A graduate program in early childhood special education prepares graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to excel as teachers in this critical stage of a child’s development. A quality online early childhood special education master’s program produces teachers who thoroughly understand the variations of child development and can work in a variety of settings.

Importantly, the best graduate programs prepare teachers to take what is learned from the latest research into child development and apply it in a classroom setting.

The online format gives educators more flexibility in scheduling their master’s degree coursework around busy professional and personal lives. For example, the Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood Special Education at Bank Street College of Education prepares graduates to work in early childhood special education with children from birth through second grade.

The Value of a Master’s Degree 

The primary advantage of earning a master’s degree in early childhood education is advancing your skills. On a practical level, the online early childhood special education master’s program prepares graduates to seek New York State certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth to grade two. This also requires students to have completed all other state certification requirements. Those wishing to obtain certification in other states should research the requirements in the specific state.

A master’s degree creates the opportunity to qualify for the best jobs available. This includes working with young children in special education classrooms or inclusion classrooms.

Coursework at Bank Street

The Bank Street program provides an excellent example of what teachers can learn in an online early childhood special education master’s degree program. The curriculum for the program offers insight into where progressive educators put their focus. It can differ from what teachers might learn at other schools.

Bank Street teachers are prepared as leaders in progressive education and social justice. The program features small class sizes and a focus on preparing teachers to develop a strong sense of social justice and the ability to advocate for children and their families. The school places an emphasis on close observation of children and engaging all children in play, learning, and interaction.

Bank Street has also worked with institutions such as Columbia University and Stanford University to study the ways in which children learn. Teachers in the graduate program participate in supervised fieldwork where they can employ this information in the classroom.

Examples from the Curriculum 

A few examples that show the unique nature of the Bank Street online early childhood special education master’s program.

  • Curriculum for inclusive and special education settings. Students learn to design curriculum that engages all children in authentic meaning-making about themselves and their wider world.
  • Integrating technology. Students learn about the latest technology that can be used in a curriculum to create access to learning for a range of students, including students with disabilities.
  • Education of children with autism spectrum disorders. The course explores autism spectrum disorder through historical, cultural, political and developmental lenses. Graduates gain an understanding of many different perspectives as it relates to development and learning among those with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Play techniques for early childhood settings. Students learn the connection between play and the social, emotional and cognitive development of children. They will learn play that promotes self-regulation, self-esteem and emotional expression, and development across domains.”

The program also includes state-mandated courses in school violence prevention, child abuse prevention and reporting, and in the Dignity for All Students Act.

Teachers who want to bring the best possible skill set into an early special education classroom search for quality graduate degree programs that best prepare them for the future. When it comes to a cutting-edge approach to teaching, backed by the latest research, Bank Street offers exactly what those educators want.