Niagara University's College of Education received approval to offer a new master's degree in early childhood and special education (birth - grade 2). The new M.S. Ed. program leads to initial and professional New York state teacher certification in both early childhood education and students with disabilities from birth through grade 2.
"We have a compelling and critical need to think differently about the engagement of our youngest children in learning and the development of their social, emotional, cognitive and physical abilities," commented Dr. Debra Colley, dean of NU's College of Education. "What we do in early childhood paves the way for academic performance along the entire educational continuum. We have created this integrated curriculum to extend our Quality Improvement Program of Niagara, a project that focuses on increasing the kindergarten readiness of young children. The preparation of teachers who will specialize in early childhood education, specifically in early childhood special education, meets a challenge we have in our high-needs communities."
The new course of study focuses on an interdisciplinary, collaborate and systems-oriented approach to the preparation of teachers who will specialize in early childhood education and in working with young children with disabilities. The program meets high academic standards, with faculty who bring a broad base of scholarship, teaching experience and national recognition to this field of study. The early childhood and special education program aligns with the national standards of the Council for Exceptional Children and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Niagara University's College of Education currently offers programs that are nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and that have received national recognition through CEC and NAEYC.
"Our advanced graduate programs offer flexibility for practicing teachers, while providing comprehensive clinical experience and mentorship that links theory and practice for novice teachers," notes Dr. Chandra Foote, professor and chairperson of NU's Department of Early Childhood and Childhood Education. "The program, however, also provides an exciting opportunity for international comparative study. Enrolled candidates can participate in a study abroad program in Italy, one that focuses on exemplary (and historical) practice in early childhood development, programming and teaching practice."
Applications are currently being accepted for this new program, with courses beginning in the fall semester of 2011.