Early Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification – M.S.Ed

Learn more about this online degree

Discover creative ways to help young children

learn and grow.

As a student in this program, you will become well-grounded in child development and its variations and develop the capacity to work in a range of settings and engage all children. This includes working with children from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic backgrounds and also includes children with a variety of social, emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive variations.

This program will support your understanding that learning develops through play, social interaction, and sensory experiences and will help you to implement strategies based in current research of inclusive practices.

You will learn to:

  • Learn to carefully observe children and use that knowledge to guide and inform your teaching.
  • Engage all young children in play, learning, and interaction.
  • Develop a strong social justice focus in order to advocate for and with children and families.
  • Plan for dynamic and collaborative partnerships with families and school professionals.
  • Develop skill in engaging with young children of varying development in meaningful ways.

This program is for you if:

  • You are seeking your first teaching certification.
  • You want to work with children birth through grade 2 in general, inclusion, and/or special education settings.

This program culminates in a Master of Science in Education and requires 50 credits.

Bank Street Teacher

Your degree will provide you with a range of career opportunities

Courses Required to Complete Your Special and General Education Dual Certification

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

Central to a Bank Street education is the integration of coursework and field experiences as you engage and educate children based on a solid grounding in what makes children tick. Through sustained experiences in the field, supervision from core faculty, and close collaboration with peers, our graduate students develop the ability to connect theory to practice and to reflect deeply on their own growth as educators. In this program, you will:

  • Participate in a weekly collaborative conference group with your advisor and 5 to 7 other graduate students. You will have an opportunity to engage in ongoing in-depth conversations about teaching and learning.
  • Benefit from individual meetings with your advisor twice each month.
  • Attend periodic conference meetings with your Bank Street advisor and with the cooperating teacher.

There are three ways students work in classroom settings: as a student teacher (3 days each week), as a full-time assistant, or as a head teacher.

  • Student-teachers complete three placements in pre-K, kindergarten, and grades 1 or 2, and across general education, inclusive, and special education settings.
  • Working teachers and assistants (in approved settings) may use their own classrooms for their fieldwork setting. These students will gain additional experience through placement in a summer supervised fieldwork/ advisement during the summer term.

EDUC 500   |   Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

In this course we will examine the interactions among the cognitive, social, emotional, linguistic, and physical development of children from infancy into adolescence. We will pay close attention to children as makers of meaning in the contexts of their development, including family, school, socio-economic class, and culture. Through reading classic and current literature, we will attend to some of the larger questions about development, such as the relationship between nature and nurture, the role of developmental theory, and the tension between the search for developmental universals and the reality of individual differences. The goal is to make developmental theory vibrant and meaningful so that the generalized theoretical child comes to enhance and inform how one understands individual children.

EDUC 800   |   Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: To be announced   |   [Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or EDUC 501 or permission of instructor]

This course is designed as a forum for thinking about what it means to care for children at the beginning of the 21st century. Consideration will be given to how issues such as poverty, changing family structures, substance abuse, community violence, and HIV/AIDS affect children, teachers and the curriculum. Students will critically examine the traditional knowledge base of childhood education and child development – and explore alternative lenses for viewing children. History, literature, philosophy and feminist theory will be used to reflect upon taken-for-granted assumptions about childhood. Students will learn how reading, writing and interpreting narrative can become an invaluable source for understanding themselves and the children in their care. Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or EDUC 501 or by permission of the instructor.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

Based on the belief that language is an essential foundation for the learning that takes place in formal and informal education, this course will look at the typical stages of language acquisition in monolingual and multilingual children. Participants will examine the various theories about language acquisition and diversity, and about the role that caregivers and teachers play in the child’s development of language. In addition, they will analyze the political, educational, social, and emotional aspects that determine the stratification of languages and dialects. A significant part of the course will deal with the ways in which students learn English as a second language and the strategies that teachers can use to help them learn the language and to fully integrate English language learners into general and special education classrooms.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms

his course examines the historical, philosophical, and cultural roots of contemporary education, including Bank Street’s history and philosophy, the contributions of major educational leaders, and current practices and innovations in education. The course is designed to help teachers to expand and deepen their understanding of the social, political, and economic forces that influence the work of educators and children and their families.

EDUC 535   |   Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms

In this workshop course, students explore basic science through discussion and hands-on experience with materials such as snails, plants, clay, boats, batteries, and bulbs. Students are helped to choose appropriate topics that may be integrated into a core curriculum. A methodology of exploration and discovery is used as a paradigm for working with children in the science curriculum.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course provides participants with an overview of mathematics learning for children grades N-6. Participants deepen their own mathematical knowledge while furthering their understanding of effective mathematics instruction. In each session, participants do math together and use these experiences to investigate the development of mathematical thinking and to reflect on their own learning. Participants explore the essential elements of a constructivist mathematics classroom in which collaboration is core to building concepts and skills. Designing a classroom where deep mathematical understanding is the primary goal requires explorations of attitudes and beliefs as well as practices and expectations. This course addresses the moral imperative that all students are capable of learning math. It focuses on creating inclusive environments for learners with developmental variations. The course also focuses on creating mathematical experiences that support students for whom English is a new language. Participants discuss classroom management strategies for grouping and individualizing instruction.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring; From Summer 1 to Summer 2

This course examines the processes through which speaking, listening, reading and writing are acquired by young children. Through course readings, discussion, and hands-on experiences, students will develop an understanding of the ways in which theory and research in the fields of language development, linguistic diversity, socio-cultural perspectives, and special education form an essential basis for effective literacy teaching. Each student will observe and work with an individual child, trying out methods and materials in order to develop first-hand awareness of the reading and writing process, and roles of the teacher and child in that process. Through this integration of theory and practice, students will develop an understanding of the ways in which (1) literacy acquisition draws upon the personal, cultural, and linguistic experiences of all learners; (2) literacy acquisition can be facilitated through technology; (3) teachers can and should be the constructors of literacy curriculum that meets the needs of diverse learners; (4) assessment and instruction are ongoing and integrated processes; and (5) effective literacy education is the outcome of the collaboration of home, school, and community.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All Terms

This course examines the role of literature in the life of the developing child. Students gain an understanding of monolingual and bilingual language development and the relationship between aspects of young children’s language and what they relish in stories. Students examine ways to cultivate children’s ability to express experiences, ideas, and feelings in poetry, illustrated stories, nonfiction accounts and in oral discussion. Using developmental, multicultural, nonsexist, and aesthetic perspectives, students develop criteria for selecting fiction, non-fiction, poetry and folklore for children of specific ages. Ways to use literature effectively are examined, leading to the students’ understanding the functions of a variety of techniques within the young child’s classroom: telling stories; reading aloud, stimulating children’s participation in a story; and selecting stories to extend children’s understandings of social studies and science.

EDUC 591   |   Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered Spring; Summer 1; Summer 2
This course is designed to introduce key elements of music, movement, sound-based media and physical education grounded in neurocognitive, developmental and critical multicultural perspectives. Students learn to create and use musical instruments from recyclable materials; explore digital composition; use equipment such as hoops, scarves and parachute, and integrate skills and repertoire with ongoing classroom curriculum. Songs, rhythms and games from diverse traditions are included to address children’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds in alignment with NYS and Common Core standards. Applications and strategies for children with special needs and dual language learners are incorporated through readings, film and guided activities (background in music, dance or sports is not required). The NYC/DOE and the NYS Division of Teacher Certification accept one (1) credit of this course as teaching special education credit. This course also fulfills Liberal Arts requirement for 1 credit of Physical Education.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered Fall; Spring; Summer 2

This course provides a framework for developing curriculum that engages all children in authentic meaning making about themselves and their wider world. Participants use principles of child development and developmental variation as a foundation for planning experiences that support deep learning. The course focuses on curriculum as the core vehicle for affirming children’s developing identities, including cultural and linguistic identity. Using social studies as the core of an integrated curriculum, participants plan using diverse materials, modalities, content, and perspectives to help children examine big questions. Participants use universal design principles to create learning experiences that are inclusive of a broadly diverse range of learners.

Credit(s) 1.0   |   Term(s) Offered Spring; Summer 1; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course will explore autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from historical, cultural, political, and developmental lenses. It will support graduate students in thinking deeply and from multiple perspectives about the evolution of our understandings about and interventions with the broad range of characteristics of learning and development attributed to people with ASD. This course considers the significance of home and/or school as the primary sources of educational intervention and direct services for children with ASD. Participants will consider the importance of providing young children with ASD with an educational program that is responsive to each child’s unique pattern of relative strengths and vulnerabilities and will learn ways to partner in this work with a diverse range of families. Participants will explore the use of assistive technology as a tool for supporting student learning, communication, and independence.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course is designed to increase participants’ awareness and understanding of the educational, social, cultural, linguistic and developmental implications of disability from historical, legal, and socio-political perspectives. The course will critically examine state and federal special education and disability laws and regulations and their implementation across a range of settings including their intersection with issues of race, class, language, and gender. There is an emphasis on understanding how disability is socially constructed at the levels of family, community, school, and the larger society. Participants apply an understanding of developmental variations to analyze and create accessible learning experiences for children. Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or 501 or 800; or permission of instructor.

Credit(s) 1.0   |   Term(s) Offered Fall; Spring; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course explores play as central to supporting the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children with varying developmental and learning variations. Participants will learn a variety of therapeutic play techniques that promote self-regulation, self-esteem, and emotional expression, and development across domains. This course is appropriate for general and special education teachers, parents, caregivers, child life specialists, social workers, therapists, and counselors. Participants are required to have prior coursework focused on child development and on developmental variations.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered Fall; Spring

This course examines communication, language, and literacy as they emerge in monolingual and multilingual children from infancy through early childhood. Participants examine how language, socialization, communicative competence, and literacy develop within, and are impacted by, children’s sociocultural contexts. Participants are introduced to communication disorders and other learning variations of the early years that affect language and literacy learning. Specific practices are identified to enhance the experience of young children who are receiving services in school as English language learners. Modifications and adaptations to support children with learning variations are explored. Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or EDUC 800. Pre- or Co-requisite: EDUC 505.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered Spring

This course introduces and explores informal and formal assessment practices for young children. Students will learn about various ways of observing, collecting, documenting, and analyzing children’s work and learning experiences in a variety of settings. Students will also become familiar with formal and informal assessment procedures and terminology, standardized testing, and strategies for test selection to ensure results that are valid and unbiased. Students will also examine legal, ethical, culturally responsive, and professional considerations of assessment. Students will be given practical experience in the preparation and administration of different forms of assessment, including the construction of simple performance assessments. Critical attention will be given to careful interpretation and utilization of assessment data in developing meaningful curriculum and educational plans for individual children. Culturally responsive approaches to assessment and involving the family with the assessment process will also be addressed. Prerequisites: EDUC 803 or EDUC 894.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered Fall

Early Childhood Practicum I and II is a year-long course that provides graduate students the opportunity to integrate theory and practice as they work with a child and family. Practicum I focuses on: 1) observation as the foundation of early childhood assessment and 2) culturally sustaining, family-based practice. Participants learn to observe and record children’s behavior in home, school, and community settings. Through regular observations, participants construct a respectful and increasingly complex understanding of the child within his/her sociocultural context. Special emphasis is placed on recognizing the strengths of the child and family. Participants develop greater awareness of their own perspectives and the ways their personal experiences affect what they notice and how they interpret their observations. Participants begin to integrate adult development, family systems theory, and cultural/linguistic diversity as a basis for developing relationships with the child’s family. This work provides a foundation for Practicum II. Prerequisites EDUC 500 or EDUC 800; and EDUC 803.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered Spring

This course completes a year-long sequence of work with a child and the child’s family. The focus in the second semester is two-fold: 1) developing a responsive collaboration with the family and 2) developing and analyzing the use of a range of instructional strategies. Through conversations, participants learn about the family’s perspectives and goals. To gather further data, participants select, develop, and use a variety of informal assessments. Participants apply their developing knowledge of the child’s interests and developmental needs as they design and implement instructional strategies. The course engages participants in a deep understanding of the assessment, planning and instruction cycle as they collect data and reflect on their instruction and apply their learnings in their ongoing work with the child and family. Participants will work with families to jointly plan goals as they develop their understandings of the IEP/IFSP. Prerequisite: EDUC 894.

Credit(s) 6.0   |   Term(s) Offered Fall; Spring

Fieldwork in appropriate settings with supervision and advisement. Candidates in advisement participate in weekly small-group conferences with their advisor. These seminars include the exchange and analysis of ongoing professional experiences and provide a forum for integrating theory with practice. Attention is given to instructional strategies for addressing the individual academic and behavioral strengths and needs of typically and atypically developing children within classroom settings. Opportunities to collaborate and co-teach with cooperating teachers and other school personnel are an integral part of the course.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered Summer 2

This course is designed for candidates in the early childhood special education certification programs who are working teachers or assistant teachers. Its purpose is to give candidates a supervised teaching experience within the range of ages, settings, and student characteristics required by New York State that cannot be met through their full-time teaching positions. During July, candidates are placed in an appropriate site for four weeks, five days per week. Advisors visit them in their sites and meet with candidates individually. There are weekly conference groups with candidates and advisors that will include the exchange and analysis of ongoing professional experiences and provide a forum for integrating theory and practice.

Additional Application Requirements

In addition to the main admissions criteria, there are additional requirements needed to apply for this program:


When you complete the Early Childhood Special and General Education program you will be eligible for your:

  • New York State initial certification in Early Childhood General Education: for those who meet experience requirements and pass state assessments.
  • New York State initial certification Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth to grade 2: for those who meet experience requirements and pass state assessments.

After teaching for three years and provided that you meet experience requirements, you will be eligible for New York State professional certification.

Julie Lee ’12

Meet our alumni

“I chose Bank Street because I loved seeing all of the children’s work during the tour.The classrooms at the Bank Street School for Children was a game changer for me because I knew in my heart that student-driven work that’s organic and thoughtfully documented was at the heart of authentic teaching and learning. I graduated in 2012 from the Early Childhood Special Education program and was hired as a K-2 SETTS teacher at a charter school in Brooklyn.

Five years ago, I transitioned to New York City public schools right when they put in rigorous teacher evaluation systems and a Common Core–aligned Math and ELA curriculum. With these challenges and less time for play and student-driven work, I value what I learned at Bank Street more than ever. I learned to truly think outside of the box with best practices in mind and, above all, to be an advocate for children and families. Among other things, the advisory support you receive at Bank Street is what makes the school truly unique.” Now as a Learning Specialist for a private school in Brooklyn, I will be referring back to the amazing courses at Bank Street that challenged me to look deeper into how children learn and think.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The Academic year, 2019-2020 begins on July 1, 2019. There are three start dates offered per year. The Summer semester begins in May, Fall semester begins in September, and Spring begins in January. Contact a Bank Street Graduate School Online Application Specialist at 212-652-8722 to find the next start date that works with your schedule.

Yes, there is a $65 application fee.

Yes, there are other fees. Please visit the Bank Street main website for complete information.

The per-credit cost for the 2019-2020 academic year is $1,612, starting with the Summer 2 Term (July 1, 2019). There are scholarships and financial aid available to support your participation in the program. Please contact your Application Specialist at 212-652-8722 to find out more about tuition and financial aid at Bank Street.

Yes, each year, Bank Street’s Office of Financial Aid administers over $8.5 million in financial aid to students. Our scholarship program makes the cost of attending Bank Street College of Education competitive with most other private schools.

All students interested in receiving financial aid must complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Students must also complete the admissions application and indicate that they are interested in applying for financial aid, and complete the scholarship application section in this form.  Please remember that in order to complete the FAFSA, you will need your federal tax returns. The FAFSA becomes available annually on October 1st and can be accessed at the Federal Student Aid website. Bank Street’s Title IV Code is G02669 (G ZERO 2669).

Yes, if you have been admitted, you will reply to confirm your enrollment. A $250 enrollment fee will be due with this form to secure your spot in the incoming class.

The length of the program will depend upon the specific course of study that you select and how many credit hours per semester you complete. To review the credit hours by program, visit our guide to Academic Programs.

Supervised fieldwork at Bank Street is usually a year-long, intensive learning experience and is central to nearly all our programs. Some programs require one semester of supervised fieldwork; some programs have unique schedules spreading supervised fieldwork over three or four terms. During supervised fieldwork/advisement, you work with a faculty advisor who is experienced in your area of study. In addition, you will also work in a conference group with about six other students in your program, and your advisor.

Yes, students are required to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admission.

To see if you need to submit an entrance exam for your program selection, visit the Admissions Guide Chart on Bank Street’s main website.

Bank Street Graduate School of Education follows New York State Education Department regulations for program registration. In accordance with regulation 8 CRR-NY 52.21: Registration of Curricula in Teacher Education, applicants intending to begin a teacher preparation pro­gram or educational leadership program that leads to a New York State Professional Certification must sit for an entrance exam.

If you already completed a graduate teaching program and hold a currently valid New York State Professional Certification, an entrance exam is not required.

Applicants who are applying to any of our certification programs (with the exception of Child Life) require that applicants submit scores from the GRE (institution code 2035) or MAT (institution code 3197) before new student registration.

Our programs are varied enough to meet the needs of all qualified college graduates with or without prior experience in teaching, administration, or other human service fields. However, we do feel it is important for you to have some experience working with children so that you feel confident that this career choice is grounded in a realistic understanding of yourself and of children.

Bank Street Graduate School of Education is fully accredited. It is nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE covers initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation levels. It is also accredited regionally by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The online courses are a mix of self-paced material and assignments, team assignments, and faculty-led discussions. We take the best of both fully online education and on-campus education: you will receive the same learner-focused content and active engagement that Bank Street is known for, but most of the work you do throughout a typical week will be completed according to your own schedule.

Each online course is held for the full academic semester, which is between 11 and 16 weeks in length (Summer semester is shorter). The weekly schedules will vary by course and credit hour.

Usually, as a student and with your program director’s approval, you will be able to use your own classroom for your supervised fieldwork setting as long as it is appropriate for the program to which you have applied.  You will need to have support from your principal or school director or from your Bank Street advisor as you do fieldwork at the school.  Your advisor will need to have access to your classroom

Yes, Bank Street’s teacher and supervisor preparation programs are approved in New York State. For more information about Bank Street’s New York State registered programs, please visit our NYSED.gov listing page.

If you want to get certified in another state after you complete your Bank Street program, you should start researching early. Contact the relevant State Department of Education for details on requirements and application procedures. Certification regulations vary by state, so it is best to obtain the information well in advance of your intended program completion date. For more information, please visit the Bank Street main website Outside of New York page.

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Earn Your ONLINE Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification – M.S.Ed