University of Vermont

2011-12 Online Catalogue

Teacher Education: Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-Age 6) (Bachelor of Science)


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;
  • Strive to 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.

General Requirements

Specific Requirements

In addition to completing University and College requirements for all students, 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. Family Context of Development (HDFS 060) examines the context of development and in so doing establishes the foundation for recognizing that development is an interdependent and intertwined process. Child Development (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.

The second professional course (EDEC 100) involves both a pre-student teaching internship at either the UVM Campus Children's Center or a community placement and extensive seminar work in the documentation of children's learning. Documentation is an essential element of the ECSP since a careful analysis of children's activity is the basis for child assessment and the development of curriculum.

The third professional course (EDEC 189) 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 189, their professional course work becomes increasingly focused on learning to design services and supports for young children with diverse abilities and their families. EDSP 005 helps students gain a fuller appreciation for the issues affecting persons with disabilities, including the legal issues affecting the provision of services to individuals. CMSI 094 helps students gain a fuller understanding of the development of spoken language. Since issues related to early language development are a common element in working with young children with disabilities, an understanding of the process of language development is an essential component of all good teaching. 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, and concerns of the family; strengths and areas of growth for the child; and the most effective ways to best support the child s developmental and educational growth. 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).

The ECSP Professional Sequence is completed with ECSP 187, a student teaching experience working with young children with diverse abilities (0-6) and their families.

The course of study consists of 128 credits which are divided into the following categories:

  • Major concentration in a liberal arts and sciences discipline
  • General Education Courses
  • Professional Preparation Sequence
  • Health and Physical Education Modules
  • Diversity Courses
  • Electives*

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

A typical, but not all-inclusive, program outline follows:


Course Credits
Fall Spring
EDEC 063 Child Development 3
Diversity Course 3
Major Concentration 3 3
General Education Courses 6 6
EDEC 001 Intro to Early Education 4
HDFS 060 Family Context of Development 3
Total 15 16
Sophomore Year
Course Term
Fall Spring
EDEC 100 Inquiry and Pedagogy in Early Education 10
General Education Course 3
Major Concentration 3
EDEC 189 Early Childhood Practices 12
EDSP 005 D2:Issues Affecting Persons w/ Disabilities 3
Total 16 15
Junior Year
Course Term
Fall Spring
ECSP 202 D2:Introduction: EI/ECSE 3
ECSP 211 Assessment in EI/ECSE 4
Major Concentration 6
General Education Courses 3 6
CMSI 094 Develop of Spoken Language 3
ECSP 210 Curriculum in EI/ECSE 4
Elective* 4
Total 16 17
Senior Year
Course Term
Fall Spring
Electives* 6
Major Concentration 12 3
ECSP 187 Field Practicum 12
Total 18 15

* 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.



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