Minnesota Institutions of Higher Education and Early Childhood

Minnesota has many different “Institutes of Higher Education” (IHE) including  community and technical colleges, for-profit schools, private colleges and universities as well as public institutions including the 54 campuses of Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota system.  A portion of these IHEs offer degrees in an early childhood field.  While some progress has been made to develop “transfer pathways” between some 2-year and 4-year programs in early childhood, there is not a coordinated and aligned system for early childhood education in Minnesota.  Requirements for various levels of credentialing or degrees differ by institution and transferring from one IHE to another often results in the loss of time and money as courses are counted differently.   Some areas of Minnesota do not have any early childhood coursework or field placements available.  The National Academies report recommends that states:

“develop and enhance programs in higher education for care and education professionals.  Institutions of higher education…should review and revise the requirements and contents of programs for students pursuing qualification to practice as care and education professionals working with children from birth through age 8.  Institutions of higher education should work with local practice communities to contribute a practice-based perspective to the design of higher education programs; to facilitate cross-institutional relationships that bolster the quality, availability, and accessibility of programs; and to facilitate the identification of appropriate and diverse field placements capable of contributing to the training of students.”  

View Institutions of Higher Education that Offer Early Childhood Education in a spread sheet.

View  Institutes of Higher Education that offer early childhood in a full screen map.

Current Status in Minnesota:  

Faculty and staff in early childhood higher education are working hard to address the known issues and make improvements but there remains work to do to get Minnesota to a unified, statewide higher education system.

One of the most promising efforts is Minnesota’s work to create “transfer pathways” for early childhood education. Minnesota State Transfer Pathways are designed so students can complete a specific associate degree at a Minnesota State college and transfer to a Minnesota State university to earn a bachelor’s degree without losing credits or taking extra courses. Transfer Pathways can be a great resource for saving time and money.   E-lect, electronic learning for early childhood teachers, is another promising innovation that allows students to learn online.