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  • Center for Education

    • Hyatt Hall
    • tel: 610-499-4294
    • fax: 610-499-4623

Curriculum, Early Childhood and Special Education

Program Highlight

study abroad

Study Abroad

Widener faculty and students from the Cross-Cultural Research in Trinidad course partnered with faculty and students from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad. They toured the island's schools, offering advice on how to improve conditions for special needs students. Read more about this enriching experience.

Students majoring or seeking certification in early childhood and special education pursue teaching careers in preschool through grade 4 (age 9) and may also work with special education populations.


The curriculum consists of 90 credits in education and 44 credits in the arts and sciences (humanities, social sciences, and science) for a total of 134 credits. All students complete a 14-week student teaching semester.

Sample Courses

View a selection of courses students typically take as an early childhood/special education major. 

ED 1103 Evidence-based Instruction High Incidence Disability

This course provides a historical perspective and a critical overview of definitions, identification procedures, educational strategies, and service delivery options for students with learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disabilities. Current trends in assessment and educational interventions are emphasized.

ED 1104 Emergent Literacy

This course focuses on young children’s language and reading development and the relationship between language and reading acquisition. Students learn concepts central to language development, language achievements at different ages, concepts of emergent literacy, and models of reading acquisition and skilled reading.

ED 1201 Early Literacy

This course involves the way "candidates must use their understanding and knowledge about the complex characteristics of children’s families and communities to create and sustain respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning." (Pennsylvania Department of Education Pre K-4 Program Specific Guidelines, 2009)

ED 1204 Engaging Young Children, Integrating Curriculum, & Instruction

This course focuses on creating a developmentally appropriate classroom and fostering partnerships with children, parents, schools and the community. Topics include planning the content curriculum, and enhancing cognitive, language arts, physical development, art education, mathematics, and social development. The course covers the development of the social child and the implications of this development for learning within the community. Candidates must know and understand prerequisite skills for learning that promote academic achievement and school success. Canidates learn that academic achievement is founded on emotional and social skills and that learning is a process that requires self-regulation, self-awareness, confidence, motivation, and problem-solving skills.

ED 1205 Special Education Processes and Procedures: Screening, Assessment, IEP Development, and Evaluation

This course prepares discipline-based educators who engage in reflective decision-making and research-validated professional practice that results in creation of effective instructional programs for diverse groups of children (e.g., children with learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional/behavioral disorders). Educational goals and assessment strategies are essential components of reflective practice, and the course provides participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to collect and use a wide range of assessment data in general education and special education settings.

For more information about the courses and requirements for early childhood and special education, please refer to page 118 in our course catalog.