The Bachelor of Science program in Early Childhood Education prepares students to teach children birth through 3rd grade in a variety of urban and suburban education settings, including public and private elementary schools and child care centers.
Students learn educational theories and effective teaching practices, participate in field experiences, which require observation and participation in teaching activities at multiple schools, and student teaching. Early Childhood students complete 6 weeks in a preschool classroom and 6 weeks in a primary classroom. Students should meet early and regularly with their advisor to design and monitor their program of study.
The program combines theoretical principles of education and field work with the student's choice of major. Students follow a general pattern of study for middle school and high school levels. In all cases, appropriate field experience plays an integral role.
Students entering the program must be able and willing to devote themselves to a program requiring a minimum of 295 hours of daytime field experiences in schools and child care centers (145 hours in early childhood and 150 hours in bilingual/ESL education). These field-based clinical hours are completed in conjunction with curriculum and strategy courses that require students to participate in teaching activities with children ranging in age from birth through age eight. In addition, the student must successfully complete two six-week periods of full-time student teaching, as part of their culminating early childhood education experience.
The program incorporates a required concentration in bilingual education and English as a Second Language (ESL). Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to apply for endorsements in bilingual education or ESL to be added to their teaching license. Bilingual endorsements require a test of proficiency in the non-English language.
The required curriculum prepares students in special education and students are eligible for an Approval in ECE Special Education on their teaching license. This qualifies the individual to teach young children with special needs in a preschool setting (ages 3-6). Additional courses are available to prepare individuals to teach special education for the full range of the license.
Please make sure you consult the Liberal Studies Requirements, Major Requirements, and College Core Requirements for full degree requirements.
Illinois Professional Educator Licensure with endorsement in Early Childhood Education (birth-grade 3) and Early Childhood Special Education Approval for Preschool (ages 3-6) and ESL/Bilingual Endorsement, an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) approved program.