M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education

About the Program

Are you looking for an innovative, interdisciplinary program—the only one in the Chicago area that blends the disciplines of early childhood education and special education? Do you want to support children with special needs—as well as their families? Do you want to participate in field experiences right away? Do you wish to work with young children with disabilities at a critical time in their lives, when effective intervention can have a substantial positive impact? Do you want to specialize in early intervention (birth to age three) or early childhood special education (age three through five)?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you owe it to yourself to learn more about our M. Ed. in early childhood special education.

What You'll Learn
In this program, you will:

  • Learn firsthand how to support children with special needs.
  • Establish strong, collaborative relationships with children’s families.
  • Complete challenging, hands-on field experiences.
  • Build learning partnerships with seasoned professionals.
  • Engage in the self-reflection required to work successfully with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with special needs and their families.
  • Prepare to make a remarkable difference in young lives at critical moments, when effective intervention can make a substantial positive impact. 

A Flexible Format
This is a two-year, part-time program. Classes meet two evenings a week, but observations, field experiences, internships, and student teaching usually require additional daytime commitments. You should plan to adopt a particularly flexible schedule during your second year of study—it may not be possible to maintain a full-time job in the second year.

You can earn your Professional Educator License with a focus in Early Childhood Education with Early Childhood Special Education approval with completion of additional coursework and primary student teaching.

Illinois Professional Educator License Option
At Elmhurst College, you can obtain an Illinois State Board of Education Professional Educator License with a focus in Early Childhood Education with Early Childhood Special Education approval. The  licensure option will allow you to teach in the public schools at the following levels: pre-school (3-5 year olds) with special needs, as well as typical kindergarten through second grade.

To earn the Professional Educator License, students are required to take and complete four exams, three additional courses and an extra eight weeks of student teaching. This work can be completed concurrently with your graduate study, but may extend the program beyond the required two years.

Students must take and complete the following exams:

  • One of the following: All four sections of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), or, ACT with a total score of 22 or higher and a writing score of a 19 or higher, or, SAT with a total score of 1030 or higher and a writing score of 450 or higher
  • The Early Childhood Content Exam (# 107)—to be taken in year two of the program
  • The APT Exam (#188)—to be taken in year two of the program
  • edTPA—to be completed during student teaching in year two of the program

Students must take and complete the following courses:

  • ECE 301: Curriculum Trends, Organizational Patterns and Methods of Early Childhood Education
  • ECE 308: Instructional Methods for the Young Child
  • EED 314: Literacy I

Students interested in the licensure option should contact the program director.

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