About the Department


To transform education in the State of New Jersey by preparing early childhood, elementary and literacy educators who demonstrate teaching excellence, democratic practice and a commitment to social justice and inclusivity, and who are equipped to recognize and disrupt systemic and social inequality.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to prepare professionals who possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to transform early childhood, elementary, and life-long literacy education in the service of social justice, inclusivity and democratic values. As a department, we strive collectively with our students to ensure that their teaching is grounded in the following ideals:
  • Respect for the value and high expectations for the learning of every person is a fundamental principle of teaching and learning.
  • All students must be engaged in meaningful and intellectually rigorous learning.
  • Collaboration with families, schools and communities is imperative.
  • Teaching and learning are social processes with political implications.
  • Educators are cultural and political workers who acknowledge their role in a democracy through the promotion of inclusivity and social justice.
  • Critical education is a transformative process that works to change "what is" while simultaneously preparing people to participate in "what is yet to be."
  • Educators have a responsibility to recognize and disrupt privilege and oppression related to race, gender, LGBTQ identities, disability, immigration and linguistic differences, religious diversity, and class.
  • Making positive social change requires taking initiative through collaborative and collegial engagement with other members of the school and local community.