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Teacher Education / Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-Age 6) B.S.

All students must meet the University Requirements.

All students must meet the College Requirements.

The Early Childhood Special Education (ECSP) program is designed to provide students with the perspectives and skills necessary to work with all young children from birth through kindergarten and their families in a range of family-centered, culturally responsive, inclusionary and developmentally appropriate settings. These include the abilities to:

  • Promote children’s learning and development within natural environments and/or inclusive settings;
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of family structures, preferences, and participation levels;
  • Offer instructional practices that are guided by and sensitive to the family and child, supported by meaningful assessment information, and linked to developmentally and/or individually appropriate curricula;
  • Foster collaborative relationships with family members, peers of the same discipline, and individuals across disciplines.

The ECSP program builds upon the early childhood competencies obtained through the Birth-Gr3 Early Childhood program and involves a large field-based component which makes significant use of the wide array of early intervention and early childhood services and supports within the campus community (UVM Campus Children’s Center and Trinity Children’s Center) as well as throughout the local community and region.

Major Requirements

ECSP students complete both a sequence of professional courses related to early childhood and early childhood special education as well as an academic major concentration in an arts and science discipline.

The ECSP Professional Preparation sequence begins with a series of course work that build the foundation and skills for any educator working with young children and/or their families. This sequence begins with two foundation courses followed by a series of professional courses. The two foundation courses are HDFS 060 and EDEC 063. HDFS 060 examines the context of development and in so doing establishes the foundation for recognizing that development is an interdependent and intertwined process. EDEC 063 serves to introduce students to the basic principles and research findings in the discipline of child development and how this knowledge can form the basis for educational practice.

The first professional course (EDEC 001) provides the theoretical rationale for the ECSP approach to early childhood special education as well as considerable opportunity to practice techniques for observing young children’s development. Observational skills are an essential component of the ECSP program since an awareness of children’s interests and investigations forms the basis for the development and provision of appropriate educational experiences for young children.

Next students take a three course block (EDEC 101, EDEC 122, and EDEC 103). EDEC 101 allows students to develop strategies for the observation, documentation and development of curriculum in early education from a social-constructivist perspective. During EDEC 122, students explore the process of curriculum development and documentation in Early Childhood Education and the role of teacher, peer, and classroom on children’s development. EDEC 103 provides students with an internship experience combined with two seminars. 

The next professional course (EDEC 139) is a full semester full-time student teaching experience in either one of the rooms of the UVM Campus Children’s Center or in a community placement. Over the course of the semester, students, under the supervision and mentorship of the classroom teachers, gradually assume more responsibility for all aspects of the curriculum as well as contact with families.

Once students complete EDEC 139, their professional course work becomes increasingly focused on learning to design services and supports for young children with diverse abilities and their families. ECSP 202 focuses on the characteristics of and interventions for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten children who have disabilities and their families. The course reviews the nature of these disabilities and the strategies that are used for interventions. ECSP 211 covers the various assessment strategies that are used in early childhood special education to help determine eligibility, priorities, resources, concerns of the family, and strengths and areas of growth for the child; the most effective ways to best support the child’s developmental and educational growth; and includes a 30 hour field placement at Trinity Children’s Center which is an inclusive program that includes children with disabilities and English language learners. ECSP 210 focuses on curriculum planning to meet the needs of young children with disabilities and their families within home, center, and/or other settings (play groups) and includes a 30 hour field placement at Trinity Children’s Center.

The ECSP Professional Preparation sequence is completed with ECSP 187, a student teaching experience working with young children with diverse abilities (ages 0-6) and their families. ECSP 220 is a seminar that accompanies ECSP 187 and provides students further support as they complete their student teaching experience.

The course of study consists of a minimum of 120 credits which are divided into the following categories:

  • University Course Requirements
  • General Education Courses
  • Professional Preparation Sequence
  • Major Concentration (student must consult advisor for options) 
  • Diversity Courses
  • Electives1

The number of electives depends on the degree of course overlap in the general education, major, and diversity requirements. It is possible to have one course fulfill two requirements but the credits only count once.


A Possible Curriculum in Early Childhood Special Education

First YearCredits
EDEC 001 Intro Early Care & Education4  
EDSP 005 D2:Iss Aff Persons W/Disabil3  
ENGS 001 Written Expression3  
EDEC 063 Child Development3  
General Education Courses3 3
EDEC 122 Fundamentals of EC Education  3
EDTE 056 D1:Lang Policy Issues,Race&Sch  3
HDFS 060 Family Context of Development  3
Major Concentration  3
Year Total: 16 15
EDEC 101 Multiple Roles of Tcher in ECE3  
EDEC 103 Early Childhood Practicum4  
General Education Course3  
Major Concentration6 3
EDEC 139 Early Childhood Internship  9
EDEC 140 Early Childhood Seminar  3
Year Total: 16 15
ECSP 202 D2:Introduction to EI/ECSE (D2)3  
ECSP 211 Assessment in EI/ECSE4  
Major Concentration6 3
General Education Courses3 6
ECSP 210 Curriculum in EI/ECSE  4
Year Total: 16 13
Major Concentration12  
ECSP 220 Seminar in EI/ECSE  3
EDEC 187 K-3 Studnt Teachng Internship  12
Year Total: 15 15
Total Credits in Sequence: 121

The number of electives depends on the degree of course overlap in the general education, major, and diversity requirements. It is possible to have one course fulfill two requirements but the credits only count once.