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Early Childhood Education: The UDC Edge

Founded in 2010, the National Center for Urban Education embodies UDC’s longstanding commitment to preparing future educators and the residents of the District of Columbia. Our program is heavy on practical classroom training and closely aligned with trends and curricula at local schools. You will learn by doing and learn from the best, as UDC works closely with D.C. public schools to pair you with outstanding teachers for your internship.

Master's Degree (MA) in Early Childhood Education

The master's degree in early childhood education at the University of the District of Columbia prepares you to become a highly effective, results-oriented, equity-minded classroom practitioner for children in preschool through third grade. 

The program is offered through the Urban Teacher Academy at the National Center for Urban Education (NCUE), which embraces the demands, challenges and opportunities that teachers encounter in high-poverty, high-need schools. While completing professional requirements, you will learn firsthand how be a positive force for change in our urban schools and communities, with a focus on the District of Columbia.

To that end, we focus on three key areas of need:

  • Honoring and integrating students' home languages and cultures into the classroom
  • Early childhood education and school readiness
  • Instructional support and interventions for children with special needs

Our program is open to both current and aspiring teachers.


Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Early Childhood Education Graduate Program

Learn more about admissions requirements for programs at the Urban Teacher Academy

The master's degree program in early childhood education prepares you to teach in classrooms from pre-school through third grade. The program consists of 34 credit hours and full-time students can complete the degree in two years.

Classes are held in the evenings to accommodate working professionals. Field experiences require some daytime availability. The final semester requires a full-time apprenticeship.

Learn more about courses in the early childhood education master's degree program.

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Early Childhood Education Graduate Program

The Urban Teacher Academy has relationships with students groups such as Jumpstart and Upward Bound, providing you with additional opportunities to work with children of varying ages and apply your classroom learning in the service of the community.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Early Childhood Education Graduate Program

Dr. Julie Sweetland, founding director of the National Center for Urban Education's Urban Teacher Academy, has helped improve teaching and learning for urban students for more than a decade as a classroom teacher, educational researcher, teacher educator and local education reform advocate. Her work has appeared in publications such as Journal of SociolinguisticsEducational Researcher, and Education Week. As former director of teaching and learning at Center for Inspired Teaching, she was the key designer of the Inspired Teaching Fellows program and a leader in the educational design of the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School.

Dr. Taharee A. Jackson has been a school director, public and private school teacher, and family literacy instructor. With specializations in urban, teacher and multicultural education, her research examines the beliefs, classroom practices and life experiences of critical, anti-racist educators who are dedicated to teaching disadvantaged students in urban schools.

Dr. Lannette Burns Woodruff, visiting assistant professor, coordinates the Urban Teacher Academy's graduate studies in early childhood education. Dr. Woodruff has more than 30 years of experience as a K-12 educator at public and private schools, primarily in urban settings.  Previously, she was an assistant professor at Trinity University, a senior research program coordinator at Johns Hopkins, and also served as director of the early childhood program for Howard University's School of Education. 

Career Pathways and Prospects

The master’s degree program in early childhood education at the University of the District of Columbia prepares you for a career as teacher of children from preschool through third grade. With the program’s emphasis on theory and research, you are also prepared for advanced study or other education-related careers in advocacy or government.

Contact info:

E: | T: 202.274.6960