CEC Releases EI/ECSE Standards!


The Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators (EI/ECSE) were approved by the CEC Board in July 2020.

These standards establish a vision for what professionals do in practice to deliver effective instruction that improves the learning of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and young children disabilities (0-8) and their families.

The Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators (EI/ECSE) represent the first formal standards to focus specifically on the preparation of early interventionists and early childhood special educators who work with young children ages birth through 8 years of age who have or are at-risk for developmental delays and disabilities and their families, across home, classroom and community settings. These standards build on the history of EI/ECSE as an integrative but unique field of study, policy, research, and practice and emphasize the unique skills and knowledge required for specialization in working with young children and their families.

These standards are designed for candidates in their first special education preparation program. These programs may be at the bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate, or master’s level. The development of both was guided by a paper prepared by CEC’s Standards Framing Paper Workgroup: Shaping the Future of Special Education: Framing CEC’s Professional Preparation Standards, which recommended that the standards:

  • Are practice-based

  • Focus on in-depth candidate proficiency

  • Form the foundation for future professional development

  • Address diverse populations with individual differences and needs

  • Promote continuous improvement of professional preparation programs

  • Clearly articulate the expectations for a well-prepared special educator with stakeholders

The new standards reflect many hours of support from CEC’s DEC EI/ECSE Standards Development Task Force (SDTF). Gratitude for this historic work is offered to the Standards Development Task Force but also to those who paved the way, over decades of passion for the work, and to all members and partners for your feedback and ideas, your vision paved the way forward.

Standards Development Task Force (SDTF)

Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators

  • Eva Horn, Committee Chair; University of Kansas

  • Erin Barton; Vanderbilt University

  • Susan Connor; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Natalie Danner; University of Nebraska-Kearney

  • Lorraine DeJong; Furman University

  • Christy Hooser; Eastern Illinois University

  • Jennifer Kilgo; University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Hailey Love; University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • Ann Mickelson; University of North Carolina-Charlotte

  • Jeanette McCollum; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Megan Purcell, Purdue University

  • Sandra Robbins Amante; University of West Georgia*

  • Cynthia Vail; University of Georgia

  • Serena Wheeler; University of Louisville

  • Hasan Zaghlawan; University of Northern Colorado

* The Standards Development Task Force would like to recognize Sandra Robbins Amante, Ph.D., who is no longer with us. Her work as part of this group and her dedication to high-quality preparation of early interventionists and early childhood special educators have made this work possible.

The standards development process was further facilitated by resources and support from staff at CEC, DEC, and the Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC). DEC and ECPC have posted resources you can use based on the new standards please check back for more in the coming months.

More Good News in CEC Standards Work

CEC has also released the Revised Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators (Initial K-12 Standards).

The current set of CEC Initial Special Education Preparation Standards were introduced in 2012. The focus of the new standards has been narrowed to focus on preparing educators who will be working with students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and have been renamed “Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators.”

Like the EI/ECSE standards, these standards are designed for candidates in their first special education preparation program. These programs may be at the bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate, or master’s level. The development of this set was also guided by a paper prepared by CEC’s Standards Framing Paper Workgroup: Shaping the Future of Special Education: Framing CEC’s Professional Preparation Standards.

These new standards also reflect many hours of support from CEC ’s Standards Development Workgroup.

Standards Development Work Group (SDWG)

Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators

  • Dee Berlinghoff, Committee Co-Chair, Mount St. Mary College

  • Virginia (Ginnie) McLaughlin, Committee Co-Chair; College of William & Mary

  • Tisa Aceves; Loyola Marymount University

  • Rachelle Bruno; Northern Kentucky University

  • Ginevra Courtade; University of Louisville

  • Theresa Garfield; Texas A&M University—San Antonio

  • Shannon Gormley Budin; SUNY Buffalo State

  • John M. Johnston; University of Memphis

  • Mary Little; University of Central Florida

  • Erica McCray; University of Florida, CEEDAR Center

  • Kevin Rubenstein; Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205

  • Vicki D. Stayton; Early Childhood Personnel Center, University of Connecticut Health Center

  • James McLeskey; University of Florida, CEEDAR Center

More information about both sets of standards can be found here.

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