College of Education *
College of Education *

Departments of
Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education
Human Development and Quantitative Methodology

Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education
(Dual Certification Program)


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Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood (Pre-K-3rd) & Early Childhood Special Education (birth through age 8) (EC/ECSE) is an intensive, cross-departmental (Departments of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education and Human Development and Quantitative Methodology) teacher education program for individuals who are interested in teaching young children with and without disabilities.
The UMD EC/ECSE program is evidence-based, building on the research emanating from its two sponsoring departments, on development, learning, pedagogy, and disabilities. In addition to the growing numbers of young children with recognized disabilities, a unique focus of the program is an emphasis on preparing teachers to work with young children who are culturally and linguistically diverse and at environmental risk due to poverty, immigrant status, and other contextual factors. Such factors add an additional set of challenges to narrowing the achievement gap among young children.

Mission Statement. The mission of the Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education program is to prepare knowledgeable and skilled teachers who utilize theory, research and pedagogy, to respectfully and responsively teach and positively affect the lives of children, with and without disabilities, who are diverse in culture and socioeconomic status.

Rationale for the Program. Based upon strong departmental research agendas, as well as national and state standards for Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education teacher education programs, the EC/ECSE curriculum has been developed around 6 core themes:

    • Child Development, (typically developing and atypically developing), Learning and Intervention
    • Children in the context of families and communities
    • Assessment (developmental and classroom-based)
    • Integrated content courses focused on Common Core State Standards
    • Culturally responsive and differentiated pedagogy
    • Inquiry and reflection

Program Curriculum. The Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education (EC/ECSEE) program is divided into two phases: Pre-Professional and Professional course-work. During the first two years, freshman and sophomore students complete a series of courses to build a foundation of EC/ECSE. Upon completion of these courses, students apply for formal admission to the EC/ECSE Professional program. During the Professional program, students continue to take courses while moving into the internship phases. Throughout the program students have the opportunity to be placed in several field experiences culminating in a year-long internship in both an inclusive Early Childhood classroom and an Early Childhood Special Education setting.
In addition to content based methods and child development courses, as well as an action research course, students will complete a number of courses focused on special education and learning of young children who face challenges such as poverty, immigrant status and other contextual factors. It should be noted that although some courses focus solely on issues related to young children with disabilities (e.g., assessment for special education eligibility), most courses include strategies for enhancing the participation and learning of young children with disabilities (e.g., Universal Design for Learning).

Practicum Experiences
Application of knowledge and skill development will occur during three semesters of early field experiences followed by internships in culturally diverse, Title I Professional Development School (PDS) in an urban community or Early Childhood Center (for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with special needs).

Professional Program. The Professional Program in Teacher Education is the phase in which all Education students take advanced courses in teaching strategies, methods of teaching and educational support. Also this is the part of the program where students complete their field experience through their teaching internship. Students will go through an application process in order to start taking the professional courses.