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Early Childhood Studies Introduces New Minor and Upper-Level Course in Accessible Instruction

New in the Fall 2023 semester, SUNY Cobleskill’s Early Childhood Studies program introduces a minor in Accessible Instruction, providing students opportunities to gain multidisciplinary knowledge and practical skills for providing instruction to individuals with a range of learning, neurological, and physical motor challenges. The minor is available to students majoring in any of the College’s baccalaureate degree programs whose career ambitions place them in an instructional or community service setting.

Through the 15-credit minor, students will learn to adapt instructional methods and environments for accessibility based on different learners’/participants’ needs and goals. Coursework covers instruction for learners of all ages, from toddlers to adult learners. The curriculum is designed for a wide variety of majors with principles that can be applied broadly to all educational and community service settings and offers flexibility among courses, allowing students to choose an area of focus, including agricultural education, canine, early childhood, environmental studies, equine, and psychology.

Early Childhood Studies Professor Gail Wentworth developed the minor through a sabbatical project, which included an internship with Springbrook Kids Unlimited Preschool, a school serving children with developmental differences.

“Looking across the agriculture and technology fields in which the College offers degrees and certificates, many of our graduates go into areas that encompass community education,” said Dr. Wentworth. “This minor will have broad access and usefulness to a great many of our current and future students. The biggest value is that no matter their major concentration, students who may need to adapt their presentation or instructional methods for people of different abilities will get something out of this minor.”

Alongside the major, Dr. Wentworth has also developed a new course titled: ECHD 360 Differentiated Instruction. The course builds on foundational knowledge of disabilities and special education and is part of the new minor.

Students in the course will analyze case studies of individuals who learn differently, plan differentiated instructional sessions and assessments, design adapted environments, and collaborate in multidisciplinary teams based on their profession of interest. This experiential learning will emulate the multidisciplinary approach practiced by professional educators. Students will engage in field observation, research, ethical problem-solving, and demonstration of instruction.

About Early Childhood Studies at SUNY Cobleskill:
The College’s B.S. in Early Childhood emphasizes best practices in the education and care of children, birth through age five. It offers a full range of early childhood courses and field experiences, including a 450-hour internship for which students may choose from a variety of education and agency settings. There is also a strong liberal arts component, research experience, and career/graduate school preparation. An Associate’s of Applied Science (2-year) program and a One-Year Certificate are also offered. Learn more at



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