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Buell Early Childhood Leadership Certificate

Buell Early Childhood Leadership Certificate

Buell Early Childhood Leadership Certificate

The Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program (BECLP) is an 18 credit, graduate certificate offered in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education and Human Development and Clayton Early Learning with generous support from the Buell Foundation. The goal of this program is to support existing and emerging Colorado leaders in the field of early care and education to become effective agents for change, aligning values, voice, and actions to create equity, opportunity, and educational excellence for all young children and families in Colorado. Additional information about the program can be found in this video.In celebration of 10 years of BECLP, this video highlights our story of developing leaders across Colorado.

Certificate Structure

The BECLP offers a diverse cohort structure with ongoing individualized student support, a summer leadership symposium and retreat, and a mentorship experience. The courses follow a standards based curriculum and are taught by co-instructors using a hybrid model.

Course Schedule

  • Courses will be offered to a cohort of 20 Buell Fellows in a hybrid format off-campus at Clayton Early Learning unless noted otherwise.
  • Fellows complete the program in fourteen months, with each cohort beginning in May and concluding in July of the following year. 
  • Fellows attend a full-day Orientation and five-day summer leadership symposium and retreat.
  • Courses will meet in person one weekend per month at Clayton Early Learning unless noted otherwise, with online work between in person meetings.
  • Friday evening classes are from 4:00pm to 9:00pm and Saturday classes are from 8:00am to 5:00pm with a one hour lunch break, with the exception of one Friday class from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Application Details & Information Sessions

Minimum qualifications to apply to the program include:

  • Conferred Bachelor’s degree
  • Direct experience working with and/or on behalf of children birth to eight and their families in the field of early childhood health, mental health, family support, or early learning that has informed leadership practice.

Applications are due in their entirety December 6, 2019.

A link to the application will be available here in September.

NOTE: Applicants are not able to save partially completed applications to return to at another time. All information must be completed in its entirety at one time. It is best to preview the application, compile all necessary information, and then return to the application to complete.

Applications need to be submitted in December to be considered for the cohort that begins the following calendar year. Written applications will be reviewed and select candidates will be invited to interview in February. After the conclusion of interviews, 20 applicants will be selected to the cohort in March.

Information Sessions will be hosted in November.

These information sessions will be an opportunity for those interested in the program to meet Buell faculty and learn more about the program and the application process. Interested candidates can attend an information session via video conference.


Generous funding by the Buell Foundation provides for each admitted student (Buell Fellow) to receive a scholarship for the 18 required credits. Fellows will incur costs throughout the year related to books, travel, and lodging while attending classes in Denver. 

Meet the 12th Cohort

We are pleased to announce the 12th Cohort of Buell Fellows! The Buell Foundation in partnership with University of Colorado Denver and Clayton Early Learning have invited another set of diverse early childhood leaders to join the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program to begin in May 2019. This impressive group of women leaders are serving in a variety of professional roles across early learning, health, and wellness. Through a highly intentional process, twenty candidates were selected to join the 2019-2020 cohort and 18 have committed to join the program. We are grateful to the alumni and community partners who encouraged and supported all of the candidates to apply this year. Seeing the commitment and passion so many have for leading change within their communities and across the state of Colorado is inspiring. We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to teach and learn with this group of early childhood leaders this year!

Click here to see the newest Buell Fellows for 2019-2020.

Related Degree Programs

MA Early Childhood Education

Administrative Leadership in Policy Studies MA

Buell Fellows can transfer 15 of the 18-credits earned after completion of the Buell program to either of these two master's degree.

For More Information

Please call us with questions at 720-639-9229 or email us at

Buell Early Childhood Leadership Courses Term Offered
ECED 5330: Introduction to Transformational Leadership – This course outlines the evolution of leadership theory over the past half-century and immerses students in an exploration of the values, leadership capacities, and practices that define transformational leadership as they apply to effecting change to support the success and well-being of young children and their families and communities. Summer 
ECED 5311: Leadership for Equity in Early Childhood Programs - This course is designed to provide early childhood leaders with an understanding of the equity issues present in early childhood systems and how these issues are reflected in individual identities and programs. Theories from the academic community will be used to facilitate student growth in understanding how these issues interact with them at a personal, professional, and leadership level. Summer
ECED 5301: Child Development: Theory to Leadership Practices – This course will provide an introduction to theories of child development from an interdisciplinary perspective. It examines development in the cognitive and socio-emotional domains utilizing biological, social, psychological and anthropological perspectives and how theory is used to shape program models. Fall
ECED 5312: Leading Learning Organizations - This course will deepen student’s capacity to lead effectively and learn how to create an adaptive, flexible learning organization well positioned for delivering effective and sustainable programs and services on behalf of young children and families. Fall 
ECED 5350: Policy and Advocacy in Early Childhood - This course provides the historical and political context of early care and education in the United States. Local, state and federal mandates, public laws, and legislative procedures and initiatives will be investigated. Spring
ECED 5320: Community-Based Action Research: Capstone - This course is designed to foster the leader’s appreciation, skills, and practice as a participatory action researcher. Students will learn these concepts by leading a participatory action-research project in their community around a challenging early childhood issue and will present their action research project culminating at a Capstone Celebration. Spring

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