In the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education Programs at Teachers College, Columbia University, we prepare early interventionists, early childhood teachers, and special education professionals who are committed to the well-being of young children and knowledgeable about Birth-Grade 2 education within a broad social and cultural spectrum. Our degree programs focus on urban settings and center issues pertaining to curriculum, teaching, and learning from a critical social justice perspective. Our primary goal is to prepare early education professionals to work with children (with and without identified disabilities) and their families in various environments that are diverse and inclusive in nature, such as homes, schools, and early learning centers. Our curriculum prepares our graduate students for professional settings through pedagogical, political, psychological, and sociological perspectives.
Course content addresses the characteristics and needs of young children with and without identified disabilities. We emphasize the importance of understanding children’s development and learning in context because individual learners vary with respect to many characteristics, including family income, language repertoire, gender identity, racial background, cultural practice, and dis/ability. Although we offer a bilingual extension, which can be pursued alongside the Early Childhood Education M.A. with Initial Certification (40-point) or the Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education M.A. with Dual Initial Certification (48-point), we are committed to preparing early educators to build on the strengths of young multilingual learners. As such, our programs focus on the development and education of young multilingual learners throughout their courses.
We offer a number of field experiences in a wide range of settings. It is through these direct experiences that theories about development, learning, and curriculum come to life and that teachers construct the foundation of their professional practice.