Childhood Special & General Education

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  • Master of Science in Education: 52 credits

Learn how to engage all children, including those with disabilities, in meaningful learning

Become certified in general education and in teaching students with disabilities in grades 1 through 6

Diane NewmanDiane Newman

The Childhood Special and General Education program provides teachers and prospective teachers with the broad preparation they need to work with the wide range of learners in grades 1 through 6 who may be in general, inclusive, or special education settings.

Through close observation of your students, you will learn to identify and address emerging special needs. You can then tailor your teaching approach to the needs of each student, creating a classroom that values, validates and nurtures children and difference.

As you engage with this program's emphasis on rich and engaging curriculum development across all subject areas (math, science, reading, social studies and the arts), you will discover how to create learning environments that accommodate children's abilities and disabilities. You will learn to differentiate curriculum in order to reach all learners. You will develop classroom management techniques that will allow you to engage all learners, while developing safe and nurturing relationships with children and their families.

You will also learn to work collaboratively with parents and other educators to devise an educational plan that supports the whole child. Special attention will be paid to learning to work in urban settings.

Distinctive Features

  • Meet the needs of diverse learners by building on students’ strengths and interests.
  • Prepare to work creatively and effectively in general, special education and inclusion settings
  • Develop specific strategies to promote learning in children with disabilities

Certification in Education

When you graduate, you will be eligible for New York State initial certification in Childhood General Education and in Teaching Students with Disabilities, allowing you to work with children in grades 1 through 6 in general education, special education and inclusive settings. After teaching for three years you will be eligible for professional certification.


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 Childhood Special & General Education master's degree.

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

Taken concurrently with coursework, supervised fieldwork is designed to foster the integration of theory and practice. You will:     

  • Work in classroom settings as a full-time assistant, head teacher or as a student teacher (3 days each week):
    • Student teachers will be placed both at the grade 1 through 3 level, and at the grade 4 through 6 level, covering both general and special education settings.
    • Working teachers or assistant teachers who stay with a particular grade in the age range may use their own classroom as their setting for fieldwork. These students will gain additional experience through a summer practicum.
  • 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 general education classrooms.
  • Teach in inclusive and self-contained special education classrooms.
  • Tutor or work as a learning specialist in schools or in private practice.
  • Work in special education teacher support services (SETSS) roles.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants to the Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification program need an academic background in the liberal arts and sciences. 
  • See the Admissions Criteria.