May 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Early Childhood Education, B.A.

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The College of Education and Human Development  offers an undergraduate major in Early Childhood Education that prepares future teachers for teaching children birth through age eight with three study track options: Option 1 (licensure), 2 (Director’s Credential, non-licensure) and 3 (licensure for the incumbent workforce).  Students in each option obtain a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Students in each option who successfully complete the program earn a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  Students in Option 1 and 3 are eligible to apply for a teaching license, while students in Option 2 are not able to apply for a teaching license.Options 1 and 3 are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for recommendation of Initial Licensure in Early Childhood Birth - 2nd Grade by entitlement.  Students must meet other requirements for licensure as listed in the Licensure of Teacher and Other School Professionals section of the catalog. 

Option 1 and 2:  The baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood Education is offered for traditional candidates in a mostly face-to-face format.  Courses in option 1 and 2 are offered predictably in the daytime, evening, and online over a period of four fall/spring semesters and one summer, enabling candidates who wish to be employed part- or full-time until their final semester, which consists of full-time student teaching or practicum.  

Option 3:  An alternative pathway to the B.A. in Early Childhood Education and licensure is offered through our Incumbent Workforce Program for candidateds employed as teachers in a childcare center or as a paraprofessional in a school with which we have established a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU).  These agreements with partner school districts permit candidates to continue their work in schools during the day while completing evening/online/hybrid classes over a period of five fall/spring semesters and two summers.  Through the MOU, the school agrees to provide all required clinical experiences and supervision for their candidate.  This slower-paced program permits candidates to maintain the highest quality in their work as early childhood teachers or paraprofessionals , as well as in their course and clinical work toward Early Childhood licensure.  Individuals interested in this program should contact the program advisor.  

Degree and Certifications

Earned degree and certifications for each option are as follows:

Option 1 (licensure) and Option 3 (licensure for the incumbent workforce)

  • Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with endorsements:
    • Early Childhood Education (Birth to Grade 2)
    • ESL (K-12)
    • Early Childhood Special Education Approval
  • Gateways to Opportunity credentials:
    • Early Childhood, Level 5  
    • Infant/Toddler, Level 3 

Option 2 - Director’s Credential (non-licensure)

  • Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Gateways to Opportunity credentials:
    • Early Childhood, Levels 1-5  
    • Infant/Toddler, Levels 1-3
    • Director, Level 1 

Program Requirements

All candidates in this program (Option 1, 2, and 3) must complete 49-52 hours of General Education coursework, 12 hours of Introductory coursework, 42 hours of Professional Education coursework, and 18 hours of Teacher Specialization coursework (ESL) to meet the 121 minimum credit hours for graduation. All options require over 300 hours of clinical experience in the field, in addition to student teaching or practicum.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Apply educational learning theory and research to practical classroom settings.
  • Create welcoming, safe, and organized classroom learning environments that support their individual growth and achievement.
  • Integrate standards, best practices, and principles of cultural competency into early childhood educational planning, teaching, and learning.
  • Evaluate, reflect, and critique their own course and fieldwork with the intention of improving their practice.
  • Build meaningful relationships with instructors, peers, educational professionals, and children to promote community, collaboration, and positive social change.

Admission to Teacher Education

After meeting the university admission requirements, students must meet the following additional requirements to become a candidate in the Early Childhood Education program:

  • be admitted to Governors State University and be in good academic standing;
  • present official transcripts showing a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in all undergraduate work attempted from a 2 or 4 year institution;
  • must earn a grade of  at least a “C” in all general education courses used for program requirements;
  • must earn a grade of at leaset a “B” or better in identified transferable teacher education courses. Identified courses must have been taken within six years of admission to GSU;
  • recieve a positive recommendation from the Early Childhood Education faculty;

Degree Requirements:

Candidates must meet all university requirements for a bachelor’s degree, except candidates not part of the Early Childhood Consortium (Options 1 and 2) must complete the 49-52 hour General Education requirement for teacher licensure instead of the University General Education requirement.

Candidates must also:

  • attain a GPA of 2.75 or better in all General Education coursework, earning a grade of at least a “C” in all courses;
  • attain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all Professional Education coursework, earning a grade of at least a “B-” in all courses;
  • attain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all Teaching Specialization (ESL) coursework, earning a grade of at least a “B-” in all courses;
  • complete all course work at Governors State University within five calendar years;
  • successfully complete all key assessments
  • successfully complete all field experience hours and assessments 
  • receive a positive rating on Summative Student Teaching Evaluation (or Practicum Evaluation for Option 2) with a grade of at least a B-
  • Earn a passing score on the edTPA or CPast assessment (Option 1 and 3 only)
  • complete and submit the GovState approved Criminal Background Check and trainings (FERPA, Mandated Reporting, Behavior Intervention/Conflict Resolution, and Emergency Response) prior to the initial field experience in the schools. Some assigned field site locations may, due to state licensing, require students to submit a brief physical exam, including a TB test, as well as a fingerprint background check;
  • earn satisfactory scores on assessments of professional dispositions; demonstrate professional dispositions in all interactions with faculty/staff and students, as well as teachers and children in schools during field experiences
  • be in good standing with the university and program
  • maintain satisfactory candidate progress as defined in the Early Childhood Education Program Handbook;
  • remain in positive progression via the Early Childhood Education Student Progress Committee

Student Progress

The program faculty members monitor and evaluate student progress continually. The section, Licensure of Teachers and Other School Professionals, in this catalog provides a general description of the standards used to evaluate student progress. A more detailed statement of the standards and processes followed by the Early Childhood Education faculty is available in the Undergraduate Early Childhood Education Student Handbook.

To continue in the program, candidates must earn a grade of “B” or better in ad coursework.  Candidates can be dismissed from the program for not earning a grade of “B” or better in all program coursework, as well as for dispositional and professionalism issues. 

The faculty may permit a candidate to continue conditionally. In such cases, faculty reviews of the candidate’s records and performance identifies evidence that the student is likely be successful in the program. The status of all students permitted to progress conditionally is reviewed by the appropriate professional (i.e. advisor, program coordinator, chair, other faculty, etc.) each semester, and the students are informed accordingly of the conditions necessary for them to be transferred to good standing status. When conditions are met, the candidates are transferred to good standing status. Conditional continuation is an option for program decisions. Candidates neglecting to meet state requirements for teacher licensure are not eligible to progress conditionally. 

Admission to Student Teaching (Options 1 and 3) or Practicum (Option 2)

Before enrolling in student teaching or practicum, candidates must:

  • Complete at least 49-52 hours of General Education requirements with a G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher (for courses taken at GSU) with a grade of “C” or better in each course;
  • Complete all Professional Education course requirements with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher, with a grade of “B” or better in each course
  • Complete all coursework (BBED courses) in the Teaching Specialization (ESL) with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher, with a grade of “B” or better in each course
  • Complete and document a minimum of 100 clock-hours of pre-student teaching field experiences;
  • Receive a positive recommendation from Early Childhood Education faculty.
  • For Option 1 only: verify successful completion of the Early Childhood Content Area (107) Exam of the Illinois Certification Testing System

Option 1 candidates: A student teaching application certifying that the first six of these requirements have been met must be submitted to the Coordinator of Field Experiences by the provided deadline. Candidates should work with their Program Advisors in preparing this application.

Option 2 candidates: Finding a placement for practicum and either taking or registering for EDEC4820 must be completed the semester before starting practicum.

NOTE: Student teaching is not offered during the summer session. Practicum may or may not be offered during the summer session. 

Teacher Licensure Requirements - ISBE (Option 1 and 3)

In order to obtain a teaching license and any endorsements, candidates must complete the degree and program requirements listed. Candidates must also meet the requirements listed in the Licensure of Teachers and Other School Professionals section of this catalog. Candidates are responsible for submitting all documentation to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). To be recommended for licensure by Governors State University, candidates must:

  • apply for licensure within 6 months of completing the program;
  • complete and provide documentation for at least 300 hours of clinical field experiences (not including student teaching)
  • complete and provide documentation for all Professional Education and Teaching Specialization (ESL) coursework with a grade of at least a “B-” in all program coursework, including EDEC 4999 Student Teaching;
  • earn a passing score on the edTPA portfolio or C-Past evaluation;
  • earn a passing score on the ILTS Early Childhood Content Area Exam, prior to student teaching

Degree Requirements

General Education Requirement for Options 1 and 2 (49-52 Hours)

Course work acceptable for meeting these requirements must be college level work and may not include remedial courses even if college credit is granted. Generally, this course work must be at the 1000-level or higher and applicable toward a degree at the institution providing the instruction. Courses with grades below “C” will not be accepted toward the degree. The courses should be taken at the lower-division level.

The General Education requirements listed below meet the criteria towards a degree from Governors State University and the criteria for a teaching license from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

  • Math: 6 hours
  • Science: 10 hours (3 life, 3 earth, 3 physical, 1 lab)
    • Life Science: Biology
    • Earth Science: Astronomy, Geography, Geology
    • Physical Science: Chemistry, Physics
    • Science Lab: Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Written communication: 6 hours
  • Oral communication/speech: 3 hours
  • Health: 3 hours
  • World Geography: 3 hours
  • Psychology: 3 hours
  • American Government: 3 hours
  • U.S. History: 3 hours
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities: 3 hours
  • Literature: 3 hours
    • Children’s Literature
  • Fine Arts: 3 hours
  • *Non-Western Humanities or Third World Culture: 3 hours (only if not counted elsewhere)


At least one three-credit course must be taken in non-Western or Third World cultures from either humanities or social science.

General Education Coursework - Option 3

  • Communication: three courses (9 semester hours), including a two- course sequence in writing (6 semester hours) and one course (3 semester hours) in oral communication;
  • Mathematics: one course (3 semester hours);
  • Physical and Life Sciences: two to three courses (7 to 8 semester hours) with one course selected from the life sciences and one course from the physical sciences, including at least one laboratory course;
  • Health: one course (3 semester hours);
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: three courses (9 semester hours) with ENGL-2131 and at least one course selected from humanities and at least one course from the fine arts; and
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: three courses (9 semester hours) with courses selected from at least two disciplines.

Coursework for Early Childhood Education - Option 1 and 3


Option 1 incorporates at least 100 clock-hours of clinical experience required for Illinois State teacher licensure, prior to student teaching.

Coursework for Early Childhood Education - Option 2


*Note: Option 2 incorporates at least 100 clock-hours of clinical experience prior to practicum. 

Academic Advising

From admission to graduation, your academic advisor is your partner towards success. The Division of Education provides professional academic advisors to serve the needs of all of its candidates. Your program’s academic advisor is the ideal first contact for:

  • individuals considering transfer into this degree program
  • newly admitted candidates who need to develop a plan of study, including evaluation of transfer credits
  • continuing candidates who have questions or comments on program policies, procedures, and requirements
  • individuals considering transfer into this degree program.

Contact Information

Undergraduate Academic Advisor for Early Childhood Education: Eileen Lally

Office: C3388

Phone: 708-534-4399


Advisor Expectations

Your advisor is here to answer any questions you have and help you navigate the requirements needed for the program. Your advisor will:

  • Review your application and transcripts, as well as help you with transferring credits
  • Communicate the programs curriculum, requirements, policies and procedures
  • Determine your study plan based on course offerings and program schedule, including personal schedules
  • Provide you with an outline of your program and courses
  • Help you with registering for classes 
  • Encourage and support you in fulfilling your academic goals

Student Expectations

Once you are admitted, make sure you reach out to your advisor for guidance throughout your program. Students are responsible for talking to their advisor regularly and keeping up with their study plan. As a student, you are expected to carry out the following responsibilities to ensure you receive the adequate advising services you need for success:

  • Keep track of all of your advising materials
  • Come to advising appointments prepared with questions
  • Fully understand your degree requirements and how to access university and program policies and procedures
  • Be fully aware of all deadlines. Check the University Academic Calendar regularly
  • Accept responsibility for your actions, decisions, and academic performance
  • Check your GovState email regularly

Information and guidelines about advising can be found at Academic Advising at GSU.

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