University of Vermont

2013-2014 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;
  • 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.

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.

Next students take a three course block (EDEC 101, EDEC 102 and EDEC 103. EDEC 101 provides students with an internship experience combined with two seminars. EDEC 102 allows students to develop strategies for the observation, documentation and development of curriculum in early education from a social-constructivist perspective. During EDEC 103, 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.

The next 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. CSD 094 or EDTE 055 helps students gain a fuller understanding of the development of spoken language. EDTE 055 has a focus on English language learners. 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, 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 121 credits which are divided into the following categories:

  • Major concentration in a Liberal Arts and Sciences Discipline
  • General Education Courses
  • Professional Preparation Sequence
  • 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 possible curriculum in Early Childhood Special Education:


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 Credits
Fall Spring
EDEC 101 - Early Education Internship 3
EDEC 102 - Inquiry & Pedagogy in Early Education 3
EDEC 103 - Curric Develop in Early Child 3
General Education Course 3
Major Concentration 3
EDEC 189 - Early Childhood Practices 12
Diversity Category Two:
   EDSP 005 - Issues Affecting Persons w/ Disabilities
Total 15 15
Junior Year
Course Credits
Fall Spring
ECSP 202 - Introduction: EI/ECSE 3
ECSP 211 - Assessment in EI/ECSE 4
Major Concentration 6
General Education Courses 3 6
CSD 094 - Develop of Spoken Language
   EDTE 055 - Curr Issues in Educating ELL
ECSP 210 - Curriculum in EI/ECSE 4
Total 16 13
Senior Year
Course Credits
Fall Spring
Elective* 3
Major Concentration 12 3
ECSP 220 - Seminar in EI/ECSE 3
ECSP 187 - Field Practicum 12
Total 15 18

* 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.