Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education, Boulder Journey School Partnership


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.

The Program at a Glance

School: School of Education & Human Development Campus: Online Classroom: Fully Online Recommended completion time: 20 months Credits required for completion: 30

The Details

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 less than two years. 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 degreechildren with a lightbox

Fall 2020

  • EDHD 6400: Observation, Documentation and Assessment
  • ECED 6320: A Colorado Interpretation of the Reggio Approach

Spring 2021

  • ECED 6300: Contextual Curriculum 1
  • ECED 6330: Supportive Social Learning

Summer 2021

  • ECED 6350: Literacy and the Hundred Languages of Children
  • ECED 6340: Messing About with STEM

Fall 2021

  • ECED 6310: Contextual Curriculum 2
  • RSEM 6500: Teacher as Researcher

Spring 2022

  • ECED 6360: Children and Teachers as Change Agents
  • EDHD 6420: The Environment as the Third Teacher

Program Cost

$9,156.80 per student (including tuition and fees)

Additional Options

For an additional cost, you can choose to observe and/or to participate in an internship at Boulder Journey School for a requested period of time. You can also choose to participate in the Student-Professor Study Group in Reggio Emilia, Italy in March. 

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. 

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 Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences 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

You can trust CU Denver to provide an education that will prepare you for excellence in your career as an educator. We have a name that is recognized for preparing leaders of excellence. Additionally, CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development is counted among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” making us one of the top education schools in the country.

We educate more than 14,000 students at CU Denver, our comprehensive campus in downtown Denver, and more than 4,000 students in our research and advanced health care programs at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

On our two campuses, you can choose from more than 140 programs in 13 schools and colleges at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional health levels, including some that rank among the nation’s best.

Through our partnerships with business and industry, public schools and local governments, health care clinics and other community outreach programs, we’re an integral part of the Denver metro area and Colorado.

Admissions Requirements

For Questions about application deadline, program and admissions contact