Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program prepares candidates to obtain the professional educator licensure (PEL) with the early childhood education endorsement (eligible to teach children up to second grade, the preschool special education approval (eligible to teach children with disabilities and special needs in pre-kindergarten) and the English as a Second Language or Bilingual Education Endorsement. Additionally, candidates who meet the PEL requirements will automatically be eligible to receive the Gateways to Opportunity Level 5 Early Childhood Education credential. The ECE program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Gateways to Opportunity.
All students in the program complete a common sequence of requirements. The program offering at UCLC is contingent upon sufficient enrollment for a cohort of students. Coursework focuses on preschool and early elementary pedagogy, assessment, play development, behavior management, as well as teaching children with disabilities and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Clinical experiences include placement in a preschool or kindergarten program, an elementary school, and two eight-week sessions of student teaching in preschool or kindergarten and elementary classrooms.
The program may be offered in a hybrid format of online, interactive video, and face-to-face instruction. Students will have scheduled clinical practice, asynchronous online learning, independent study, and project work to be conducted outside of class. Individuals progress through the program with a cohort of students, completing the same courses together, in the same sequence.
In addition to being admitted to the university, students must also be admitted to this major. The entering GPA must be at least a 2.5, and students must have earned a grade of "C" or better in all courses counted toward the degree. Students should have experience with young children in a supervised setting. When applying, students will need to supply three letters of recommendation and provide proof of freedom from the communicable disease tuberculosis (MANTOUX TEST ONLY).
Students must complete the four semester professional sequence via NIU. Those transferring with an AA, AS, or AAT degree will transfer in with junior status. The Office of Admissions offers individualized advisement on the transfer policies and procedures, which can be accessed at:
As part of educator licensure, candidates are required to pass the Illinois Licensure Testing System examinations as required by ISBE. Prior to student teaching, candidates must earn a passing score on the content area test (Early Childhood Education). During student teaching,
candidates must earn a passing score on the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) to receive a recommendation for licensure.
The clinical experiences within the ECE program provides for an inclusive, engaging and supportive environment with children of diverse backgrounds. For example, through the “Open Doors” program, candidates teach first- and second-graders at the Lincoln Elementary School in Bellwood, Illinois, on how to identify their visions for their lives and how to achieve their goals.