The major in early childhood education offers focused study to strengthen and broaden the professional preparation of teachers and other professionals who work with young children, birth through eight years. In addition to the basic requirements, course work will be determined on the basis of the individual candidate’s undergraduate preparation, experience, and professional goals. Candidates pursuing this M.S.Ed. may also choose course work to meet Early Childhood Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) requirements to teach children from birth through grade 2 in Illinois public schools. Candidates may also elect course work to fulfill Special Education approval requirements for teaching children with disabilities and special needs, birth through age six. Advisers evaluate candidates’ prior course work, professional experience, and previous credentials to determine individual programs leading to Professional Educator License with Early Childhood endorsement and/or Early Childhood Special Education approval.
Programs of study must include a minimum of 33 semester hours, of which a minimum of 18 semester hours must be chosen from courses in early childhood education. Candidates elect either the non-thesis or thesis option.
A focus area will be selected to provide a broader base of knowledge, a supportive skill, or more sophisticated research competencies. The focus area requires a minimum of 9 semester hours, approved by adviser, selected from the following: administration of early childhood programs, emergent literacy, movement development, pedagogy in early childhood education, research in early childhood education, and special education.
Successful completion of a comprehensive examination must occur in conjunction with the master’s project.
Candidates electing the thesis option will select research in early childhood education as their focus area. Six of the 9 semester hours required for the focus area must be taken in SEEC 699, Master’s Thesis. Candidates electing the thesis option are still required to take SEEC 598.