University of Maine at Farmington Special Education student working with children in a school classroom as part of her student teaching assignment.

The University of Maine at Farmington Early Childhood Special Education program prepares you to work with young children with special needs and their families in a variety of settings.


Early Childhood Special Education – A White-Hot Career Path

Pre-COVID, the job market for Early Childhood Special Education teachers was re-hot. During and after COVID, the state of Maine and indeed the nation, saw the need for Early Childhood Special Education professionals reach an all-time peak in demand. Right now, it’s a white-hot job market for Early Childhood Special Educators with no end in sight.

Simply put, the demand for competent, professional educators of young children with special needs vastly outpaces the pool of job candidates. This is where the University of Maine at Farmington comes in.

Maine’s Governor, supported by the Maine Legislature and authorized by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, is investing the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan relief funds into Early Childhood Education. Where is this investment happening? At the University of Maine at Farmington. Previously, the Sweatt-Winter expansion project received $1.4 million from a bond for UMaine System workforce development infrastructure approved by voters statewide in 2018. The Lennox Foundation also contributed $100,000.

“One of the highest priorities for higher education is preparing the next generation of educators,” said UMaine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “Maine families have to have access to reliable child care and great local schools. We are investing in programs and facilities that can help meet that need.”

To help meet that need, UMF is renovating a former call center at 274 Front Street (right across the street from campus) into the future home of its nationally accredited Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center.

UMF's new Sweatt-Winter Early Childhood Education Center
Building located at 274 Front Street in Farmington to be renovated for new Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center

Expected to open in January 2023, the new 10,384 square foot state-of-the-art child care and academic facility will allow UMF to create at least 20 slots for high-quality infant and toddler care in Franklin County, and increase enrollment in its undergraduate and graduate Early Childhood Education programs by at least 20% in support of critical state workforce needs in the sector that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

This larger, expanded facility will replace the existing Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center (which is at capacity), located on campus.

The NEW facility will be your new state-of-the-art learning & working lab — right across the street from campus. Here, you’ll work with young children and their families, your mentoring UMF professors and other professionals as you gain the real-work, hands on experience and skill set employers are desperately seeking.

This is where classroom theory meets real education practice — you’ll experience first-hand why UMF Works.


Student teacher working with a child in a school classroomTeacher Education-focused Open House – Friday, October 21

Think you want to teach? Perfect! You’ve come to the best place.

We invite you to our special Teacher Education-focused Open House — a day designed to provide you with hands-on experiences that will showcase why UMF graduates are such sought after educators. Meet with our Education faculty, current Education students and Education alumni.

They’ll share their experiences and describe the wide array of teacher education opportunities available to you here at UMF: Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Elementary Education, Secondary / Middle Education, School Health Education, Special Eduation, World Languages Education K-12 and more.

Campus tours, lunch in South Dining Hall and separate sessions for families are all part of this special teaching-focused day.

Come find out why UMF is considered one of the premier teacher education schools in New England.

Teacher Education Open House


Our Early Childhood Special Education program focuses on child development, with an emphasis on infants, toddlers and preschoolers with special needs.

Our program is based on National Association for the Education of Young Children standards for teacher preparation and is CAEP accredited. One of the things that makes our Early Childhood Special Education program distinctive is that it features extensive, hands-on, fieldwork experiences.

Our Education students describe their senior year Student Teaching assignment as the most meaningful experience of their UMF career. It’s when they’re teamed with a mentor school teacher (often a UMF alumnus) and they get to put into practice in a school classroom what they’ve learned in their UMF college classes.

See More About Student Teaching

You can choose one of three Early Childhood Special Education options:

  • Option I (Birth to 5 certification) coursework and field experiences leading to Maine Teacher Certification, Endorsement 282: Teacher of Children with Disabilities (birth to school-age five).
  • Option II (Birth to 5 and K-3 certification) coursework and field experiences leading to Endorsement 282: Teacher of Children with Disabilities (Birth to school-age five) and Endorsement 029: Early Elementary (Kindergarten through grade 3).
  • Option III coursework and field experiences leading to a degree in Early Childhood Special Education without teacher certification.

The UMF Center for Assistive Technology is the only public or private university-based assistive technology lending and demonstration center in Maine.

Here, you’ll have full access to specialized on-campus education-focused resources such as UMF’s Children’s Programs and our Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center, which includes assistive technology resources, children’s literature, and early childhood curricula materials.

Assistive Technology is any device or product that makes it easier for someone with a disability to live more independently.

The University of Maine at Farmington has earned the reputation as having one of the premier teacher education programs in New England.

  • 2019 National Education Assoc. Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence recipient, Dan Ryder, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2017 Maine Elementary Principal of the Year, Jennifer McGee ’86, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year, Tammy Ranger ’99, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Dorman ’93, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2015 Maine Elementary School Principal of the Year, Tracy Williams ’82, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2014 Maine Elementary School Principal of the Year, Melanie Ellsworth ’84, is a UMF Education graduate
  • Since 2006 seven UMF Education graduates have been named Maine Teacher of the Year

Plus

  • UMF Education graduates have received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
  • UMF Education graduates received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Educator Award
  • UMF Education graduates have been named Maine History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehman Institute of America
  • A UMF Education graduate is an Adult Space Camp graduate and earned certification at the Google Teacher Academy in London
  • A UMF Education graduate received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award
  • A UMF Education graduate received the prestigious Apple Design Award
  • UMF was featured as a Newsweek.com Great Teaching School

And

  • UMF is one of only three nationally accredited teacher education programs in Maine
  • Our full-time faculty supervise Education students in off-campus field experiences, starting with practicum in your second year, followed by student teaching in your senior year

Farmington Education grads get hired.

According to a 2020 survey of UMF Education graduates over the past three years, 83% of respondents indicated being employed in the field of education, with 85% hired within a year of graduation and 73% employed within four months of graduation.

Overall, 94.3% of respondents indicated they were Very Satisfied or Satisfied with their teacher education preparation at UMF.

This program will prepare you to be eligible for licensure in the State of Maine. Visit the UMaine System State Authorization & Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, in addition to the contact information needed to inquire further into the licensure requirements associated with this program.

Madi Follett portrait
Madi Follett, UMF Early Childhood Special Education graduate

“My advice for students is to do what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown. Sometimes the things that scare you the most are the most rewarding. Always try to do what’s best for you — even if it’s intimidating and unfamiliar. And don’t forget to always be kind to yourself and practice self-care strategies every step of the way.”

— Madi Follett

Maddie Follett graduated from UMF in 2020 with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education. She works as a Behavioral Health Professional / Educational Technician at The Children’s Center in Skowhegan, Maine, where she provides pre-school aged children with behavioral therapies and educational services.


See Where Our Grads Teach

Want to save more than $6,000 per year in tuition? This University of Maine at Farmington program qualifies for the New England Regional Program tuition discount.

This price break is for residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont for the 2022-2023 academic year — a savings of more than $6,000.

See More About the New England Regional Program Tuition Discount Got questions? Ask a professor in this program

Contact Us

Office of Admissions
University of Maine at Farmington
246 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938-1994
tel  207-778-7050
fax  207-778-8182
TYY (via Maine Relay Service) dial 711
umfadmit@maine.edu