Infant & Family Development /
Early Childhood Special Education

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  • Master of Science in Education: 36 credits
  • Master of Education: 36 credits

Prepare to work with infants and toddlers in early intervention

Earn certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth through grade 2

Marjorie BrickleyMarjorie Brickley
Program Director

Alanna NavitskiAlanna Navitski
Program Director

Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention / Early Childhood Special Education is designed for individuals who currently hold initial New York State certification in general education at the Early Childhood level. The program prepares early childhood educators to work with infants and toddlers and with their families, especially in the area of early intervention.

You will gain in-depth understanding of infant and toddler development, optimal human and physical environments for very young children, and infant mental health. You will learn to differentiate learning experiences for young children, including those with specific disabilities. Through studying the ongoing cycle of observation, assessment and instructional planning you will be able to help young children on the path to their full functional and educational potential.

You will learn to understand the relationships among culture, language and learning in families, communities, and educational program settings. Practical experiences will help you learn how to collaborate with families, other teachers and professionals in your work. You will discover ways to recognize and nurture individual learning styles and build home/school connections.

Distinctive Features

  • Learn about the importance of play in children's development.
  • Help children learn through discovery, exploration and inquiry.
  • Learn to build on children's strengths while addressing their areas of weakness.
  • Discover how to help all children find joy and excitement in learning.

Certification in Education

  • Individuals with initial certification in Early Childhood Education will earn initial New York State certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth to age eight.
  • This certification will lead to professional certification both in the original area and in teaching students with disabilities birth through grade 2 after completing all New York State requirements and completing three years of teaching.


Courses at Bank Street provide students with the opportunity to engage in readings, discussions, direct experience, and reflection, encouraging a constant interplay between theory and practice. Explore the courses for the Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention / Early Childhood Special Education program.

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

Taken concurrently with coursework, supervised fieldwork is designed to foster the integration of theory and practice. During the fall or spring term you will:

  • Gain experience working with infants and toddlers.
    • Student teachers will be placed in inclusive or special education settings.
    • Working teachers and assistants in settings with infants and toddlers may do their supervised fieldwork in their workplace. Those who are not in inclusive or special education settings will gain the necessary experience working with children with special needs.
  • Be supervised by your advisor, a core graduate faculty mentor, as you work with children in your fieldwork setting.
  • Participate in a weekly conference group of 5-7 students and your advisor.
  • Meet individually with your advisor twice each month.

Career Opportunities

  • Teach in early childhood general education, special education, or inclusion classrooms in public, charter or independent schools.
  • Work as an early-interventionist with infants, toddlers, and their families in social service or education-based agencies, as well as in hospitals or daycare settings.
  • Work one-on-one as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) in home or center-based programs

Admission Requirements

  • Candidates need to have, or be working toward, New York State initial certification in general education at the early childhood level (birth through grade 2).
  • Those who hold certification from a state having reciprocity with New York need to apply for New York State certification when applying to this program. If you hold a certificate from another state, you can apply for New York certification through interstate reciprocity. Click here for an outline of the process.
  • See the Admissions Criteria.