Master of Science in Education in the Art of Teaching



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Student teacher at the Early Childhood Center
Student teacher at the Early Childhood Center
Student teacher at the Early Childhood Center
Early childhood teacher with student
Early childhood teacher with two school children
Early childhood teacher working with school children

The Sarah Lawrence College Art of Teaching program is an integrated Master of Science in Education (MS Ed) program of study that leads to dual New York State certification in Early Childhood and Childhood Education (birth to 6th grade).

Why pursue your M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood/Childhood education at Sarah Lawrence?

  • Our strong teacher training heritage—we've been educating teachers for over 35 years
  • Our renowned leadership in the field of progressive education
  • Strong partnerships with a range of schools across Westchester and NYC
  • Our Early Childhood Center—one of the oldest laboratory preschools in the country
  • Theory and practice inform one another throughout your time in the program. You’ll work with children at every point through student teaching placements at public and independent schools
  • We value justice and equity as an essential aspect of education. Diversity and inclusion will weave through your experience in the program. You’ll leave the program with the ability to transfer your learning to many different environments and meet the needs of students from all backgrounds
  • You will be part of an intimate intellectual setting and a collaborative community of diverse individuals
  • Opportunities to tailor your educational experiences to your own interests through community-based education

Academic Program

Program Overview

  • Art of Teaching is a child-centered (birth through 6th grade), culturally sensitive, interdisciplinary teacher education program centered on observation of children.
  • The program is committed to public education, including urban schools. Graduates find teaching positions in a range of public and private schools.
  • Seminar-style courses provide an intimate intellectual setting in a collaborative community of individuals.
  • Graduate students reflect a range of ages and backgrounds. Students discover a great deal about how they themselves learn in every class by recollecting, reflecting on, and sharing their own learning experiences in childhood and as adults. This sharing significantly informs the inquiry into teaching and learning.
  • Students learn not only how to observe, but also how to articulate and describe what they see. The “Prospect Descriptive Processes” provide important strategies for observing and documenting children and teaching practices. Patricia Carini, under whose leadership these processes were developed, has been a major influence on the program.
  • Students work with children at every point in the program—outside the classroom; in their jobs; at the Early Childhood Center; and in fieldwork and student teaching placements at public and independent schools.  
  • Each student’s work culminates in an oral presentation of a focused master’s project, accompanied by documentation of coursework and work with children in classrooms.
  • The program prepares students to integrate the New York State Common Core Curriculum Standards into their practice, and leads to New York State Early Childhood (birth to 2nd grade) and Childhood (1st to 6th grade) Teacher Certification.
  • The program provides ongoing support for alumni and their colleagues through a Saturday Seminar Series.

Program Requirements

The Art of Teaching is designed as one program that offers dual certification in early childhood (birth to grade 2) and childhood (1-6).

The dual certification program may be completed in two years and a summer on a full-time basis, or in three years and two summers on a part-time basis.

Given the recent legislation signed by Governor Hochul, the Art of Teaching program is no longer requiring prospective applicants submit GRE or other graduate-level examination scores. We will continue to conduct a holistic assessment of an applicant’s potential based on their personal statement, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Typical Course of Study


Summer courses

  • The Child and the Family (3 credits)
  • Children’s Literature (3 credits)
  • Foundations of Education (3 credits)
  • Theories of Development (3 credits)

Year One

  • Emergent Curriculum I & II (10 credits)
  • Mathematics and Technology I & II (10 credits)
  • Observation and Documentation (3 credits)
  • Advisement seminar
  • Field placements (180 hours, two age/grade levels)

Year Two

  • Language and Literacy I & II (10 credits)
  • Children with Special Needs (3 credits)
  • Practicum seminar
  • Student teaching (90 days, two age/grade levels)
  • Master’s project
  • Emergent Curriculum (10 credits)
  • Language and Literacy (10 credits)
  • Mathematics and Technology (10 credits)
  • Field placement
  • Student teaching

Master’s Project

The foundation for the master’s project is the teaching/learning inquiry, which Art of Teaching students undertake throughout their time in the program. Students collect documentation in portfolio format, which includes:

  • Longitudinal records and reflective journals of work with children and teachers
  • Descriptions of children and their work
  • Descriptions of curriculum and activities developed and used with children
  • Reflections on teaching practice
  • Bibliographies of children’s literature and professional literature
  • Critique and integration of theory

Upon completion of course work, fieldwork, and student-teaching requirements, master’s candidates prepare a final project in their last semester in the program.

  • Students present projects orally to a review panel made up of their peers, Art of Teaching faculty, invited undergraduate liberal arts faculty, and supervising teachers.
  • Students share their projects with their peers in preparation for presenting to the final review panel.
  • The criteria for evaluating the master’s project are jointly established by students and faculty.

Program Accreditation

In 2013, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation granted CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation) accreditation to Sarah Lawrence College’s Art of Teaching graduate program for the maximum term of seven years.

The M.S.Ed. program was rated “Above Standard” in all three quality principles on which CAEP/TEAC accreditation is based: Candidate Learning, Faculty Learning, and Capacity and Commitment. View the eight annual reporting measures for the Art of Teaching program (2016-17; PDF)

Sara Wilford, founder of the Art of Teaching program, said of the accreditation: “This rigorous accreditation process was challenging and inspiring. Both fair and transparent, it will guide us in our efforts to take the program to new levels of excellence.”

Part of the accreditation process is a “Call for Comment” by the Accreditation Council to current and former students, faculty, and educators in the field. Here is a sample of the feedback collected:

“The Art of Teaching Program at SLC is exemplary. Since the 1980s, it has consistently provided aspiring educators with the most innovative preparation in early childhood and childhood teaching.”

“This program has offered an opportunity for me to develop my educational values and teaching philosophy grounded in the promises of progressive practices. I feel supported, guided, and cared for by my faculty and program director.”

“I realized from the get-go that I had much to learn from this absolutely incredible program. After two fruitful semesters, I am eagerly looking forward to future semesters with these amazing professors.”

“Art of Teaching is a unique program, a true gem. I feel so lucky to have been educated there.”