Initial Childhood and Special Education - Courses

This is the course format for a full-time student in this program with 16 week terms. For more information about this program or part-time options, please call 585.594.6600 or email

Term 1

GEDU 5010 | Planning, Instruction, and Assessment | 3 credits

This course provides an integrated introduction to the processes by which teachers plan and deliver instruction, and assess student learning in inclusive classroom settings.  Students will learn to create lesson and unit plans, identify and use a variety of teaching strategies, monitor and adjust during instruction, and use both informal and formal assessments.  Students will learn multiple ways to use technology to enhance teaching and learning.  Students will also learn the importance of adapting instruction to meet students’ learning differences and aligning instruction with the NYS Common Core Learning Standards.

GEDU 5011 | Social Foundations of Education | 3 credits | Offered Online

Expands the student's understanding of motivation and management of the learning environment by looking beyond the classroom to the social and cultural context of education. Considers the impact of poverty, race, class, and gender; formation of character; culturally-sensitive teaching; involvement of parents and community; collaboration with school and community; cultural diversity; beliefs and norms. Considers the role of the CSE and instructional support teams in the broader context of the community. Includes models of collaboration used in working with families and with other professionals. Addresses the historical development and current status of schools in the US, with particular attention to the development of urban education systems. Introduces and critiques school law and funding structures. Attention is given to the evolving role of schools as institutions, the role of education in a democratic society, ethics in the context of education, and the meaning and importance of citizenship.

GEDU 5012 | Historical Foundations of Special Education | 3 credits | Offered Online

This course provides an introduction to the historical foundations of special education and exceptionalities as defined in federal and state laws and regulations. Students will learn the historical perspective, definitions, etiology, characteristics, needs, and service delivery systems within each area of exceptionality. Students will develop an understanding of the needs of students with disabilities, and how to provide instruction that will promote the participation and progress of students with disabilities in the general education curriculum, consistent with New York State requirements for general and special education teachers. The nature and requirements of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) will be introduced as well as the ways that the New York State standards are addressed for students with disabilities.

GEDU 5014 | Language and Literacy I | 3 credits

Introduces language acquisition and emergent literacy for native English speakers as well as for English language learners (ELL). Focuses on pre-literate behaviors, emergent literacy, and literacy through grade two. Includes ELA standards, methods, and assessments, and the use of technology in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Teaches students how to differentiate classroom instruction. Students gather data about learning-to-read and perform semantic analysis on the data.

Term 2

GEDU 5015 | Differentiated Instruction for All Learners | 3 credits | Offered Online

Emphasis is given to the planning of lessons that take into consideration NYS standards and the strengths and needs of every student. This course introduces students to assessment, including criterion-referenced tests, portfolios, standardized tests and other forms of summative and formative classroom assessments. Students read and reflect on current research in one of the main topics of the course.

GEDU 5018 | Language and Literacy II | 3 credits

Provides continued insights into the teaching of reading. Includes the use of direct instruction, holistic approaches as well as literature-based approaches for use with all learners including ELL. Attention is paid to content-area reading and instructional strategies, including writing and listening to learn. Presents technology to enhance the acquisition and development of reading and writing skills.

GEDU 5019 | Student Behavior and Learning Environments | 3 credits | Offered Online

Explores classroom management and how to adapt various classroom configurations to be more effective for learners with and without disabilities. Includes co-teaching models; system-wide efforts to prevent violence and disruption; the self-contained classroom; and push-in, pull-out models. Features functional behavior assessment. Following their introduction to action research (see "Preparation for Research") students consider various research designs to support the evaluation of new approaches to managing the learning environment; students then collaborate on the design of an action research project focused on a management approach they find in the professional literature.

GEDU 5023 | Assessment in Inclusive Classrooms | 3 credits

Expands the student's knowledge of Assessment through diagnostic-prescriptive teaching. Provides the skills and opportunities to assess a child with special needs and then plan effective educational activities at the appropriate level and in the appropriate sequence in all content areas found in the inclusive classroom.

Term 3

GEDU 5026 | Master's Project | 3 credits

Students are guided through the completion of their M.Ed. Thesis or Curriculum Project through weekly seminars, supplemented by regular meetings with the chosen Reader.

GEDU 5027 | Child and Adolescent Development and Learning | 3 credits | Offered Online

This course is designed to engage students in a meaningful exploration of human development and learning from prenatal experience through adolescence. Students will examine the nature of development across major domains (physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and moral), the impact of context (familial, school, community, and culture) on development, and the construction of identity. Attention will also be given to theories and processes of learning, and their implications for teaching. Throughout the course, the focus will be on using knowledge of learners and learning to develop evidence-based, developmentally appropriate teaching practices for increasingly diverse classrooms.

GEDU 5030 | Elementary Curriculum and Methods | 3 credits

This course includes instruction in the New York State Common Core Learning Standards, goals, and content of the elementary school curriculum including English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, health, and technology, Grades 1-6; and inclusive, developmentally appropriate methods for teaching the curriculum. This course also addresses various aspects of the teaching-learning process, and the preparation and use of instructional materials. Students will develop lesson and unit plans, teach a lesson, and engage in reflective practice about their teaching.

GEDU 5031 | Instructional and Adaptive Technology | 3 credits | Offered Online

This course explores instructional technology as a tool to facilitate learning for all students. Students will explore the use of technology as "mind tools" to stimulate and engage student interest and participation in learning; students also consider the use of technology and adaptive technology to scaffold learning for all students. The class features hands-on with hardware, software, and networks that are typical in today's schools, including Smart boards, cameras, data projectors, office packages, content-specific software, web-based inquiry and collaborative multimedia projects. Students will consider issues and opportunities with emerging technologies, with an emphasis on media literacy and opportunities to further literacy with technology. Using research methods they have learned, students gather data and analyze results to further their understanding of technology impact.

Term 4

GEDU 6000 | Capstone Seminar | 2 credits

This is a weekly seminar that accompanies student teaching, in which students and the lead instructor address issues that arise in student teaching through problem-solving, role-playing, and situational analysis. An important goal is relating theory to practice. In addition, the course uses the student's portfolio to set goals for growth during student teaching. At the beginning of the course and after each placement, students reflect (in writing) on their development as teachers and special educators; these student reflections become part of the student's portfolio. Students and the instructor develop a rubric to score their portfolios for excellence, using professional norms as categories. Topical instruction throughout the semester is rotated among the cohort team; topics include adapting instruction for students with disabilities; knowledge of and teaching in all content areas; managing the classroom environment; integration of technology; school law; school culture; professional ethics and demeanor; reflective practice; the portfolio; the job search. The team also consults with student-teaching supervisors to insure that each student demonstrates strength in all areas of emphasis.

GEDU 6002 | Student Teaching Special Education | 3 credits

One or both of the grade-level placements (GEDU 6003, GEDU 6006) also serve as the student's placement in Special Education-- either in an inclusive classroom or in a resource setting. Students participate in teaching experiences and planning. Student teachers in this role are expected to discuss various aspects of their experiences with their master teacher and college supervisor and to develop skills needed for self-reflection and self-evaluation. Whenever possible, the college supervisor for the special-education placement will be a full-time faculty who has had the student face-to-face for a SPED-related class; when this is not possible, such a faculty person will work closely with the college supervisor. Such a faculty person has awareness of the student's development as a special educator and knows the need for experience and development in particular areas. At the same time, supervising student teaching gives the faculty person an opportunity to stay current with Special Education needs, practices, issues, and personnel in area schools

GEDU 6003 | Student Teaching in Childhood Education (Grades 1-3) | 2 credits

Incorporates a supervised student teaching experience that allows the student to work in a childhood setting under the supervision of a teacher holding the appropriate certification and supervised by a RWC faculty member. Candidates participate in planning and teaching with increasing responsibility. In the accompanying weekly seminar, student teachers engage in reflective, self-evaluative discussion of teaching experiences. This constitutes half of the student teaching requirement and is in grades 1-3.

GEDU 6006 | Student Teaching In Childhood Education (Grades 4-6) | 2 credits

Incorporates a supervised student teaching experience that allows the student to work in a childhood setting under the supervision of a teacher holding the appropriate certification and supervised by a RWC faculty member. Candidates participate in planning and teaching with increasing responsibility. In the accompanying weekly seminar, student teachers engage in reflective, self-evaluative discussion of teaching experiences. This constitutes half of the student teaching requirement and is in grades 4-6.

Total credits: 45

Students in the Childhood Education program must also complete the following requirements for New York State certification:  

  • OPE 150 | Field Experience Requirement | Students must complete 150 hours of OPE
    • Student Teaching Practicum | 14 Weeks
  • CST | Content Specialty Test in Appropriate Content Area
  • CST | Students with Disabilities
  • SAVE | Mandatory Workshop
  • Child Abuse | Mandatory Workshop
  • DASA - Dignity for All Students | Mandatory Workshop
  • EAS Educating All Students Test
  • edTPA
  • Autism Mandatory Workshop

Related Majors

Adolescence and Special Education, M.Ed. - Prepare for New York State teaching certification and earn a Masters in Adolescence Education, as well as a Masters in Adolescence Special Education (Grades 7-12) in an affordable and flexible dual certification program developed for time constrained adults.
School Psychology, M.S. - Our Masters in School Psychology program prepares students to evaluate, diagnose, and treat children and adolescents, in consultation with parents and teachers.
Adult and Graduate Admissions - 585.594.6600 | 800.777.4792 (toll free) -