The Early Childhood Education program is available in two format options: on-campus and online.
The online option is a viable option for prospective students living outside the Denver Metro Area who wish to purse higher education in ECE and the Colorado ECSE Specialist license but have limited access to in-person advanced work in ECE. It is also an excellent option for those living within the Denver Metro Area who need the online format due to work or family obligations or those who prefer the flexible schedule and individual time management offered in the online format. All classes are fully online; however, online students are required to come to Denver for a three to five day summer seminar each June to meet students and faculty face-to-face and attend student advising sessions.
ECSE Specialists licensure program completion varies from six to seven semesters and 24 to 48 credits depending on the selected program option:
ECSE Specialist added endorsement only: 24 credit hours
Master's Degree in ECE +ECSE Specialist added endorsement: 36 credit hours
ECSE Specialist initial license only: 33 credit hours
Master's Degree in ECE +ECSE Specialist initial license: 39 credits
Field experiences are a part of each course and provide an opportunity for the student to gain knowledge, abilities, and dispositions while interacting with children, families, program staff and community agencies. Students in the ECSE program complete 290 clock hours of fieldwork in conjunction with courses.
Students completing the ECSE Specialist license complete 6 credit hours (510 clock hours) between infant/toddler, preschool and primary levels practica. ECSE students may complete one of the three practica at their own work site.
Candidates must pass the state licensure PLACE test (#27 ECSE) and pass a practicum portfolio review before applying for licensure. Students completing the MA in ECE also complete comprehensive examination.
The Early Childhood Special Education licensure program is designed for professionals who are particularly interested in learning specialized skills for working with young children with special needs and their families in the age range birth through 8 years of age. Experience with young children with special needs is an important prerequisite to the ECSE licensure program. These field experiences can be in early intervention, preschool or K-2 settings, and must include working directly with young children with special needs and their families. Field experiences help prospective teachers understand the challenges and become more comfortable with working with young children with special needs. Prior to acceptance in the ECSE licensure program, prospective applicants must provide evidence documenting at least one year of this field experience. This can include employment, practicum experiences from other programs, or volunteer experiences. The experience must include working with young children at-risk for or with special needs (e.g., Head Start classrooms, early intervention providers, inclusive preschools, etc.). In addition to this previous experience, it is required that ECSE licensure students continue to work in an inclusive early childhood program (as paid professional or regular volunteer) for the duration of the ECSE program at CU Denver.
Prospective applicants who meet the requirements for admittance into the Master’s degree in ECE but do not have the required field experiences for ECSE can begin as part of the MA-only track and then apply for transfer to the ECSE licensure program once one year of relevant field experiences has been documented.