Early Childhood Education
The Early Childhood Education bachelor's degree at Naropa University emphasizes personal observation-based child development and diverse learning and teaching styles.
Students of the Early Childhood Education program explore contemplative teaching skills and critical pedagogy* drawn from holistic traditions, such as Waldorf, Montessori, the Italian Approach (Reggio Emilia), Krishnamurti, popular education and Shambhala. The Early Childhood Education program at Naropa is steeped in social justice and foundations of peace.
Students develop skills utilizing direct observation, hands-on classroom practice, and classroom discussion with master teachers in a variety of contemplative, alternative, and traditional early childhood settings. Naropa works along side both private and public schools and in non-formal educational settings. Students are mentored and coached by faculty in the Early Childhood Education program as well as master teachers in the surrounding community.
Naropa has its own lab school nearby campus where can students practice, observe, and teach. Students are engaged in a process of their own personal awakening while they develop classroom-teaching skills; explore mindfulness practices, space awareness, critical pedagogy, and the arts.
*A contemplative critical pedagogy assumes a self-reflective process about how we come to think what we think and act the way we act, i.e culture. This type of pedagogy recognizes that political frameworks influence the foundation by which cultural and educational imperatives are formed. Bhutan has developed a Gross National Happiness democratizing political framework.
Early Childhood Education Degree Highlights
Service-learning is foundational to Naropa's programming and is integrated throughout all classes. Collaboration with groups working with marginalized and underserved populations through Boulder/Denver Area are integral to the program. In the past students have:
- Developed home visitation programs with immigrant populations in Boulder
- Constructed schools in Nicaragua
- Developed and held an annual Spanish speaking Summit Conference for the empowerment of women in the Boulder/Denver area
International opportunities for study are available in fall and spring semesters through the Early Childhood program's courses. Work closely with the children, teachers, and administrators at Naropa's lab school, Alaya Preschool.
Minor: Naropa offers the option of obtaining a minor in Early Childhood Education or a minor in Contemplative Education.
Duration: The Early Childhood Education degree program is 36-credit major offered in the context of Naropa's contemplative liberal arts core curriculum.
Professional Status of Program Graduates
The major in Early Childhood Education will qualify you as an early childhood teacher with Group Leader Qualification and a large center Director certification, as approved by the Department of Human Services in the state of Colorado. These Colorado credentials transfer readily to other states. Those interested in a contemplative and social justice approach to teaching at all grade levels have found this program extremely useful both personally and professionally.
Careers of Early Childhood Education Program Graduates
More than 80 percent of Naropa University's Early Childhood Education graduates go on to work in the profession and are employed during or within a year after graduation. Many go on to pursue graduate degrees, while others open their own schools.
Related Naropa Facilities and Initiatives
Alaya Preschool has been part of the Contemplative Education Department since 1994.