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.
Early Childhood Education, Professional Educator Licensure
The early childhood education major prepares candidates to obtain professional educator licensure (PEL) with the early childhood education endorsement (eligible to teach children up to second grade and the preschool special education approval (eligible to teach children with disabilities and special needs in pre-kindergarten) in the Illinois Public School System. Candidates who meet the PEL requirements will automatically be eligible to receive the Gateways to Opportunity Level 5 Early Childhood Education (ECE) credential. 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, and Gateways to Opportunity.
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) a grade of C or better in HDFS 230, HIST 260 or HIST 261, LTIC 301, LTIC 400, LTIC 420, MATH 201, PSYC 102, SEEC 230, SEEC 401, SESE 240, and three of the following courses: GEOG 202 or GEOG 204, POLS 100, and one earth/space science courses, one life science course, and one physical science course, and c) completed the safety tutorial. 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.