In combination with the early childhood education MA, this program prepares students to work in early intervention and preschool special education settings with infants and young children who have developmental disabilities. Graduates learn that working with families, caregivers, and communities is integral to the education and care of young children with special needs.
Graduates are prepared to apply for a credential in early childhood special education, which certifies them to work with children ages zero to five with special needs. This credential may be combined with an MA in child life in hospitals or with an MA in infant mental health.
- Mills College Children's School: Students have the opportunity to connect theory and practice by working in the Mills College Children's School, where they are closely mentored by experienced and knowledgeable early childhood professionals.
- Social justice and equity: Graduates leave our program inspired to use teaching and leadership to improve the lives of young children and families, deepen student learning, increase their own knowledge, transform schools, and increase educational equity.
- Strength-based approach: The program teaches students to approach early childhood with an appreciation of the diverse resources that children and families bring to the education and care of infants and young children with developmental disabilities.
Course work integrates theory and practice to prepare students to teach in urban settings and is guided by an overarching concern for social justice.
The curriculum meets the state of California's credential requirements for a preliminary education specialist credential with the specialty area of early childhood special education and added authorizations in autism spectrum disorder and emotional disturbance disorder. See the Requirements page for a list of courses required for this program; see the Course Descriptions page for paragraph-length descriptions of individual courses.
GENERAL PROGRAM INFORequirements
Course List & Descriptions
During the two years of study, students have four field placements. The first two placements are at the Mills College Children's School during a student's two initial semesters, with at least one semester in the Infant-Toddler Program. During the second year, students have one early childhood special education preschool placement and one early intervention placement.
Student teaching in early childhood special education is an essential feature of the program. In their field placements, students have an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of effective early intervention and preschool special education. The field placements challenge students to evaluate their teaching, to reflect on their teaching practice, and to enhance their skills as professional and special-needs educators. The program faculty work with the teaching placement staff to form a team that facilitates students' entrance into the special education profession.
Upon completion of the program, students may apply to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for a preliminary education specialist credential with the specialty area of early childhood special education, and they may be eligible to add authorizations in autism spectrum disorder and emotional disturbance disorder. The credential allows graduates to work with children with special needs in early intervention programs and preschool education classrooms. Graduates work in schools and early intervention settings with children with special needs from ages zero to five.