Boulder Journey School (BJS)

Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program (BJSTEP)

University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver)

Colorado Department of Education (CDE)

The BJSTEP is a progressive, innovative program that is continually evolving; thus the information below, including program structure and fees, are subject to change at any time.

What is the name of the master's degree?

Early Childhood Education

What are the dates of the 2022-2023 program?

The program dates are June 2, 2023 - August 1, 2024

What is the tuition for the BJSTEP?

Total Tuition = Approximately $22,000

Will I need to purchase textbooks?

While there are required texts for some courses and some of these texts will be used across multiple courses, program administrators have worked hard to keep costs at a bare minimum, thus almost 100% of all books are accessible through the Auraria Online library.  Please click HERE to access the required booklist for the upcoming school year. For someone interested in applying to this program for a future year, the booklist is subject to change. Each course instructor will communicate independently about required readings.

Am I eligible for Financial Aid?

Yes. Students are eligible to apply for Financial Aid through the FAFSA process. Applicants and/or accepted students can submit a FAFSA for the 22-23 school year (for the summer course) and 23-24 school year for the remaining 12 months. If you are applying for aid for both, you will submit two FAFSA applications.

Are scholarships available?

Please feel free to peruse the information regarding general scholarships and Early Childhood Education scholarships on the CU Denver website as well as TEACH Colorado for scholarships specific to those getting licensed. Please note there are specific eligibility requirements for each scholarship, which may include being an active CU Denver student. Students may also find various scholarships outside of CU Denver and TEACH Colorado.

Does this program include a paid practicum?

Yes. Everyone accepted to the BJSTEP completes a 12-month paid position as a team teacher, alongside a Mentor Teacher. Resident Teachers earn $13.56 per hour for approximately 28-35 hours per week, with the potential earnings of approximately between $17,000 -  $20,000 before taxes. Specific schedules and weekly hours will vary.


What are the prerequisites to apply to the BJSTEP?

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (with any field of study) or in their final year of their degree program and need to pass the ECE Praxis #5024 exam before the start of the program, but it is not required that you have taken the exam at the time of applying to the program.

What is the first step to apply?

Click here!

What is the application review process?

The application review timeline occurs on a rolling basis.  Once an application has been received, program administrators begin the review process.

What are the objectives of this program?

The following professional qualities were developed based on what we have learned are the most marketable qualities that will make graduates successful in any context they find themselves in as well as in alignment with the  Colorado Teacher Quality Standards The BJSTEP is designed to support Resident Teachers in cultivating the following professional qualities that will support them in their journey as educators: Professional Character, Reflective Observation, Creativity, Resiliency & Humility, Communication & Collaboration, Courage, Critical Knowledge, Curiosity, Literacy of Technology, and Visionary Leadership.

How do the BJSTEP administrators make decisions regarding classroom placements?

The placement process is very complex and BJSTEP administrators consider many factors. Resident Teachers may be placed with any age group (infants - pre-kindergarten) at Boulder Journey School or one of our partner practicum sites.  All age groups and practicum sites offer an extraordinary, unique experience and the potential to develop the intended professional qualities listed above.

What if I want to plan a trip or event during the year?

The BJSTEP is an accelerated 14-month program, so missing parts of this program can lead to falling behind in program requirements. If you have a big event(s) currently scheduled for the upcoming year, please  consider applying to this program at another time. Any trips during the year should be planned between Fall and Winter Break.

Can I work another job in addition to the paid teaching practicum while completing this program?

This is an accelerated, full-time program, requiring between 28-35 weekly residency teaching hours, attendance in weekly seminars and online course meetings, as well as time for working on graduate level assignments. Additional part time work may not be feasible (depending on the individual and the individual’s unique situation).

What is required through the Colorado Department of Education before the start of the program?

For those who do not already have an existing teaching license, it is required to apply for an Alternative Teaching License - Early Childhood Education (0-8) prior to the start of the program. The first step in applying for this license is to pass the Praxis #5024. If you already hold a teaching license, further instructions will be provided.  

Is childcare offered for those who are also parents of young children?

Upon acceptance, a Resident Teacher can request childcare, and the site Director or Administrator will discuss whether childcare is offered to employees, the costs involved, and if space is available.

What  can I expect during the 12-month residency?

Resident Teachers will work in the classroom alongside a mentor 4-5 days per week and attend any school related events. In addition, they will attend  weekly resident cohort evening/weekend zoom & in person seminars, engage in coursework, in-services, workshops, and/or field trips, totalling over 225 instruction hours. Note about online courses: Resident teachers will be joined by fellow Resident Teachers as well as educators from around the world for many of the 10 online courses (which will include a combination of weekly meetings and synchronous Zooms scheduled on evenings/weekends. Each Instructor has different timelines, as well as different assignment workloads.

What does the year at a glance look like?





Residency Practicum

Completing pre-residency employment packet

Work alongside a mentor teacher,approximately 28-35 hours per week

Work alongside a mentor teacher,approximately 28-35 hours per week

Work alongside a mentor teacher,approximately 28-35 hours per week

Online Courses

Summer Block

(8 weeks)

ECED 6320: A Colorado Interpretation of the Reggio Approach

Fall Block 1 (8 weeks)

LDFS 6400: Observation, Documentation and Assessment

ECED 6350: Literacy and the Hundred Languages of Children

Fall Block 2 (8 weeks)

ECED 6300:Contextual Curriculum 1

ECED 6330: Supportive Social Learning

Spring Block 1 (8 weeks)

ECED 6310: Contextual Curriculum 2

RSEM 6500: Teacher as Researcher

Spring Block 2 (8 weeks)

ECED 6340 Messing about with STEM

LDFS 6420 The Environment as the Third Teacher

Summer Block (8 weeks)

ECED 6360 Children and Teachers as Change Agents

Additional Residency Components

Pre-Residency Readings


Meetings with mentors

Fall Professional Development

Weekly evening cohort meetings

Literacy and Assessment workshops

Spring Professional Development Day

Meetings with mentors

Weekly evening  cohort meetings

Student/Professor Study Group In Reggio Emilia, Italy

Praxis 5205

Summer Conference

Culminating Experience

Program completion

What materials do I need to start this program?

You will need a A Mac or PC laptop computer, a required pre-residency book and a tool to take video and/or photos.

What careers am I qualified for upon completion of this program?

Graduates work in a variety of settings upon completion of this program. Graduates from the program hold a variety of jobs, ranging from public to private sectors, early childhood programs, K-3, higher education, parent outreach, leadership and advocacy positions, etc. Graduates of this program also become a part of the worldwide BJSTEP Alumni Network, which connects graduates with one another all over the world! Job opportunities are an integral part of this network.

Will I learn about the schools for young children in Reggio Emilia, Italy during this program?

Yes. Since 1995, Boulder Journey School educators and BJSTEP administrators have been inspired by the work from the world-renowned schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, leading to an intensive study of their philosophy and pedagogy. These philosophical and pedagogical values are not only the focus of the work we seek to accomplish with children, but also serve as the underlying values that construct the learning experience for adults throughout the program.  

What types of technologies are used?

The BJSTEP program uses Google Drive as the main system for communication. Before the program, BJSTEP administrators will send an introduction/tutorial for everyone to familiarize themselves with using Google Drive. Additionally, CU Denver uses Canvas  as the learning management system for all courses. While each Instructor will have their own style, you can expect to use Canvas as your primary place to engage with your individual work and ongoing collaborations with peers and instructors. Other digital tools such as Google documents/slides, padlet, flip, and film/video technology will be used throughout the program.

How long has the BJSTEP been in existence?

The BJSTEP began in 1999 and evolves each year as we critically examine and assess aspects of the program at different scales to ensure that it remains innovative to the current conditions and complexities of our time.  

What are the requirements for program completion?

To complete the BJSTEP, Resident Teachers are required to complete a minimum of 1,000 practicum hours and fulfill all responsibilities as outlined by each practicum site. Resident Teachers also complete all instructional hours by attending and fulfilling the requirements for the BJSTEP, including coursework, in-services, seminars, workshops, and/or field trips, resulting in over 225 instructional hours. Resident Teachers are required to submit an archive of all of the work completed during the program.  Resident Teachers are also required to participate in a culminating experience at the end of the program. For Resident Teachers who will be obtaining an Initial Early Childhood Education Colorado Teaching License, all necessary paperwork must be completed by the start of the program, which includes passing the Praxis 5024, and passing the Praxis 5205 by the end of the program.

What information is available if I am relocating to Colorado?

Resident Teachers relocating to Colorado for the program will have the opportunity to connect with other Residency cohort members also relocating. Below you will find helpful information regarding the move. Additionally, please reach out to program administrators for any questions around the relocation process.

Map of Boulder

Surrounding Areas 

Lafayette, Niwot, Longmont, Lyons, Louisville, Gunbarrel, Broomfield, Superior, Denver

Housing Helpers   


Boulder Housing Partners


Apartment Guide

Please Note: There are many different types of housing options: renting a room in a house, renting a house with multiple people, renting an apartment in a complex or through a private party, etc. The above link only lists availability in apartment complexes.

Social Media Groups -

You can look for housing possibilities through joining various social media groups.

The BJSTEP administrators have not had personal experiences with specific housing options, nor can they recommend specific housing options. The list above is only intended as a resource.

What if I decide not to participate in the program after acceptance?

Once accepted to the BJSTEP, a Resident Teacher will have a period of time to confirm their acceptance (see program fee above). If someone is accepted to the BJSTEP and decides not to participate in the program for the school year that they have been accepted, they can apply again in the future if they want to be considered for another year. Only in cases of extenuating circumstances after acceptance and after the program deposit fee is paid, deferment for one year can be requested. A written request and supporting documentation of the extenuating circumstance must be submitted to BJSTEP administrators as a first step in the process.

*If you are currently employed or completing a residency at another location, more specific details related to your context will be shared.