Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education

Are you interested in working with young children (birth to third grade) with and without disabilities? Would you like to work in Head Start or a child care, early intervention or teach preschool, kindergarten or first through third grade? Radford University 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.

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

The IDEC Program is a unified (blended ECE and ECSE) program with two options:

  1. Graduate in five years with a master’s of 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 of 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.


  • 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)

Teaching License Eligibility Upon Graduation

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

State Teaching Agreements

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

Required Testing Websites

Note: You should have passing scores on each of these tests turned in to Radford University’s Teacher Education office in early spring of your junior year. Information is available regarding passing score requirements.