Traditional Early Childhood Education Pathway:
Scholars in five different departments (Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, Human Development and Family Studies, Art Education, and Music Education) work together to deliver a program that focuses on developmentally appropriate and culturally sustaining teaching practices, interdisciplinary learning, and the power of child-lead investigation. Candidates receive an Early Childhood Special Education Letter of Approval (birth through age five) in addition to an Early Childhood teaching license. Graduates are employed in schools throughout Illinois, across the United States, and abroad.
The Early Childhood Education program focuses on understanding perspectives of young children. Candidates learn to thoughtfully watch and listen and to use children’s needs and interests to drive instruction.
This program has a strong focus on family engagement. Candidates have multiple opportunities to engage with families in university classrooms and field placements. Candidates will learn about the child in the context of their family and the value of partnering with families to support learning.
Early Childhood Professional Education Pathway:
The Early Childhood Professional Education Program is designed to make higher education more accessible and to address the shortage of early childhood teachers and educators in the state. This 2.5 year degree program is intended for transfer students who have already earned an associate's degree in early childhood education or closely related field.
This professional teacher licensure concentration prepares students to teach young children birth to grade 2 in settings that require teacher licensure. Students build upon prior coursework and experience in early childhood to advance their understanding of young children’s learning and their own teaching practices. Coursework includes instructional planning, delivery of instruction, assessment, child development, family and community relationships, content area instruction, and fieldwork in early childhood settings.