The B.S. degree with a major in early childhood education is a program designed to prepare personnel for professional roles serving children from birth through eight years of age and their families. This program includes the concepts, competencies, and skills required by teachers, child care workers, and other professionals involved in the education and care of young children.
The early childhood education major prepares candidates to obtain professional educator licensure with the early childhood education endorsement (eligible to teach children up to second grade in Illinois Public School System) and the preschool special education approval (eligible to teach children with disabilities from three through six years of age in the Illinois public school system). The early childhood education program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Licensure and Endorsement Requirements
Candidates who major in early childhood education are required to meet Illinois licensure requirements including at least three semester hours of cultural diversity course work. To advance to the first professional semester, candidates must have a) achieved an NIU GPA of 2.50 or better, b) completed the safety tutorial, and c) obtained a passing score on all sections of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). The TAP may be waived by ISBE based on the applicant’s ACT plus writing or SAT scores. See an adviser for current testing requirements. To continue to enroll, candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.50 in all professional education courses. The major GPA is calculated using course work completed in the Department of Special and Early Education.
As part of educator licensure,candidates are required to pass 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). Failure to earn a passing score on the edTPA may result in the candidate receiving a degree without university recommendation for licensure.
Due to the comprehensive nature of the program and required course sequence, all candidates must plan their program of study with an early childhood education adviser. Some districts where candidates are placed for clinicals and student teaching may require a TB test. For information on additional requirements, candidates should carefully read the catalog section entitled “Educator Licensure Requirements.”
The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.
Check departmental information for any additional requirements.