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NMSU master?s degree program receives Thornburg Foundation grant for early childhood education

The Early Childhood Education program at New Mexico State University received an $80,000 grant from the Thornburg Foundation to increase the number of teachers specializing in early childhood education statewide.


The program, which is under the College of Education, will use the funds to pay $8,000 stipends to 10 students accepted in the NMSU Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program, said Betsy Cahill, the director of Early Childhood Teacher Education for the College of Education?s Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Apprentices will have the opportunity to obtain a master?s degree in curriculum and instruction with an early childhood education concentration, while also obtaining an early childhood teacher education license through the New Mexico Public Education Department.

?Instead of earning a master?s degree in two and half years full time, a student can earn their license and a master?s degree in a year and a semester,? said Cahill, who is also the J. Paul Taylor Endowed Professor in Education at NMSU.

Students enrolled in the hybrid apprenticeship program will be required to attend school full time. Courses will be offered online, face-to-face and in weekly seminars. Students will also work in a children?s classroom at Myrna?s Children?s Village or a K-3 classroom under the guidance of a mentor, Cahill said.

The impact on children in New Mexico will be significant. This program will graduate highly trained, responsive and effective teachers in a timely manner. Additionally, it will impact the master?s level students by giving them quality training and hands-on experience for preparation in the classroom. Apprentices are required to stay in New Mexico after completing the program and work in early childhood education for at least three years.

The Thornburg Foundation is a family foundation of Garrett Thornburg, who serves as the foundation's chair with Catherine Oppenheimer serving as the vice chair. The foundation has pledged to support early childhood initiatives throughout New Mexico.

For more information, contact Cahill at bcahill@nmsu.edu