Early Childhood Special Education | Teachers College Columbia University

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Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog 2018-2019

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Early Childhood Special Education

Department of - Curriculum & Teaching

Contact Information

(212) 678-3860
(212) 678-4048
Professor Celia Genishi and Professor Susan Recchia

Program Description

The Department of Curriculum and Teaching offers a doctoral concentration in Early Childhood Special Education, within the Early Childhood Education specialization.

This concentration prepares students for careers related to leadership and advocacy in the field, research and scholarship, and higher education and teacher preparation programs. Core courses emphasize theory and foundations in general and special early childhood education and research methods and training. Seminars and advanced practica focus on special topics in the field. Opportunities for involvement in faculty-sponsored research and professional development activities are an integral part of the program concentration.

Degree Summary

Early Childhood Education Policy Concentration

  • Master of Education (Ed.M.)

Early Childhood Education Specialization and Early Childhood Special Education Concentration

  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please click the "Degrees" tab above

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please continue on to this program's "Degrees" section in this document

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Education

The basic curriculum for Ed.D. students includes:

Core Courses:

  • C&T 5000 Theory and inquiry in curriculum and teaching (6 points fall and 3 points spring, of the first year)
  • C&T 5513 Seminar in early childhood education I (3)
  • C&T 5514 Seminar in early childhood education II, or one additional 6000-level research seminar (3)

Research Requirements:

  • C&T 7500 Dissertation seminar in curriculum and teaching (3)
  • HUDM 4122 Probability and statistical inference (3)

Two (2) research methodology courses relevant to the students’ research interests.

Students must complete at least two of the required research core courses prior to enrolling in dissertation seminar. The third course may be taken concurrently with Dissertation Seminar.

Other courses are selected in consultation with an advisor. (See Department website for further information.)

Doctor of Education (Early Childhood Education Policy Concentration)

The basic curriculum for Early Childhood Education Policy concentration includes:

Required Departmental Core:

  • C&T 5000 Theory and inquiry in curriculum and teaching (6 points fall and 3 points spring, of the first year)

Required Research Core:

  • C&T 5502 Introduction to qualitative research in curriculum and teaching (3) or
  • EDPS 5645 Policy seminar I (3)
  • C&T 7500 Dissertation seminar in curriculum and teaching (3)
  • HUDM 4122 Probability and statistical inference (3)
  • HUDM 5122 Applied regression analysis (3)

Required Early Childhood Policy Concentration:

  • C&T 5513 Seminar in early childhood education I (3)
  • C&T 5514 Seminar in early childhood education II (3) or
  • C&T 6502 Studies in curriculum and teaching (3)
  • EDPS 4000 Education and public policy (3)
  • EDPS 5430 Internship (3)

Other courses are selected in consultation with an advisor.

Application Information

Three programs leading to the Master of Arts degree and initial certification in early childhood and early childhood special education are available through the Department of Curriculum and Teaching: Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and dual certification in Early Childhood General and Early Childhood Special Education. Admission to each of these programs is determined on the basis of academic ability and promise as an early childhood educator as evidenced by prior academic work, letters of reference, and the applicant’s own personal statement of purpose.

Admission to programs leading to the Ed.D. degree is determined on the basis of academic ability as evidenced by success in prior academic work and/or other measures of academic aptitude; demonstrable potential for research, field inquiry, or development activities in education; and three years of successful teaching or equivalent experience. All applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores that are no more than five years old, and are required to submit a writing sample. The Department of Curriculum and Teaching evaluates Ed.D. applications twice per year.

All admissions materials must be received by the early or final deadlines as advertised by the College. For information on application deadlines, see the Admissions section of this bulletin.

Faculty List



Visiting Faculty


Full-Time Instructors


Professor of Education
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education

For up to date information about course offerings including faculty information, please visit the online course schedule.

Course List

C&T 4080 Risk and resilience in early development
A first course in child development, pre-birth through age 8, within a family context. Primary focus is on the impact of risk and disability on developmental outcomes, and those factors that promote resilience in young children, with and without disabilities, and their families.
C&T 4083 Working with families of young children with disabilities
This course offers current and historical perspectives on the role of families in the lives of young children with special needs, with a focus on family structures, resources, and concerns. Students will explore strategies for facilitating partnerships between families and professionals that support the developmental and educational needs of young children with disabilities.
C&T 4112 Integrated Curriculum in Early Childhood Educations (full-year course)
A two-semester course focused on integrated theories and methods in ECE/ ECSE. Will incorporate historical and sociocultural contexts, emphasis on physical and interpersonal environments in early childhood settings, centrality of play, social studies and science, adapting curricula for full range of abilities from infancy through grade 2.
C&T 4114 Multicultural Approaches to Teaching Young Children

Exploration of aspects of professional preparation needed for teaching from a multicultural perspective: first, the disposition toward inquiry needed for ongoing self-development; second, the knowledge and skills needed to infuse multicultural curriculum content, program designs, and teaching strategies; and third, the creation of a context through which participants can examine issues of social justice.

C&T 4119 Issues and interdisciplinary methods for working with parents of young children
Issues such as separation, problematic behaviors, and assessment are examined in the development of interdisciplinary strategies for working with parents of young children, with and without disabilities. Sessions are taught by an interdisciplinary team of faculty and invited speakers from special education, clinical psychology, early childhood education, psychiatry, pediatrics, and social work.
C&T 4131 Language and literacy in the early childhood curriculum

Professors Genishi and Souto-Manning. Introduction to research and practices related to early communication and literacy in early childhood settings (birth through prekindergarten). Focus will be on children whose first language is English, as well as English language learners, and on curricula and adaptations for full range of learners. (3 credits toward State literacy requirements)

C&T 4132 Language and teaching in the primary reading/writing classroom

Professors Calkins, Siegel, and Souto-Manning. Permission required. Examines principles of literacy learning in young children and introduces theories, practices, and materials for teaching reading/writing in primary grades in diverse settings.

C&T 4302 Supervised practicum in the educational assessment of young children with exceptionalities
Permission required. Prerequisite: C&T 4080. Participation in educational assessment of young children with exceptionalities. An introduction to formal and informal assessment strategies and their applications to work with young children. Analysis of observational and test data; formulation of educational interventions. Lab fee: $150.
C&T 4308 Field experiences in early childhood/early childhood special education
A practicum for students in the Early Childhood initial certification program that serves as a prerequisite for student teaching. Field experiences will relate to work in other courses and be paired with an ongoing seminar designed to respond directly to issues as they arise in field placements.
C&T 4615 Young children and social policy: Issues and problems
Overview of social policy towards young children as it affects classroom practice and professional goals. Situations such as child abuse, divorce and custody, student classification, and foster care are examined.
C&T 4708 Student teaching-infancy and early childhood
Observation and student teaching. Permission required. This two-course sequence requires 3-5 days a week for participation in community, school, and agency programs and a weekly seminar on campus.
C&T 5118 Infant and toddler development and practice

Permission required. Theory is related to practice and research with infants, toddlers, and families. Students participate in classroom practice and meet for weekly seminar on-site at Early Childhood Centers. Enrollment is for one or two semesters.

C&T 5308 Advanced practicum-infancy and early childhood
Permission required. Students engage in action research at their practicum sites.