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Our Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Early Childhood Education provides early childhood education theory and practice for students. This course is ideal for anyone who aspires to become a teacher, teacher assistant, teacher aide or activities supervisor in a public or private pre-school program, child-care center, nursery school, or with a home-based education provider.

Graduates of this program will:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles of early childhood development.
    • Understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities.
    • Learn to observe, document, and assess young children and families.
    • Understand and use developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools.

Gateways to Opportunity Credentials and Career OpportunitiesThe Gateways to Opportunity Credentials are recognized by the Illinois Department of Human Services Bureau of Child Care and Development. These Credentials are required for varied Circles of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois and can be used as a prerequisite for employment within early learning programs.

St. Augustine College is an entitled institution through Gateways to Opportunity for the ECE Credential and the Infant/Toddler Credential at levels 2-4. As an entitled institution, St. Augustine College has aligned its courses with specific credential benchmarks. A student who graduates from this entitled institution not only has a degree, but also a credential that is recognized by the state of Illinois.

 At St. Augustine College, the Department of Early Childhood Education has designed a variety of pathways to support your professional growth. Whether you are interested in earning a Gateways Credential and an AAS degree or are planning to transfer to a four-year program, we have the courses and opportunities to meet your education and career needs.

Courses are designed around the following 3 Pathways:

Direct Exit Pathway

The Direct Exit Pathway is designed for students who are in the field or seeking immediate employment and are pursuing Gateways Credentials to secure employment or progress within a current role. This pathway is designed with convenient on and off ramps—you can pursue a Level 2 Credential, for example, then later decide that you would like to attain your Level 3 Credential.

Credential Continuing Pathway

The Credential Continuing Pathway is designed for students who are seeking employment and/or working in the field and who plan on progressing through each of the credentials with the goal of attaining their AAS. Courses are laid out in a four semester sequence, with milestones of credential attainment marked along the way.

Credential Transfer Pathway

The Credential Transfer Pathway is designed for students who are planning to transfer to a four-year university. This sequence of courses supports the attainment of the Level 3 Gateways Credential and the AAS degree, and maximizes the number of courses that will directly transfer to a partnering four-year institution.

To earn your Level 2-4 ECE Gateways Credential, you are required to follow a prescribed course of study.