The Childhood Program at Lehman College rests in the Department of Early Childhood and Childhood Education (ECCE) where teaching candidates can pursue a Masters of Science in Childhood Education (MSED), grades 1-6, offering bilingual extension credentials for those pursuing work in multilingual settings. Located in the Bronx, Lehman is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, and upholds the larger University's goals for educational and personal advancement for those specifically living in the Bronx and surrounding boroughs. Lehman is a commuter school, where a large percentage of the student population live and work in the Bronx, and may hold one or more of the following personal characteristics: a) transferred from a neighboring two-year CUNY institution with an Associates, b) a first-generation college student, or c) an individual who does not have access to financial capital to pay for the rising costs of higher education. As a result, Lehman's Childhood Education program is uniquely positioned to attract and serve a diverse student body from a range of linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.

Embracing the larger School of Education's core purposes, as stated in the Lehman Urban Transformative Education (LUTE) conceptual framework, the Childhood Program strives to:

  • understand and affirm linguistic, ethnic, and cultural diversity as foundations for learning;
  • create learning environments where relationships are key in preparing teacher candidates with academic, social and emotional skills to succeed;
  • create educational settings, strategies, and practices that exploit equity and respond to society's changing needs.
Enrolled students in the Childhood Program hold unique professional paths; they may have entered the program as an undergraduate student pursuing a liberal arts degree with an ECCE minor, or were paraprofessionals working in the NYC schools and seeking teaching certification, or they may be individuals with a bachelor's degree who are part of the workforce and may or may not have had prior work experience in education but are driven to pursue a teaching credential through a graduate program. Despite our candidates' varied professional and academic pasts, they hold a level of self-determination and self-rigor. Thus, we designed our program to acknowledge the array of experience that candidates bring to their studies, by offering systematic plans of study that include coursework and fieldwork. Courses are designed to marry educational theory with educational practice, where candidates engage in varied fieldwork experiences across multilingual and multiethnic professional development schools that employ student-centered, research-based curriculum and pedagogy. These experiences help nurture candidates' understanding that student learning and achievement rests at the intersection of teacher collaboration and reflection.

The greatest strength of our Childhood Program lies in the diversity of our teacher candidates. The faculty work diligently to mentor and support our candidates across the program's tenure so that they are able to attain their professional goals and enter the teaching force as highly qualified beginning teachers. Our diverse student body of candidates are supported in a multitude of ways in order to equip them with the academic, leadership, and socio-emotional skills to create equitable systems of change in the Bronx public schools.

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We believe it is particularly important that the teacher candidates we are preparing mirror the students they will be teaching. Our initiatives focus on the continuum of recruitment, retention, graduation, and certification of a diverse teaching workforce prepared to face the challenges of educating students in the highest needs schools in our Brooklyn community.


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