Inclusion is not just education for students with special needs, but a philosophical mindset embedded in the constructs of social justice. Inclusive education is defined as a multi-faceted process by which every student is nurtured in growing toward the pursuit of a meaningful life. Teacher candidates are empowered to construct and implement meaningful and research-based professional practices that transform them, their learners, their communities, and their profession.
Program Mission Statement
To equip educational professionals with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to create and support learning environments that promote the academic, social, emotional, ethical, and aesthetic growth of all children. Graduates:
- Are able to teach all children in a way that is child-centered, culturally responsive, strength-based, and relevant.
- Are agents of change who see inclusion as an act of social justice, and who are engaged in purposeful analysis of the political and social nature of schools in diverse settings.
- Are reflective practitioners who use educational theory to analyze and inform their professional decision-making.
- Participate in experiential education opportunities (e.g., site-based classes, field experiences, and in-service professional development opportunities) and collaborate with other professionals to serve children in schools.
The undergraduate inclusive early childhood/childhood major guides candidates to become professionals whose influence and expertise as teachers can contribute to making the world a better place. Successful graduates of the program are eligible for four New York State teaching certificates: Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 2), Teaching Students with Disabilities at the Early Childhood level (Birth-Grade 2), Childhood Education (Grades 1-6), and Teaching Students with Disabilities at the Childhood Level (Grades 1-6. (See note below regarding certification changes.) The major has many distinctive features. College classes are based in schools, allowing Nazareth students to be part of urban and suburban school life at many varied levels from the time they start the program. Major classes concentrate on child development, introduction to literacy and its application to academic content, methods of teaching using differentiated instruction, multicultural sensitivity, and special education. Emphasis on inclusive education practices prepares graduates to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to increase equal opportunities to learn for all students across all dimensions of diversity.
Students double major in inclusive early childhood/ childhood education and an area of the liberal arts and science, thereby deepening and strengthening their preparation to be inclusive educators at the early childhood and childhood levels.
Requirements for Admission
Students self-select for admittance into the major. Students can self-select at any time from their initial application to Nazareth College through their sophomore year. If a student has completed fewer than 45 credit hours, or has a GPA lower than 2.7, the student is accepted conditionally. Students need to maintain a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA to remain in the major.
Before beginning junior level education coursework, students who have declared inclusive early childhood/childhood as a major will be required to demonstrate their readiness to move forward. Application for continuance will include an overall cumulative GPA that meets or exceeds the 2.7 requirement.