The early childhood special education (ECSE) program leads to a Colorado teacher license in ECSE specialist. If you hold a current CO teaching license, information on adding an endorsement is available here. The program prepares leaders who will enrich the life experience of young children (ages birth to 8 years) with special needs and their families through a variety of professional roles.
The ECE program focuses on building and supporting learning and development of all children across inclusive settings in the natural environments where they live, grow and learn. Our program emphasizes family-centered practices, culturally sustaining teaching and is inspired by the potential of all children and families. The ECSE program is interdisciplinary in focus, drawing on university resources and the clinical expertise of various community professionals. There is a strong emphasis on fieldwork and practicum experiences in both regular and special education concentrations. Field experiences are a part of each course and provide an opportunity for each student to gain knowledge, abilities and dispositions while interacting with children, families, program staff and community agencies. Practicum experiences are designed to allow students to apply knowledge and practice skills in a closely supervised environment.
The early childhood special education licensure program provides specialized preparation in:
- language and literacy development
- child growth and development
- teaching and learning approaches with young children
- learning, development and education grounded in culture, context and identity of young children
- research methods for education
- early childhood curriculum and program development for culturally and linguistically diverse inclusive classrooms
- collaborative program development and supports for children with families and communities
- leadership of programs and early childhood professional for practice, advocacy, and social change
- screening and assessment of young children
- individualized and systematic supports for children diagnosed with disabilities
- classroom supports and instructional strategies to promote social emotional competence
- working as a collaborative member of a transdisciplinary team
- high and low incidence disabilities
- education supports for children identified with disabilities or chronic illness
Classes are listed in recommended order. Prerequisites: Please note that a recent Child Development course as well as an Initial Practicum are prerequisites, determined on an individual basis at admissions.
|ECED 5060||Working with Families and Communities||3|
|ECED 5010||Curriculum in Early Childhood Education 1||3|
|ECED 6100||Medical and Physiological Aspects of Development 1||3|
|ECED 5040||Administrative Seminar||3|
|ECED 5200||Screening and Assessment of Young Children 1||3|
|ECED 5080||Language and Literacy in Young Children 1||3|
|ECED 6200||Early Intervention Strategies 1||3|
|ECED 5070||Social Competence and Classroom Supports 1||3|
|ECED 5650||Dual Language Learners Learning and Development||3|
|ECED 6010||Literacy and Mathematics K-2||3|
|Total credit hours are divided between three practicum levels|
|Early Childhood Special Education Infancy Practicum|
|Early Childhood Special Education Preschool Practicum|
|Early Childhood Special Education Primary Practicum|
Students must complete ECED 5010, 5070, 5080, 5200, 6100, and 6200 prior to enrolling in any practicum course, or have faculty permission to take their first practicum course concurrent to their final prerequisite course.
Requirements to add a MA
ECSE Specialist License (requirements above) plus MA
|RSEM 5080||Research In Schools||3|
|ECED 5850||Capstone in Early Childhood Education||3|
|ECSE Specialist License plus MA - 42 credit hours|
Fieldwork and Practicum Requirements
Prior experience with young children is required for enrollment in the program. Prospective applicants who do not have field experience can apply for and, if accepted, start the program while working (or volunteering) in a setting with young children. If students are not concurrently working in an ECE setting, they are required to enroll in ECED 6911 Initial Practicum and Field Experience in Early Childhood Education, and will be supported in finding a placement. It is recommended that students do so within their first two semesters. Since course assignments in all program options include requirements of observing and/or working with young children and their families, students must consider this in advance and plan for field-based opportunities.
For the ECSE specialist initial license, a total of 800 hours of fieldwork/practica is required. Approximately 300 hours of fieldwork are associated with course assignments; 500 hours of intense, culminating practica occur toward the end of the second year of study.
Program Requirements and Courses
To complete the Early Childhood Education program and earn a master's degree and/or license, students must complete the appropriate course work as outlined. All courses require a grade of B- or better and a 3.0 minimum GPA is required for graduation.
During the fall and spring semesters, all hybrid and remote courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening for up to 3 hours per week over a 16-week semester. In the summer semester, eight-week sessions are offered. Courses are offered in various formats, including hybrid, remote, or asynchronous online classes.
For practicing full-time teachers, we recommend taking two courses each fall and spring semester, and up to two courses each summer. If you prefer a less intensive course load, we recommend one course each fall and spring semester. Please review with your faculty advisor your preferred plan.
Students must complete their programs within seven years, maintaining a GPA of 3.0. Students typically take four courses each calendar year. Failure to enroll over three contiguous semesters will result in a requirement to submit readmission materials.