Specialize in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
Prepare to make a positive difference in the lives of those who require early childhood special education by earning your Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education at Grand Canyon University. This degree program, which leads to initial teacher licensure, is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field. With a master’s in early childhood special education, graduates are prepared to successfully transition to a career in education.
This degree is offered by the College of Education. Aspiring ECSE teachers closely examine instructional and assessment methodologies, as well as the psychological, emotional and developmental needs of young children. Candidates will explore field experience opportunities in both inclusive learning environments and special education birth-pre-k and K-3 environments. CGU candidates are trained to serve as effective advocates who positively influence children, families and communities in which they teach.
The ECSE curriculum is aligned with the standards of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
Study Diverse Learning Abilities for Growth and Development
Children with learning differences need extra support to reach their full potential. Graduates of this degree program are prepared to apply evidence-based pedagogical methods that support young learners as they develop crucial academic and life skills. Students earning an early childhood special education degree will acquire the following core competencies:
- Understand instructional methodologies for teaching children STEM subjects, including inquiry-based and hands-on learning activities with an eye toward differentiated learning outcomes
- Use technology to support receptive and expressive language, early literacy development and communication methods
- Use data to assess, monitor and report on the progress of young children in light of their IFSPs and IEPs
- Know how to teach foundational skills to develop proficient readers
- Utilize community resources to advocate for children and their families
In addition, all students are required to complete practicum/field experiences and student teaching experiences in both general education and special education settings.
What’s the Difference Between Licensure and Non-Licensure Programs?
All states have established eligibility criteria for teachers, including educational and credentialing requirements. Students who graduate from an education degree program that leads to licensure are eligible to obtain a state license to teach in any public or private school. Students who graduate from a non-licensure program may still be eligible to teach in limited settings, which may include certain charter, private or early learning school environments.
This early childhood special education degree leads to dual certification teaching credentials in Arizona; the Early Childhood Special Education, Birth through Grade 3, and Early Childhood Education, Birth-Age 8 or Grade 3 certificates. Students who wish to teach in other states are responsible for checking licensure requirements, which can vary from state to state. Students who are not interested in pursuing teaching licensure may consider applying to GCU’s non-licensure Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.
Advocate and Educate Others with Your Expertise
Early childhood special education is the key for giving every child a solid foundation for lifelong success. This master’s in early childhood special education prepares aspiring ECSE teachers to make a positive impact by working with children from birth through the third grade. Graduates may pursue teaching opportunities in public or private schools.
Program Core Courses
This course begins by acquainting candidates with the GCU learning management system, while preparing them to be successful graduate-level students and future teachers. The course places primary focus on the fundamental basis of the field of early childhood education and early childhood special education, Birth to Age 5/Pre-K to K to Age 8/Grade 3, including historical and philosophical foundations, current practices, ethics, models of teaching, and application in early childhood education/early childhood special education settings. Additionally, professional preparation requirements and professional development opportunities in the field are explored. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
Candidates examine the United States Constitution, and the constitution of the State of Arizona. From this foundational review, candidates will explore application of the United States Constitution and the constitution of the State of Arizona in educational contexts. Practicum/field experience hours: 3. Fingerprint clearance not required.
Teacher candidates 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 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: 6. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-530 or ECS-501 or ELM-555.
This course explores child growth and development, including developmental milestones that must be met with regards to physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. The course emphasizes health, safety, and nutrition with a focus on special health care needs for young children. The candidate will use data to analyze the development of the whole child and consider best practices for family involvement. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course examines historical foundations, theories, and models of child development, including family characteristics, diversity, multicultural factors, and community relationships. Teacher candidates identify community organizations that support children with exceptionalities and their families. Candidates also identify ways to use those resources to advocate for children and their families. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course examines the foundations for early language development for children, from Birth to Age 8/Grade 3. Teacher candidates focus on the use of technology with receptive and expressive language, early literacy development, and communication methods in early childhood education/early childhood special education. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course provides teacher candidates with a robust view of assessment, evaluation, and early identification for young children to develop IFSPs and IEP's, Birth to Age 8. Data are used to assess, monitor, and report the progress of young children, to include 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 research theories of child development and consider the characteristics of young children with and without exceptionalities and how they manifest in the classroom. The course emphasizes social/emotional development and behavioral/crisis intervention, with a focus on evidence-based practices for creating safe, inclusive, respectful, challenging, and positive classroom environments. 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 research instructional methodologies to include inquiry-based and hands-on learning for teaching children with and without exceptionalities with an emphasis on STEM content (science, technology, engineering, and math) instruction. Candidates use data to differentiate learning outcomes to meet the needs of individual students, and develop a unit plan that incorporates all STEM components. 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 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 examine how to teach foundational skills to develop proficient readers with the capacity to comprehend texts across a range of texts and disciplines. This course examines instructional methodologies for teaching children with and without exceptionalities with an emphasis on language arts, social studies, and the arts instruction. Candidates use data to differentiate instruction to meet the individual needs of students. 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 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.
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.
This course supports the early childhood clinical field experience through an eight-week full-time student teaching experience in a kindergarten through age 8/grade 3 general education classroom. Candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of a Teacher Work Sample (TWS). Fingerprint clearance required. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in POS and content area; a 3.0 GPA; successful completion of state mandated basic skills and content area exams; and approval and placement by Office of Field Experience. Arizona residents will be required to take the Arizona professional knowledge and subject knowledge exams for Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. All paperwork for student teaching must be submitted by the due date the semester prior to student teaching.
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.
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.
Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.
* 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.
* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program's published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution's catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length .Online and Evening program disclosures (25 months) Additional Disclosures
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.