What Is a Special Education in Early Childhood Education Dual Degree?
Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education is offered by the College of Education. This degree prepares aspiring teacher candidates to pursue a career devoted to helping young children strive to reach their full potential as learners and community members. Students who earn an early childhood special education degree are well-positioned to recognize the signs of developmental delays and disabilities, and to work with families, schools and other stakeholders to meet the needs of these exceptional children.
This dual bachelor’s degree combines the specializations of early childhood education and special education. Teacher candidates explore the education of children with and without exceptionalities, as well as concepts of child, family and community collaboration and advocacy.
The early childhood special education degree is regionally accredited and approved by the Arizona Department of Education. Graduates are qualified to pursue a dual teaching certification credential in Arizona.
Why Earn an Early Childhood Special Education Bachelors from GCU?
GCU’s early childhood special education degree emphasizes the value of servant leadership and Christian ethics. Aspiring teacher candidates may pursue a career working with children during a critical period in their development, when the right role models can encourage these young learners to embrace creativity, strive toward literacy and develop an enduring love of learning.
GCU supports a modern and diverse student body. This degree offers flexible learning options to suit the needs of our students. Both online and on-campus classes are available.
What Will I Study as a Special Education Major?
Early childhood special education majors at GCU benefit from an in-depth and comprehensive curriculum that imparts essential knowledge and critical classroom skills, including the following:
- Early language and literacy development
- Social and emotional development
- Behavioral interventions
- Classroom management
- Learning strategies
- Instructional methods
- Assessments, evaluations and progress reporting
- Child, family and community collaboration
- Educational advocacy for children with and without exceptionalities
This bachelor’s degree program includes 235 field experience hours in special education, inclusive and general education for pre-K up to grade 3 classrooms. An emphasis is placed on pre-K experiences. All teacher candidates must successfully complete a 16-week student teaching experience comprised of eight weeks in a K-3 special education classroom and eight weeks in a K-3 general education classroom.
What Are the Career Options for Early Childhood Special Education Teachers?
There are many possible career paths for individuals with a background in early childhood special education. This degree could equip you to work in any of these settings:
- Early childhood education centers
- Public and private preschool/pre-K
- Public and private elementary school
- Nonprofit organizations
- Educational policy organizations
Some of the jobs that may be directly related to an early childhood special education degree could include:
- Teaching positions
- Special education advocacy roles
- Special education program coordinators
- School administration roles
The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education degree program at Grand Canyon University leads to initial teacher licensure. This program meets licensure requirements in most states, including Arizona. Teacher candidates are required to obtain all necessary certifications from the state in which they plan to teach.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Program Core Courses
This course focuses on the fundamental basis of the field of early childhood education and early childhood special education. This course includes historical and philosophical foundations, current practices, ethics, models of teaching, and application in early childhood/special education settings. Professional responsibilities for early childhood/early childhood special education educators are explored. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course examines the history of current special education laws, and professional practices. Emphasis is placed on Child Find, assessment, identification, and implementation of services. Candidates also incorporate data-based decision making and utilization of assistive technology in instruction. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This is the first in a two-course sequence designed for prospective elementary school teachers. Concepts include set theory, functions, numeration systems, number theory and properties of the natural numbers, integers, rational numbers, ratios, proportions, decimals, and percents, with an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking.
This is the second in a two-course sequence designed for prospective elementary school teachers. Concepts include elementary probability, data analysis, descriptive statistics, geometry of shapes in two and three dimensions, congruence and similarity, measurement, and geometric transformations, with an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking. Prerequisite: MAT-150.
This course is a survey of Arizona history and government, as well as American government. It meets the teacher certification requirement for Arizona government and American government.
This course examines child growth and development, including milestones regarding physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. This development is considered within the context of health, safety, and nutrition for young children with and without exceptionalities. Family education and communication are also emphasized. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course explores historical foundations, theories, and models of child development, including family characteristics, diversity, multicultural factors, and community relationships. The course emphasizes community organizations that support and assist children with exceptionalities and their families. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course explores the foundations for early language and literacy development for children Birth to Age 8/Grade 3. Teacher candidates focus on the essential components of literacy and communication methods in early childhood special education, utilizing assistive technology to enhance communication. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
In this course, teacher candidates continue to examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion and other instructional programs for English language learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement. They plan, deliver, and evaluate instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.
Teacher candidates spend time in an inclusive Birth-Pre-K setting observing, working with small groups of children with and without exceptionalities, and interviewing teachers. Emphasis will be placed on the management and guidance of young children, and child initiated learning. Special attention is given to the effect of children’s abilities, social and emotional needs, and characteristics on development and learning across the span of birth through age 2. The practicum/field experiences for this course are in a general education or inclusive Birth - Pre-K setting. Practicum/field experience hours: 60. Fingerprint clearance required.
This course examines instructional methodologies for teaching children with and without exceptionalities, emphasizing instruction in language arts, social studies, and the arts. Candidates consider the developmental continuum of literacy instruction based on student data and individual needs. The practicum/field experiences for this course are in an inclusive K-3 setting. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required.
This course examines instructional methodologies for teaching children with and without exceptionalities with an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) content instruction. Candidates develop a unit plan that incorporates all STEM components and use data to identify areas to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual students. The practicum/field experiences for this course are in an inclusive K-3 setting. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required.
In this course, teacher candidates examine assessment, evaluation, and early identification for young children to develop IFSP’s and IEP's, Birth to Age 8. The processes of using data in assessing, monitoring, and reporting the progress of young children’s performances are investigated, in addition to early identification of children with special needs. The practicum/field experiences for this course are in an inclusive K-3 setting. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required.
Teacher candidates spend time in an inclusive Birth-Pre-K setting observing, working with small groups, and teaching. Emphasis will be placed on individual education planning, implementing, and evaluating developmentally appropriate curricula, instruction, and adaptations based on knowledge of children with exceptionalities, the family, and the community. Special attention is placed on exceptionalities and medical conditions that influence care, resources, and priorities for children ages 2 through 4. The practicum/field experiences for this course are in an inclusive or developmental Birth – Pre-K setting. Practicum/field experience hours: 60. Fingerprint clearance required.
In this writing intensive course, teacher candidates study how to teach a diverse population of students by examining the foundations and dimensions of social justice in education, social constructs, privilege, prejudice, and oppression with the goal of becoming culturally competent educators. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This writing intensive course uses theories of child guidance and development for young children with and without exceptionalities as a basis for creating a safe and supportive classroom environment. Candidates create a classroom management plan and use student data to create a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP). The practicum/field experiences for this course are in an inclusive K-3 setting. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required.
Teacher candidates will examine how to teach foundational skills to develop proficient readers with the capacity to comprehend texts across a range of texts and disciplines. Teacher candidates will build additional knowledge regarding print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency to promote early literacy and independent readers. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-210 or ECS-125.
Session A is one of two 8 week sessions of the student teaching experience. Teacher candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of a Student Teaching Performance of Evaluation (STEP). Fingerprint clearance required.
This course supports the early childhood special education clinical field experience through an eight-week full-time student teaching experience in a kindergarten through age 8/grade 3 early childhood special education classroom. Candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Performance Template. Fingerprint clearance required.
Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview. New modern classrooms, suite-style residence halls, popular dining options, resort-style swimming pools and a focus on creating a dynamic student life make GCU a top choice for high school graduates and transfer students. Exciting events, well-known guest speakers and Division I athletics round out the traditional student experience. Our welcoming campus community is the perfect place to find your purpose.
Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.
* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.