Initial Early Childhood and Special Education - Courses

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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

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

This course introduces how teachers develop curriculum, plan and deliver instruction, and assess student learning in inclusive classroom settings. Students will create lesson and unit plans, identify and use various teaching strategies, monitor and adjust methods during instruction, and conduct informal and formal assessments. Students will learn to adapt instruction to meet students’ learning differences and align instruction with New York State 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.

GEDU 5029 | Teaching Mathematics in the Inclusive Classroom | 3 credits | Offered Online

In early childhood and childhood classrooms, children develop problem solving and numeracy skills, so teachers must have a strong foundation in the content and methods of mathematics. In this course, students will develop computational and pedagogical skills to support instruction and conceptual understanding in mathematics. Students will explore and use New York State mathematics standards to plan, teach, and assess for understanding. Methods of instruction and assessment will consider differentiated and inclusive practices.

GEDU 5034 | Language and Literacy in Early Childhood Classrooms | 3 credits

This course will focus on the language and literacy learning of children from birth to second grade.  Students will explore instructional strategies, developmentally appropriate materials and activities, and ways to support the families of the children in their care.  Topics will include mapping cognitive and language development stages, assessing students’ progress, and creating effective literacy lessons which meet the needs of all students.  Additionally, students will learn to modify and adapt instruction for ELL learners and children with developmental delays. The importance of early intervention will be examined.

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.

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 5035 | Early Childhood Curriculum and Methods | 3 credits

This course includes an overview of growth and development of young children from birth to age 7 with an emphasis on formulating developmentally appropriate practices, including the importance of play and collaboration with families and caregivers. Topics include models of early childhood education, evaluation, working with community agencies, and the New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for inclusive Pre-K classrooms. 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.

GEDU 6001 | 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 6004 | Student Teaching | 7 credits

Students will complete a supervised student teaching experience that allows them to work in an early childhood setting under the supervision of a teacher holding the appropriate certification and supervised by a Roberts Wesleyan University faculty member. Student teachers participate in planning and teaching with increasing responsibility. In the accompanying weekly seminar, student teachers engage in reflective, self-evaluative discussions of teaching experiences.

Total credits: 45

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

  • Field Experience Requirement | Students must complete 150 hours of fieldwork
  • SAVE | Mandatory Workshop
  • Child Abuse | Mandatory Workshop
  • DASA - Dignity for All Students | Mandatory Workshop
  • Autism Workshop | Mandatory Workshop
  • EAS | Educating All Students Test
  • CST | Content Specialty Test
  • SWD | Students with Disabilities
  • Teacher Performance Assessment
  • Student Teaching Practicum | 14 Weeks

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) -