Master’s Degree Program (37 credit hours)

Early Childhood and Special Education Planning Guide Birth-2

Niagara University offers the master of science degree in early childhood and special education. This program leads to initial/professional certification in teaching early childhood education and students with disabilities from birth through grade 2. Candidates must hold a current teaching certificate to be admitted and therefore may also use this degree to satisfy requirements for professional (permanent) certification.

Required Foundation Courses

18 credit hours

The course focuses on understanding theories and current research in all areas of child development for infants to 8-year-olds, including multiple interacting influences. By becoming familiar with the growth and development of young children. Candidates will create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging to all children.

Credit Hours: 3

This course focuses on language acquisition and early literacy development for children from birth to age 8.  Students will examine current theories and research including typical and atypical development including the impact of medical (neurological and physical) impairment, the influence of family and community, and media. Planning developmentally appropriate environments and instruction for inclusive instruction, including the use of augmentative, alternative, and assistive technologies will be addressed.

Credit Hours: 3

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the principles of research in education. Students will become effective consumers of educational research by analyzing the literature in a particular area of study and synthesizing the results into material that can be applied to diverse educational settings.  Students will also develop practical research skills that they might use to assist them in their own professional development. Preservice teachers and practitioners enrolled in this course will complete a field-based research project pertaining to their area of study.

Credit Hours: 3

This course examines the child’s relationship to family, school and community. Roles of the family, various service providers and their influence on childrens’ development are explored. Effective collaboration among appropriate individuals and agencies will be addressed. Cultural values, attitudes and diversity including abilities, disabilities, gender and society will be discussed.

Credit Hours: 3

Required Advanced Courses

12 credit hours

This course will provide participants with a deeper knowledge of how to deliver literacy instruction to students with diverse learning needs. Focus will be placed on planning instruction, accessing and developing resources, and conducting assessments for students from different cultural backgrounds and learning abilities.

Credit Hours: 3   /   Prerequisites: EDU 561

This course studies nutrition, health, safety and related activities to promote and maintain the well-being of all children.  Within the framework of cultural and familial outlooks, guidelines, childhood illnesses, safe and healthy learning environments are explored. Knowledge of health, safety and nutritional needs, and safe learning environments are explored.

Credit Hours: 3

Students will study the development of skills, techniques, and environments for young children through creative arts and movement. The active engagement of all children through adapted devices, adaptive environments and adaptive technology will be explored. The use of play as a learning and socializing process will be emphasized.

Credit Hours: 3   /   Prerequisites: 50 Hour Field Experience, EDU 531, EDU 561, EDU 604

This course is designed to understand young children with a wide range of abilities, needs and cultural backgrounds.  Observation methods will focus on child development and delays in the emotional, social, physical, language and cognitive areas. Assessment strategies will aid in the ability to develop curricula and support children’s growth.

Credit Hours: 3   /   Prerequisites: EDU 531, EDU 561

This course focuses on facilitating and stimulating learning of infants to 4 year-olds. Candidates will understand planning and adapting developmentally appropriate environments and activities within an inclusive philosophy. Roles of families, school, and community personnel in planning within a collaborative approach are addressed. Transition plans are explored.

Credit Hours: 3

This course focuses on early childhood curriculum development and instruction in the areas of mathematics, science, English Language Arts, and social studies. Students will understand integrating strategies that support diversity and anti-bias perspectives, examine the critical role of play; establish a developmentally appropriate environment and curriculum that promote child development and learning.

Credit Hours: 3

Required Field Courses

6 credit hours

Taken concurrently with EDU 795

This seminar is designed to enable practicing teachers to analyze and evaluate the teaching of students with special needs. Practicing teachers will reflect on their teaching practices as they perform the activities of a special education teacher in inclusion situations. Practicing teachers are expected to demonstrate attitudes, knowledge and skills commensurate with effective, reflective teaching in multiculturally sensitive and gender equitable classrooms.

Credit Hours: 3

Taken concurrently with EDU 794

This course is designed to enable the practicing teacher to develop competence in teaching students with special needs. Practicing teachers will be observed by university-designated supervisors as they perform the activities of a special education teacher in inclusion, self-contained and consultant contexts. Practicing teachers are expected to demonstrate attitudes, knowledge and skills commensurate with effective teaching for all students.

Credit Hours: 3   /   Prerequisites: 100 Hours Field Experience

Required Culminating Experience

1 credit hour

This course is designed to assist candidates in the advanced graduate programs in the College of Education as they develop their comprehensive portfolios that evidence the knowledge, skills, and dispositions recognized by the highest national and international professional organizations within their program areas. The course will explore the general and specific directives of portfolio preparation including format and composition. Personal guidance will be provided by the instructor through regular meetings.

Credit Hours: 1