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Education - Early Childhood: Special and Regular Education

A degree in Unified Early Childhood Education prepares graduates with the required understanding, extensive knowledge and specialized skills to teach all children in a learning environment. UW-Eau Claire offers outstanding teacher preparation and continuing education paths in the only unified program in the region. The Unified Early Childhood Education program is at the forefront of the field of education and meets the demand for dually certified teachers in two shortage areas.

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From my very first meeting with my advisor, I knew that my decision to pursue a career in special education was the absolute best decision I could make in my college career. As a recent graduate and new teacher, I feel prepared, knowledgeable and passionate about my career choice in a way that sets me apart from others.

Hannah Pardon Early Childhood Special Education


Comprehensive major (no minor required)
  • Special Education - Unified Early Childhood (birth to 9 years)

Contact Info

Cathy Thorsen, Ed.D., Special Education and Inclusive Practices
Centennial Hall 3715
1698 Park Avenue

Department website

Prepared for success

UW-Eau Claire special education graduates are in high demand and report around 100 percent placement rate. You will prepare for specialized jobs in a variety of settings including schools, social service agencies, child care, early interventions and home visits.

Where are our grads?

  • Chippewa Valley
  • Mankato, MN
  • Woodbury, MN
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Indiana

Why UW-Eau Claire

Experiential Learning

In Centennial Hall you’ll have access to firsthand experiences and modern facilities, including the department’s Resource Library, the University Human Development Center and the Literacy Boost program. For more than 20 years, faculty have directed students within the Literacy Boost program, a community-based summer program that addresses literacy needs. This program has served 40-60 students per year from the Eau Claire Area School District as well as from other area school districts. This opportunity provides our graduates with a distinct advantage and cultivates competence and confidence that leads to 100 percent job placement.

Cultural Immersion

The Early Childhood in Prague program provides majors with an international experience. This experience includes a two-week school placement with students who are learning English as a second language and allows students to understand what comprises early childhood and special education in other countries. In addition, students can be placed in urban and reservation schools to gain cultural immersion experience.

Get Involved / Student Orgs

The extras can make all the difference! At UW-Eau Claire, campus resources such as the children’s literature collection help students become outstanding teachers. In addition, student organizations provide extra social and learning opportunities for those in education. Aspiring Educators is a student organization for all pre-service teachers that offers many opportunities to get involved in the community. Best Buddies is an organization that matches college students one-on-one with adults with intellectual disabilities. To date, UW-Eau Claire Best Buddies has supported more than 100 friendships since the chapter began in 2004.

Student Teaching

As a senior you will apply your knowledge through a full semester of student teaching or interning. Students may participate in student teaching experiences in a variety of settings outside of the Eau Claire area.

First-Year Suggested Curriculum

  • University writing requirement-depending on placement exam
  • Math for Elementary/Middle Teachers
  • Intro to Special Education
  • General Biology
  • Computers in Education
  • Fundamentals of Speech
  • School and Community Experience in Special Education
  • Intro to the Visual Arts
  • Humanities course
  • Social Science course
  • Physical education course

Special Admission Guidelines

Students must apply for entrance to the Special Education program. Application deadline to the program is March 1 or October 1 of each year. Application does not guarantee admission to the program. Individual programs may require additional application materials. Contact our office for more information.

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