Educational Psychology & Counseling

Celebrating Week of the Young Child

April 7, 2021


Join us as we virtually celebrate Week of the Young Child April 10-16. We will highlight young children, their teachers, families and communities. To learn more about Week of the Young Child visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Starting at Zero – free documentary screening

If children are given the opportunity to thrive in settings with caring, responsive adults, the returns to our society will be deep and long lasting.

Join us for a special event screening of the new documentary

Starting at Zero. Watch the trailer.

Register here to obtain a screening link to watch from April 10-16.


California Association for the Education of Young Children CAAEYC

Learn from a panel of early childhood educators about their life’s journey and the benefits of participating in CAAEYC.

Date: April 13, 2021

Time: 6:00-7:00pm

Register here


M.A. Early Childhood Education Information Session

Explore the exciting opportunities in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Learn about the critical role of Early Childhood Educators in forging the best possible outcomes for children, their families, and communities.

The CSUN ECE program emphasizes leadership and advocacy, incorporating the role of language, culture, and special needs embedded in every course. We use evidence-based research to bridge theory and practice applied to social justice goals. Graduates go on to become community college instructors, program supervisors, doctoral students, and much more.

Date: April 15, 2021, Time: 6:30-7:30pm

RSVP here for Zoom link.

 Highlighting our future Early Childhood Educators


Samantha Garcia

Second Year Early Childhood Education M.A. Candidate

Samantha Garcia, a Psychology major and Women Studies minor at CSUN, knew she wanted to work with children, but wasn’t sure of the age group. After taking EPC 430, Development and Learning in Early Childhood Education, with Dr. Joannie Busillo-Aguayo, Samantha realized she wanted to work with small children. “Every time I was in her class, I’d wake up! I would have so many follow up questions and Dr. Joanie would always stay after class to answer them.” Samantha became interested in special education. Dr. Joannie advised Samantha to explore special education by seeking out a position at a Regional Center, a non-profit that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities, to get experience with case management and work with families more one on one.  After some time at the Regional Center Samantha was determined to grow in her curiosity and pursue an M.A. in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at CSUN.

Samantha has grown both professionally and personally while in the program. She talked about EPC 636 course, Systems and Policies in Infant-Toddler-Family Mental Health, and how it helped her be the leader she strives to be. “That course helped me develop my own goals and personal mission statement for myself. It gave me a foundation of what to seek when applying for jobs ensuring that it aligns with my beliefs and values.” Samantha has also made great strides on a personal level. She explains that earning an M.A. degree is a big deal, “I am a Latina and a first-generation college student, having this degree is not only my accomplishment but my family’s accomplishment.”

Samantha aspires to work in the special education non-profit sector, specifically to be an advocate and empower parents in Spanish speaking communities and Latinx families.  Her ultimate goal is to develop her own non-profit for Latinx families that include a child with disabilities and who would benefit from mental health services. For now, Samantha wants people to understand that “Kids are like sponges and the growth and development of a child from birth to eight years old is really important, it’s when they develop their social and emotional skills and empathy for others.” Samantha’s advice to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in ECE, “don’t be afraid to explore that curiosity you have about early childhood education, ask yourself, does this tie into your overall goals and passion? If so then everything will be okay, just go for it!”

Stephan Than

Second Year Early Childhood Education M.A. Candidate

Stephen Than is in his second year in the M.A. Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at CSUN. Professionals in the field spoke highly of CSUN’s ECE program so he knew he had to apply; when he got accepted, he didn’t hesitate to commit. What he loves most about the program is the sense of community from belonging to a cohort, “We have gotten to know each other and it’s been inspiring and uplifting to share references, collaborate and just grow from the strong sense of community within the program.”

One of Stephen’s goals is to be an ECE college instructor.  He explains that there is a huge disconnect between new research and practice in the field. Teaching at local community colleges can improve that disconnect, “Not only can I teach new professionals entering into the field, I can also hit the refresh button and re-train experienced early childhood educators learn new tools and information that wasn’t available five, ten years ago.” Stephen talks about the invaluable experience working alongside Dr. Carrie Rothstein Fisch as her teacher’s assistant. As a graduate teaching assistant, he works with college students,  adapts to different learning styles, gives lectures, engages with students, and most recently he has learned how to be an effective instructor, virtually.  Stephen also hopes to take on more advocacy issues for the profession of ECE and believes he has the tools necessary because of the program’s commitment to diversity,  inclusion, and social justice.

There is a special relationship between early childhood educators and families. There are different contexts for families are being included in the classrooms because of the unique connection that teachers have with parents. “In ECE the teachers and parents are partners. We see each other every day and discuss the child’s day. We talk about developmental milestones regularly not just twice a year at conferences.” One of Stephen’s final thoughts is that there needs to be a change in perspective in how society sees early childhood educators, “There needs to be more power to the profession, we are not glorified babysitters, we are professionals.”



Katherine (Kat) Alvarado

First Year Early Childhood Education M.A. Candidate

Katherine (Kat) Alvarado originally wanted to be an electrical engineer. While at Santa Monica College she took a course in early childhood to earn an “easy A”, she didn’t expect that she would have fun in the course and appreciate the opportunity to be creative. Kat then decided to take a basic Early Childhood Education (ECE) class, an intro to ECE and the rest is history. She realized that this was the field for her, “I always worked with kids, and I always got along with them. I want to live my life like a child, in awe and wonder. I want to be an advocate for children.”

Kat is in her first year in the M.A. Early Childhood Education Program and believes that childhood is slowly disappearing because of the pressures society is placing on young children today. “We are robbing children of the fun play that they deserve. We are constantly trying to get them ready for their next year in life when we are not allowing them to enjoy their current year of life.” Kat wants people to understand that there is value for children to experience risks. Risk-taking allows children to better understand their world around them and create a stronger foundation and sense of self. “Every moment is a learning moment for children. When we step back a little to let them lead, to let them play, magic happens!”

Kat has a few goals upon completing her M.A. She aspires to teach ECE courses at community colleges and would love to conduct workshops. She even mentions that someday, she would like to pursue a doctorate degree. However, her ultimate goal is to open her own play-based preschool. Kat ends the conversation by saying, “I will keep learning, keep reading, keep advocating, and show the world how bright and brilliant children are.”