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Early Childhood Education

Philosophy

The primary focus of the Early Childhood Education Program at IVCC is to prepare teachers of young children, ages birth to 8, who will work in a variety of settings. It is the program's intent to instruct students on the theoretical knowledge of learning and human behavior, attitudes that foster learning, knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices, and repertoire of teaching skills that can effectively impart knowledge to the young child.

The Early Childhood Education Philosophy is based on commitment to core values that are deeply rooted in the history of the field. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethical Conduct, teachers must commit to:

  • Appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle.
  • Base our work with children on knowledge of child development.
  • Appreciate and support the close ties between the child and family.
  • Recognize that children are best understood in the context of family, culture and society.
  • Respect the uniqueness, dignity, and worth of each individual.
  • Help children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust, respect and positive regard.

 

Associates of Arts in Teaching (ATT)

The Associate of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood Education is designed to provide students with a program equivalent of the first two years of most four-year college teacher education programs in early childhood education.   The degree consists of the following components:  general education courses, professional education courses, and courses in the early childhood education major area.  These courses include the 17 Early Childhood Education Content Standards.  Students must also pass the Illinois Test of Basic Skills to earn the AAT in Early Childhood Education.  AAT students are to complete the degree prior to transfer.  Admission to baccalaureate degree programs is competitive; completion of these courses alone does not guarantee admission.  Students who complete the degree and are admitted to Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Concordia University and DePaul University will have the opportunity to graduate at the same time as those students who started at those universities as freshman students.  Students not attending one of the previously stated universities should check individual college requirements before completing the curriculum as outlined.

 

Associate in Applied Science Degree

The Early Childhood Education Curriculum is designed to develop the professional skills necessary to become quality teachers through effective combination of education and field experience. The sequence of courses provides classroom and laboratory experiences which foster understanding of children;s needs and develops the occupational skills necessary to plan and develop the appropriate learning classroom and curriculum. The A.A.S. degree meets the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) requirements for an early childhood lead teacher (two years of college credit with 6 credit hours in Early Childhood Education) and a facility director (two years of college credit with 18 semester hours in Early Childhood Education). With the completion of the A.A.S. degree, it identifies greater transferability of courses to four-year institutions in the field of early childhood education.

 

Employment Possibilities

Depending on individual motivation, purpose in life and initiative, the field of early childhood education provides a wealth of possibilities. The demand for early childhood teachers is great and expected to remain high. Some of the factors affecting demand for early childhood programs are the large number of families in which all adults are employed, trends in the national economy, government priorities for children and their families and public demand for services.

Graduates meet the educational requirements for positions of associate teachers (NAEYC Professional Development Path); lead teacher in DCFS licensed facilities including programs serving infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children; teacher-aide in public school early childhood classrooms; Head Start programs; or child care center directors (at age 21). With further education and individual can pursue related careers as early childhood education teachers in public or private school sectors, social workers with children and families, family therapists, licensing representatives, child advocates, resource and referral specialist, family services directors, etc.

For more information about the program, please contact Diane Christianson, Program Coordinator, by phone at (815) 224-0277, by e-mail at Diane_Christianson@ivcc.edu or by office visit, E-211.