocative, stimulating learning environments on both a macro and micro scale that are grounded in theory and beliefs about learning. 
  9. Understand the roles of communication and the “hundred languages” in early learning of languages, literacy, and learning about the world, including a focus on cultural, linguistic diversity and dual language learning. 
  10. Develop advocacy skills for promoting a strong image of children and educators in community contexts. 

Program Organization

Ten 3-credit courses (30 credit Master’s degree) that can be taken in one of two options: 14-month accelerated plan of study or 24-month plan of study. See the Program Organization Document for more information.

Program Cost

The cost for the program, including tuition and fees, ranges from $11,448.32 to $11,665.32.

children with a lightbox

Program Faculty

Courses have been designed by both University of Colorado Denver faculty and Boulder Journey School faculty, all of whom have been engaged in a multi-year study of digital pedagogy. All faculty have been to Reggio Emilia, Italy and have been engaged in a study of the schools in Reggio Emilia for over 20 years. 

Information Sessions

Individual Information Sessions

Please reach out to Jody Ogrodnick at jody.ogrodnick@boulderjourneyschool.com to schedule an individual information session.

About the Partnership

Boulder Journey School

Boulder Journey School is a full-day, full-year early childhood program located in Boulder, Colorado that welcomes over 200 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years, and their families. We have a faculty of about 70 educators, that includes approximately 55 classroom teachers, both intern and mentor teachers, as well as 15 administrators, directors and teacher educators.

child and light cylinderOur school focuses on the education of young children, as well as the education of teachers. In 1999, Boulder Journey School entered into close partnership with the University of Colorado Denver and the Colorado Department of Education to create a residency-based Teacher Education Program within the school. Through this one year program, Graduate Student Teachers earn a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Birth - Third Grade Teaching license. These partnerships, created around teacher education, have resulted in two decades of experimentation and innovation that have affected all aspects of daily life at school, including our image of the child, relationships with families, teacher professional development, curriculum planning, collaboration among faculty, and our connection to the local, educational, global and political communities.

Graduate Student Teachers enrolled in our program are teachers of record who team teach with Mentor Teachers. Mentor Teachers have already graduated from the Teacher Education Program. These teaching teams are charged with innovating new teaching practices as teacher researchers.

Our Relationship with Reggio Emilia, Italy

Boulder Journey School and the University of Colorado Denver are promoting founders of the Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi, an international organization founded in 2011 with the mission to “promote solidarity through research”.

Additionally, Boulder Journey School and the University of Colorado Denver bring groups of educators to Reggio Emilia, Italy annually to participate in the Student Professor Study Group organized in collaboration with Reggio Children.

Choose CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development

The School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver is a statewide and national leader for educational quality, access and equity across the education lifespan, birth through higher education Our undergraduate and graduate programs prepare and inspire education and mental health leaders to have a profound impact in fostering student opportunity, achievement and success in urban and diverse communities. We believe that all students, diverse in race, ethnicity, economic resources, language, fluency, abilities, geography, first-generation status, age, gender and sexual identities, deserve access to an excellent education. Our academic programs, our world-class faculty and our curriculum reflect this philosophy of inclusion and social justice. Through innovative research and partnerships, we strive to be passionate agents of change, inspiring upcoming generations to learn from the past and shape the future. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion works toward a more just and compassionate world.

We offer high quality Early Childhood Education in BA, BS, MA, EdD and PhD programs to prepare inclusive ECE teachers (with and without licensure), directors, leaders, researchers and policy makers. Our 20 plus year partnership with Boulder Journey School is a gem in our ECE program portfolio. We share deep interest and extensive experience with the innovative schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and have successfully partnered in residency-based educator preparation for over two decades. Recently, we added an online MA rooted in the work of Boulder Journey School and inspired by the acclaimed pedagogy known as the Reggio Emilia approach.

Sample Courses

  • LDFS 6400 - Observation, Documentation and Assessment 3 credits
  • ECED 6320 - A Colorado Interpretation of the Reggio Approach 3 credits
  • ECED 6330 - Supportive Social Learning 3 credits
  • ECED 6350 - Literacy and the Hundred Languages of Children 3 credits

Recommended Completion Time:14 months or 24 months

Required Credits for Completion:30

Admission Requirements

Applicants should hold a conferred bachelor’s degree or be in the final year of obtaining their bachelor’s degree. International students are encouraged to apply and will need to review additional international admissions information. An application fee of $50 for domestic students and $75 for international students is due at the time of application submission. You will apply for the MA in Early Childhood Education and select the Innovative Early Childhood Education (Boulder Journey School), Online option

Frequently Asked Questions about the program and the application process.

Please contact Sara Van Dyke for questions or assistance with your application.

303-315-5000 or sara.vandyke@ucdenver.edu

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