Early Childhood Special Education – M.S.Ed, Ed.M

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 on current research of inclusive practices.

You will 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 permanent 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 or a Master of Education (for those students with a prior master’s degree in education), and requires 32 credits.

Bank Street Teacher

Your degree will provide you with a range of career opportunities

Courses Required to Complete Your Degree

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 one semester in an inclusive or special education setting.
  • Working teachers and assistants (in approved settings) may use their own classrooms for their fieldwork setting. These students may need additional experience through placement in a summer supervised fieldwork/ advisement during a July (summer 2) term.

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

This course examines the impact of technology on teaching and learning. Participants will explore how new technologies can be integrated with curriculum to create access to learning for a range of learners, including students with disabilities. Through readings, class discussion, and hands-on,project-based learning experiences, students will be introduced to various technological tools. Emphasis will be placed on encouraging students to reflect on their experiences in the course, both as a learner and as a teacher, in order to understand the role of new technologies in education.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Spring; Every other Summer 2

In this course, participants will explore learning mathematics as a developmental process. Central emphasis will be placed on constructing an understanding of equitable mathematics education focusing on access for all learners. Through focus on an individual child, students will learn to analyze children’s strengths and examine the challenges that differences such as language ability, working memory, executive function and processing can pose to students as they work to gain conceptual understanding, factual knowledge and procedural fluency. Participants will select and develop mathematical tasks for a variety of students and will be expected to analyze students’ strengths and potential barriers to access, shaping mathematical learning experiences to meet their needs.

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.

Credit(s) 0.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

Anyone applying for certification after February 2, 2001 must complete two hours of training on school violence prevention and intervention. This workshop includes training in effective classroom management techniques, identifying the warning signs of violent and other troubling behavior, and intervention techniques for resolving violent incidents in the school. (Offered only to matriculated students.)

Credit(s) 0.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

All adults working with children under eighteen years of age are required by NY State law to report suspected child abuse and neglect. This course will help you learn to identify symptoms of child abuse and neglect and will provide you with information about the required procedures for reporting abuse. (Only offered to matriculated students.)

Credit(s) 0.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms

Anyone applying for certification must complete six hours of training on the social patterns of harassment, bullying, and discrimination. This workshop includes training in identifying indicators, early warning signs, prevention, and intervention techniques, and how to interact with families of victims and aggressors.

The Integrative Master’s Project (IMP) can take many forms, depending upon your areas of interest and available timeframe. IMPs can grow out of your coursework or work experiences or they can take the form of an original inquiry or project of your design. Most IMP options involve sharing your completed project with faculty, peers, friends, and family at the end of the semester.

The Independent Study is an original work that you initiate, often growing out of a meaningful course assignment or an idea, question, or experience rooted in your fieldwork or work setting. Throughout the Independent Study option, you select with a faculty mentor who has relevant experience or expertise and who has agreed to work with you. The Independent Study usually includes two semesters of research and writing and is most closely aligned with a traditional master’s thesis. Independent Studies are made accessible to the public through the Bank Street Library’s online catalog. Registration: Online through my.bankstreet. You must also complete a Google Form detailing your mentor relationship.

Additional Application Requirements

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

  • Applicants must already hold a valid New York State certification in General Education at the Early Childhood or Childhood level.
  • You will need to submit scores from the GRE (institution code 2035) or MAT (institution code 3197) before new student registration.


When you complete this program you will be eligible for your:

  • New York State initial certification Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth-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.

Explore all of Bank Street’s graduate programs

AVAILABLE SOON: NEW ONLINE Leadership Education Programs
INCLUDING: Early Childhood Leadership and School District Leadership

Fill out the form below to speak with a counselor about our online and on-campus program options and find one that is best for you.

Become a Bank Street Teacher – Start Now

Earn Your ONLINE Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education – M.S.Ed, Ed.M