Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Early Childhood Education

Our new Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Early Childhood Education (ECE) degree program provides advanced training in early childhood education and student teaching opportunities on a path to working as a teacher in a public or private school, all within a bilingual degree program that works for adult learners regardless of their schedule. This starts with a great education, with multilingual ECE classes and a flexible schedule designed to work for students that work full time, that is built by strong values to build your career on. An ECE degree is a professional qualification that brings you closer to long-term goals and success.

Is this Chicago-based Early Childhood Education Program up to National CAEP Standards?

Developed in alignment with National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for program learning outcomes, this multilingual bachelor-level early childhood education degree curriculum facilitates all TASC standards as required by CAEP. Our early childhood education courses provide proper and accredited education with resources to help you succeed. Building on the success of our long-standing Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) in Early Childhood Education degree program — which has earned the prestigious Level Four rating in the Gateways to Opportunity Illinois Professional Development System, the highest level an A.A.S. program can achieve — this rigorous 120-credit-hour program includes a variety of disciplines in ECE and other departments with a variety of bilingual college-level courses to choose from

ECE Bachelor’s Degree Curriculum

As a student on the Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education track, you will complete 48 credit hours within the ECE program and the rest in other departments, with courses in English, Fine Arts, Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. You will also participate in a full-day student teaching program in an early childhood classroom setting (infant, toddler, preschool, kindergarten, or primary) for 16 weeks under the supervision of a licensed ECE teacher and a college supervisor. Our high-quality early childhood education degree is an excellent option for adult learners because you have the opportunity to earn hands-on classroom experience. By working with real students in a classroom setting you can implement the skills you learned in early childhood education courses and see how you can help young children learn and develop fundamental life skills. Graduates of our BA in Early Childhood Education degree program will have completed the 100 hours of coursework (within six concentrations) required by the State of Illinois for certification in Early Childhood Education.

You will also qualify for an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL), a key credential for a career in teaching after receiving your degree in childhood education. A Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education will also qualify you for other professional educators’ licenses across the country. While each state does have its own testing requirements, it is very possible to move from one state to another with enough additional time to fulfill the new state’s requirements for their Professional Educator License. Please consult the teaching license reciprocity guidelines to learn more. Embedded in this innovative degree program is an 18-credit-hour minor that includes the potential to add one of two additional Illinois Board of Education Endorsements: 1) English as a Second Language and/or 2) Bilingual Education. If you are fluent and literate in a language other than English, this minor qualifies you for both the ESL and the Bilingual Education Endorsements (after all requirements are met). Candidates who are not fluent or literate in another language can qualify for the ESL Endorsement.

BA Early Childhood Education Program Outcomes

Graduates of this program will:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the fundamental principles to teach young children from birth to age 8.
  • Understand that all learning for young children must be in safe, respectful, supportive, and challenging environments.
  • Adhere to the highest standards addressing content in language arts, reading, children’s literature, mathematics, science, social science, art, music, and drama as well as the application of content through classroom connections to theory, practice, and clinical experiences.
  • Understand the roles, goals, benefits, and uses of assessment in classroom instruction.
  • Plan instruction that is both rigorous and engaging for children with a curriculum that develops students’ critical thinking.
  • Model learning experiences for students that gradually release responsibility to them through guided practice.
  • Have the credentials to teach English as a Second Language or bilingual programs in public and/or private institutions and the knowledge to differentiate instruction for English learners, those with diverse learning styles, and students with special needs.

View Full Course List

List of Classes and Credit Hours for BA Early Childhood Education
YR1ENG 160) Composition I
(4 credits)
PSY 210 Child Growth and Development
(4 credits)
MAT 240 Math Foundations for Teachers I OR MAT 241 Math for Elementary Teachers II
(4 credits)
ECE 301 Philosophical & Historical Foundations of ECE
(3 credits)
(15 credit hours)
ENG 162) Composition II
(4 credits)
HIS 104 Survey US History to 1865 OR HIS 105 Survey US History from 1865 to Present
(4 credits)
ECE 101 Intro to ECE
(4 credits)
ECE 303 Early Childhood Development
(3 credits)
(15 credit hours)
BBE 338 Foundations of ESL & Bil Ed
(3 credits- counts for both endorsements)
BBE 339 Cross Cultural Education
(3 credits- counts for both endorsements)
(6 credits)
YR2ENG 165 Speech
(4 credits)
PHI 221 Ethics OR SPA 222 The Hispanic American Experience Through Literature
(4 credits)
PSC 103 American Government & Politics
(4 credits) ECE 302 Curriculum & Instruction in ECE
(3 credits)
(15 credit hours)
BIO 102 Intro to Human Biology OR SOC 210 Marriage & Family
(4 credits)

PHY 103 Earth Science OR ECO 102 Principles of Microeconomics
(4 credits)

ECE 306 Methods of Teaching Reading 
(3 credits)
ECE 325 Language Acquisition in Diverse Early Childhood Settings
(3 credits)
(15 credit hours)
BBE 340 Linguistic Foundations for Literacy Instruction in ESL and Bil Ed Students
(3 credits- 
counts for both endorsements)
BBE 341 Methods & Materials for Teaching ESL Learners
(3 credits- 
counts for both endorsements)
(6 credits)

YR3HUM 204 Music Appreciation OR HUM 205 History & Appreciation of Art
(4 credits)

ECE 221 The Exceptional Child 
(4 credits)
ECE 303 Early Childhood Development
(3 credits)

ECE 313 Language Development 
(3 credits)
(14 credit hours)
PSY 202 Human Growth & Development
(4 credits)

ECE 354 Methods of Teaching Math, Science & Social Studies
(3 credits)

ECE 338 Developmental Assessment of Young Children
(3 credits)

ECE 316 Children, Family & Community
(3 credits)

(13) credit hours)
BBE 342 Assessing ESL & Bilingual Students 
(3 credits- counts for both endorsements)
BBE 343 Methods & Materials for Teaching Bilingual Students 
(3 credits- counts for both endorsements)
(6 credits)
YR4ECE 350 Methods of Teaching Language Arts, Music, & Art
(3 credits)

ECE-312 Teaching Strategies with Multicultural Groups
(3 credits)                            

ECE 328 Pre-student Teaching Clinical Experience
(3 credit hours)

(9 credit hours)
ECE-330 Student Teaching
(7 credits)

(7 credit hours)
(18 credit hours)

A.A.S., Early Childhood Education

Our Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree curriculum* with an Early Childhood Education concentration can help put you on one of three (3) pathways to earning credentials for a career in early childhood education through the Gateways to Opportunity program.

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. If you are interested in the Circles of Quality, follow this checklist as a working document. With the help of your Associates in Early Childhood Education, you can be quickly on the pathway toward a career in early childhood education. St. Augustine College is proud to be an entitled institution through Gateways to Opportunity for the ECE Credential, Infant/Toddler Credential, Family Child Care Credential at Levels 2-4, and Director Credential at Level 1. We have aligned our early childhood education courses and curriculum with specific credential benchmarks to ensure that when you graduate with this Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education degree, you will go into the job market with a credential that is recognized by the state of Illinois.

Earning your Gateways Credential, along with getting an ECE degree is a great way to build up an impressive resume. Gateway Credentials demonstrate to employers that you have the technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, and real-world experience that they are looking for in a qualified teacher. Starting your Gateways Credential application just takes three easy steps: creating an account, creating an application, and requesting all official transcripts to be sent to their email (or physical address). Whether you are a traditional or nontraditional student interested in earning a Gateways Credential along with your Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education degree or are planning to transfer to a four-year program in this important field, our Department of Early Childhood Education programs have the courses and opportunities to meet your education and career needs.

Three Pathways to Success

Direct Exit Pathway: If you are getting an ECE degree while working full time in the field and/or are pursuing Gateways Credentials to secure employment or progress within a current role, this pathway is designed with flexibility and convenience for adult learners, giving you the flexibility to complete early childhood education courses at your own pace. You can pursue a Level 2 Credential, for example, and then later decide that you would like to attain your Level 3 Credential.

Credential Continuing Pathway: If you are seeking employment and/or getting an ECE degree while working full-time in the field and plan on progressing through each of the credentials to attain your Associate of Applied Sciences in Early Childhood Education, this might be the best pathway for you. Courses are laid out in a convenient four-semester sequence, with milestones of credential attainment marked along the way.

Credential Transfer Pathway: If you already know you want to transfer to a four-year university for a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, this pathway helps you earn both the Level 3 Gateways Credential** and the AAS degree in ECE—maximizing 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 in early childhood education. This pathway is the best choice if you hope to someday qualify for an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL), which can only be obtained after earning a Bachelor’s Degree from an Illinois-approved education preparation program. **Please be sure to contact an Academic Advisor for further information about this credential and required courses.

Choose Your Opportunity

Our acclaimed Associates of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree program in Early Childhood Education offers a diverse range of pathways that can open doors to exciting career opportunities in this field. Your studies will give you a solid foundation in the early childhood education theories and practices you need to work as a teacher or teacher’s assistant in a private or federally-funded preschool program, child-care center, home-based program, family child-care home, or nursery school. The program may also qualify you to work as a teacher’s assistant, teacher’s aide, or activities supervisor in a public school. With our state and nation currently facing a critical need for well-prepared early childhood practitioners, you will be able to choose a career path in this field that’s right for you.

Empowered to Succeed

As a graduate of the AAS in Early Childhood Education degree program*, you will be prepared to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles of early childhood development.
  2. Understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities.
  3. Learn to observe, document, and assess young children and families.
  4. Understand, and use developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools.
  5. Be prepared for an entry-level professional early child-care teacher or provider.

*The general education core for this degree complies with guidelines of the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI).

View Full Course List

List of Classes and Credit Hours for AA Child Development


Learn more about early childhood education below, and how St. Augustine’s AAS and BA program have helped others.

Success Stories: As the number one school in Illinois in raising students’ income, and second higher graduation rate than comparable institutions in Chicago, we are proud to present a few of our outstanding students below who have stood out and demonstrated St. Augustine’s dedication to success.

Career & Transfer Center: St. Augustine is not just a college, it’s a launchpad for you and your career. Contact our staff to receive assistance related to jobs, interviews, or internships that you can apply to while receiving your early childhood education degree.

Community: Our community is built on inclusivity and diversity. Regardless of someone’s background, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Where Can I Teach with an Early Childhood Education Degree? 

Being qualified to teach children up to eight years old opens up opportunities for our graduates, and allows them to teach in a variety of settings.

Preschools: Development starts at birth, and preschool is a child’s first step in formal education. During this learning period, children learn about “pre-skills” through learning, playing, singing, and more. This helps to create a base on which children can learn lessons when they move on to kindergarten and elementary school. Another big aspect of preschool is socializing, a crucial component we go over in our early childhood education courses. Beyond their immediate family, for many students preschool is the first time they get to interact with other children. This is when they learn valuable lessons about sharing, being kind to one another, and conflict resolution.

Montessori Schools:  Built on principles of self-reliance and inherent curiosity that every child possesses, Montessori Schools offer an alternative to traditional education. Due to the focus on “child-centric learning,” the range of children in a classroom can vary. An eight-year-old might learn alongside a four-year-old, and so on. An ECE degree in early childhood education allows you to have unique skills Montessori schools are looking for in early childhood educators. With each classroom having multiple “interactive zones”, each dedicated to a particular academic area, you and your students learn together. You work alongside the students.

Kindergarten:  Considered the start of formal education, kindergarten is the stepping stone into the elementary school system. Usually, kids are five to six years old, and most of the lessons focus on peer-to-peer learning. During peer-to-peer learning children are taught important social skills that will be crucial for their entire lives. They also start to learn more complex aspects of math like adding and subtracting. They begin to string sentences together, along with spelling. Kindergarten is a crucial step in early childhood education. A kindergarten teacher introduces more complex lessons to their students and prepares them for elementary school.

Understanding ECE 

Still curious about ECE? Learn more about play-responsive teaching in ECE and how early childhood educators use lessons learned in our early childhood education courses to create a fun and safe learning environment for their young students.

Road to Working in the Chicago Public School System

As a graduate of the BA Early Childhood Education degree program, you may find yourself in the position of a lifetime by living and working inside the Chicago Public School System, or CPS for short. As one of the largest school districts in the country alongside the New York City public school system and Los Angeles Unified School District, CPS features over 500 public elementary and secondary schools and over 100 charters. St. Augustine College’s Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education is the first and most important step in becoming a qualified teacher in the Chicago Public System. Once you have received your Bachelor’s of ECE, you will then be qualified to complete the teacher preparation program and pass several steps demonstrating your literacy skills, pedagogical expertise, and knowledge of the subject matter. All teaching hires for the CPS are facilitated through the CPS website, along with more resources for potential teaching applicants.

Early Childhood Education FAQ:

Q: What are Illinois State Requirements for becoming certified in Early Childhood Education?

A: In public schools, preschool and other ECE teachers are generally required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, and after you receive this degree you must pass the Early Childhood Education content examination administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS).

Q: What is the job outlook of Early Childhood Educators?

A: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Preschool and Kindergarten teachers will have steady and consistent growth from 2022 to 2032, with many positions available each year for early childhood educators.

Q: Where can I learn more about becoming a certified teacher in Illinois?

A: You can learn more about becoming an early childhood education teacher on the Illinois Teacher Certification and License Guide.

Q: What is the difference between a BA and a BS in Early Childhood Education?

A: While a Bachelor’s in Science focuses more on the research and technical aspects of Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor’s in Art is more beneficial if you are looking for a more traditional teaching career in ECE by having your higher education focus on a broader liberal arts education, preparing you for the classroom. Having your degree focus on a broader liberal arts education, better prepares you for the classroom.

Q: What is the general career outlook for jobs in education?

A: According to Education Corner, overall K-12 teaching jobs are expected to change by 5% every year from 2018 – 2028, which is a steady and consistent growth that promises job opportunities to be available.

Q: What is the expected role of an Early Childhood Educator?

A: The career role of an ECE professional is to organize, plan, and facilitate the daily activities of children to help them develop their abilities, along with nurturing their physical, mental, and emotional development.

Q: What does the day in the life of an early childhood educator look like?

A: Childhood educators will use a variety of tools and techniques at their disposal to help facilitate a safe, happy, and healthy environment where children can develop abilities that will assist them throughout their professional and academic lives. These tools can vary, from picture books and movies to websites and interactive computer games.

Q: Can a Bachelor’s Degree in ECE prepare me for a variety of careers?

A: Yes! The skills you gain from a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education can be facilitated and utilized in a wide variety of fields. A degree in ECE can prepare you for a job in criminal justice, psychology, social service administration, education, and many more.

Early Childhood Education Blogs

Learn more about Early Childhood Education and what you can expect from our program in our blogs. These blogs can provide valuable insights into early childhood education, helping you understand effective teaching methods and developmental milestones for young children.

Success Stories

Empowering students to thrive in today’s competitive world.