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Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education (5-Year)

Are you interested in working with young children (birth to 3rd grade) with and without disabilities? Would you like to work in Head Start or a child care, early intervention or teach preschool, kindergarten or 1st through 3rd grade? RU is prepared to help you realize your dreams.


The IDEC program prepares graduates to work with children birth to age eight at all levels of abilities and their families in a variety of settings. The program is based on professional, national, state, and local standards and ethical guidelines. We believe that graduates should be skilled in a range of options regarding curriculum, methods and program models based on research, theories and best practices. With this knowledge and a variety of field experiences, graduates have the flexibility to individualize instruction based on the needs of children, families, and communities. Ethics guide the professional’s work with children and families and govern the IDEC program. We believe that advocacy for children, families, and the profession is essential to improving the quality of life for children.


Radford University’s IDEC Program is accredited by the following professional organizations:

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Educators (NCATE)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  • Division for Early Childhood (DEC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges (SACS)

Graduates from RU’s IDEC Program are eligible for these Virginia teaching licenses:

  • Virginia Prek-3rd grade teaching licensure
  • Virginia early childhood special education licensure (birth through age 5)

Virginia has interstate teaching agreements with 48 states across the United States.

Radford University’s Interdisciplinary Studies Early Childhood Program (IDEC) combines the best practices and research in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and those in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).

Competencies in the IDEC Program include the following areas:

  • Child Development
  • Infant & Toddler Focus
  • Young Children with Special Needs
  • Preschoolers & Primary Grade Children
  • Environmental Settings
  • Special Medical and Health Needs
  • Individual Child & Family Plans
  • Relationships with Diverse Families
  • Guidance & Behavior Management
  • Assessment & Documentation of Progress
  • Instruction & Adaptations
  • Urban and Rural Settings
  • Collaboration with Professionals
  • Mentor Paraprofessionals & Volunteers
  • Curriculum Development
  • Program Models in ECE & ECSE

The IDEC Program is a unified (blended ECE and ECSE) program with two options:
1. Graduate in five years with a Master’s in Science in Education that leads to public school teaching licensure in both early childhood (prek-3rd grade) and early childhood special education (birth through age 5). Five year graduates can work in public schools and early intervention.

2. Graduate in four years with a Bachelor’s in Science, having a strong background in early childhood and early childhood special education. Additional courses in administration in child care are available for those interested in directing/owning a child development center. Four year graduates can work in Head Start, Preschool, Child care, and early intervention programs.

Websites for information about the different tests required by the Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) and the Reading for Virginia Educators (RVE)

Students should have passing scores on each of these tests turned in to Radford University’s Teacher Education office early Spring of their junior year.