The Interdisciplinary Program in Early Childhood Studies is a collaborative program offered by the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences in the College of Health and Human Sciences and the Department of Special and Early Education in the College of Education. The program is designed to prepare professionals to serve children from birth through age eight and their families. This program includes the concepts, competencies, and skills required to provide the education and care of young children in public and private school classrooms, Illinois Pre-Kindergarten programs, and other early childhood settings serving children from birth through grade three. The Interdisciplinary Program in Early Childhood Studies is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
All students in the program, including those housed in the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences and those housed in the Department of Special and Early Education, complete a common sequence of core requirements. Included in this core are courses focusing on early childhood and elementary pedagogy. Students add on to the core courses from their major college, including in both cases courses which include a focus on the teaching of children with disabilities as required by Illinois Standards. All students in the interdisciplinary program in both colleges complete a sequence of pre-clinicals, including placement at an Illinois Pre-Kindergarten (at-risk) program, an elementary school, and two eight-week sessions of student teaching in Illinois public Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, or Elementary classrooms.
Within the program, individuals may choose to pursue an emphasis in either 04 Early Childhood Certification (College of Health and Human Sciences) or 04 Early Childhood Certification with Preschool Special Education Approval (College of Education).
Admission to either of the emphases in the interdisciplinary major in Early Childhood Studies is limited. University admission does not necessarily constitute eligibility for admission into this program. Students must be admitted to the Early Childhood Studies program before they can enroll in any of the professional coursework.
Students pursuing this emphasis qualify for Illinois Preschool Special Education Approval to teach early childhood special education non-categorical for children with disabilities from three through six years of age in Illinois public school systems. In addition to core coursework for the Illinois Early Childhood Teacher Certification (04), students admitted to this emphasis will complete coursework in the areas of bilingual education, serving preschool children with special needs, and democratic classroom management in diverse settings. The knowledge and skills developed through this emphasis position students to become effective teachers in a changing society and to meet the needs of children in inclusive classrooms. For more information contact the ECS Academic Adviser in the Department of Special and Early Education (815) 753-8361 or (815) 753-1997.
This emphasis is designed to meet the high demand for teachers, in public and private school settings including Illinois Pre-Kindergarten, kindergarten, and elementary school grades 1-3, who are prepared to work with parents, work with diverse populations, and engage in the creation of family-school-community partnerships. Students graduating from this program emerge with an in-depth background in child and human development, including understanding of both typical and atypical children and understanding of children within the context of child, family, and community. Also, students emerge with a strong understanding of the classroom as a community of learners with unique and similar needs based on individual, family, and cultural contexts. For more information contact the ECS Undergraduate Academic Adviser in the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences (815) 753-1891.