The time to earn your teaching license has never been greater. As a professional in the field of early childhood education, the moment for you to take your career to the next level is now. Governors State University's Early Childhood Teacher Workforce program is specifically designed for you to receive the academic, financial, professional, and personal resources you need to earn your degree and become a licensed teacher. Whether you need tutoring assistance for a class or help funding childcare, we are here to support you every step of the way.


Governor Pritzker signed legislation HB 2878–creating the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity–and designated a $200 million investment towards training, mentorships, and scholarships for childcare workforce professionals to pursue advanced credentials over the next two years.

With the support of these developments, Governors State is incorporating the statewide consortium into its early childhood education programs with the purpose of serving the needs of the incumbent early childhood workforce, advancing racial equity, as well as meeting the needs of employers by streamlining, coordinating, and improving the accessibility of degree completion pathways at Illinois institutions of higher education.


  • ● No prior teaching credentials required to start the program.

  • ● Flexible courses and schedules. Courses are offered in the evenings and in a hybrid format (mostly remote-online). However, if desired, traditional daytime courses will be available as well.

  • ● Applicable courses and associate's degree can be transferred to streamline earning your initial licensure and degree.

  • ● Mentors assigned to candidates to provide support throughout the program.

  • ● Opportunities for job-embedded experiences are available.

  • ● We partner with school districts through a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow you as paraprofessionals/teachers assistance or employed as an early childhood educator to earn a degree and Professional Educator Licensure while keeping your job. The MOU agreement with your school allows you to complete job-embedded field experiences and student teaching. You can still join the program without a signed MOU; however, you are required to complete traditional field experiences and student teaching.

As a member of the Early Childhood Teacher Workforce, you may be eligible to receive financial aid through the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program. Visit this site to see if you qualify and to review the requirements for the scholarship. Information regarding financial support can also be found on the GSU Financial Aid webpage.

Intended Audience

  • ● Individuals who want to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university

  • ● Individuals who seek initial licensure with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education (Birth to Grade 2)

  • ● Only available to teachers currently working (full-time or part-time, not a sub) as a teacher in an approved childcare center or as a paraprofessional in a school. If you are a paraprofessional, view our Para to Teacher webpage.

Degree Earned

  • ● Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Early Childhood Education

Certifications Earned

  • ● Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)

  • ● Early Childhood Endorsement, Birth to Grade 2

  • ● Early Childhood Special Education Approval (Pre-Kindergarten only)

  • ● ESL Endorsement, PreK-12th Grade

  • ● Illinois Gateways Credentials

    • o Early Childhood, levels 1-5

    • o Infant Toddler, levels 1-3


Early childhood courses for this program are offered in the evenings either online synchronous (at a scheduled time) or face-to-face on campus; some may be offered in an online asynchronous modality. Most ESL courses (BBED) are offered online asynchronous (not at a scheduled time). Click the following links to view and download the program overview and coursework.

Course Listing

Introductory Courses (12 hours)

  • ● EDUC 2310: Foundations of Education (3)

  • ● EDUC 2330: Educational Psychology I - Child Growth and Development (3)

  • ● SPED 2100: Survey of Students with Exceptionalities (3)

  • ● EDCP 2101: Introduction to Educational Technology (3)

  • ● ENGL 2131: Children’s Literature (3) *part of GenEds

Professional Education (42 hours)

  • ● EDEC 3099: Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood Education (4)

  • ● EDUC 3410: Classroom Management (1)

  • ● EDUC 3440: Educational Psychology II - Learning, Assessment, Classroom Management (3)

  • ● EDEC 3570: Assessment & Differentiated Instruction in Early Childhood (3)

  • ● EDEC 3590: STEAM in Education (3)

  • ● EDEC 4550: Family, Community, and Culture (3)

  • ● EDEC 4551: Field Experience 1 - Infants, Toddlers, and Families (1)

  • ● EDEC 4560: Curriculum, Literacy, & Exceptional Learners in Preprimary Grades (3)

  • ● EDEC 4561: Field Experience 2 - Preprimary (1)

  • ● EDEC 4570: Literacy in Early Childhood Education (3)

  • ● EDEC 4571: Field Experience 3 - Literacy in Primary Grades (1)

  • ● EDEC 4580: Math, Science, and Social Studies in Early Childhood Education (3)

  • ● EDEC 4581: Field Experience 4 - Math, Science, and Social Studies in Primary Grades (1)

  • ● EDEC 4999: Student Teaching in Early Childhood Education (12)

*Field experiences must be taken at the same time as their corresponding methods course (co-requisite)

Teaching Specialization - ESL Certificate (18 hours)

  • ● BBED 4501 Teaching English as a Second Language (3)

  • ● BBED 4520 Foundations of Bilingual and ESL Education (3)

  • ● BBED 4525 Assessment of Language of Minority Students (3)

  • ● BBED 4530 Methods and Materials for Teaching in Bilingual Programs (3)

  • ● BBED 4538 Cross Cultural Education (3)

  • ● BBED 4977 Reading Strategies in the Bilingual and ESL Classroom (3)

Gen Eds (minimum 40 hours)

  • ● Written communication: (6)

  • ● Oral communication/speech: (3)

  • ● Math: (3)

  • ● Science with lab: (7)

  • ● Health: (3)

  • ● Social Science: (9)

  • ● Humanities: (3)

  • ● Fine Arts: (3)

  • ● Humanities: ENGL 2131, Children’s Literature: (3)

  • ● Other, depending on transfer credits

Total Hours: 121

Field Experiences

Field experiences are integrated into program coursework to give students the opportunity to gain valuable training and professional connections. Candidates will complete more than 200 hours of diversified clinical experiences throughout the program prior to student teaching.

Our Teacher Workforce program offers opportunities for job-embedded field experiences; this means that candidates may continue to work in their childcare center for some of the field experience courses.

  • ● Placement for field experiences can be job-embedded if it fits grade levels

  • ● Placement for student teaching can be job-embedded if it is in preschool (4-5 years); no infant or toddler classrooms

More Info

Candidates engage with children and families in a variety of diverse settings from birth to 2nd grade in clinical field experiences and observations prior to student teaching. These experiences include observing, engaging, and teaching lessons with infants/toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and primary classrooms in multiple settings across the region.

Support is provided and scaffolded throughout the program for field experiences prior to student teaching. Instructors and qualified mentor teachers in the field guide students to build their confidence and gradually increase their responsibilities as a classroom teacher.

Partner districts are selected for their commitment to a team approach in creating an inclusive culture focused on responsiveness to the educational needs of racially, culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse students.These placements are made to such districts as New Lenox, Harvey, Homewood, Tinley Park, Chicago, Kankakee, Oak Lawn, and Dolton.

Some field experience placements are already set up, which make it easier because:

  • ● Candidates do not have to find their own placement that is approved

  • ● Candidates are together to support each other

  • ● The schools/teachers are familiar with our program, guidelines, and requirements

Candidates may be able to find their own placements for some field experiences; however, the following guidelines must be met:

  • ● Field experiences must occur at the designated course grade level

  • ● School/center sites must be high quality, licensed, and be approved by university supervisor (or on the approved list)

  • ● Sites must be located in a safe neighborhood within a 20-mile radius of the GSU campus

  • ● Candidates, directors/principals, and mentor teachers must follow our field experience guidelines

  • ● Candidates are responsible for getting an MOU agreement with their center/school

  • ● Placement site and day/time must be finalized and approved by the university supervisor and the school prior to the start of the second week of the semester

Student teaching placement is based upon candidate selection across Chicagoland districts. Candidates work with quality mentor teachers who serve as models, offer opportunities to teach and practice skills, and provide guidance and feedback. Student teaching for this program is 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for 15 weeks.Candidates also participate in strategically planned monthly seminars that include topics such as equity and diversity, best practices, gender expression, and navigating the interview process.

Study Plan

Introductory Courses – 15 hours

EDUC 2310

Foundations of Education


EDUC 2330

Educational Psychology I: Child Growth and Development


SPED 2100

Survey of Students with Exceptionalities


EDCP 2101

Introduction to Educational Technology


ENGL 2131

Children’s Literature


Core Courses – 14 hours

EDEC 3099

Developmentally Appropriate Practices in ECE


EDUC 3410

Classroom Management


EDUC 3440

Educational Psychology II: Learning, Assess, Clssrm Man


EDEC 3570

Assessment and Differentiated Instruction in EC


EDEC 3590

STEAM in Education


Clinical Courses – 28 hours

EDEC 4550

Family, Community, and Culture


EDEC 4551

Field Experience 1: Infants, Toddlers, & Families


EDEC 4560

Curriculum, Literacy & Exceptional Learners, Pre-Primary


EDEC 4561

Field Experience 2: Pre Primary


EDEC 4570

Literacy in Early Childhood


EDEC 4571

Field Experience 3: Literacy in Primary Grades


EDEC 4580

Math, Science, and Social Studies in Early Childhood


EDEC 4581

Field Experience 4: Math, Science, SS in Primary Grades


EDEC 4999

Student Teaching


Teacher Specialization, ESL – 18 hours

BBED 4501

Teaching English as a Second Language


BBED 4520

Foundations of Bilingual and ESL Education


BBED 4525

Assessment of Language Minority Students


BBED 4530

Methods and Materials for Teaching in Bilingual


BBED 4538

Cross-cultural Education


BBED 4977

Reading Strategies in the Bilingual and ESL Classroom


Program Schedule

Program Requirements

Program Admission

After meeting the university admission requirements, students must meet the following requirements to continue in the Early Childhood Education program.

List of Admission Requirements

  • ● Requirements:

    • ○ Be admitted to Governors State University and be in good academic standing

    • ○ Must have a grade of “B-” or better in all general education courses used for program requirements

    • ○ Freshman students:

      • ■ Earned fewer than 24 semester hours of college credit to start GSU as a freshman

      • ■ Must have a minimum of 2.0 unweighted high school GPA on a 4.0 scale

    • ○ Transfer students:

      • ■ 24 or more semester credit hours of college coursework

      • ■ A 2.5 or higher cumulative GPA (2.3 or higher GPA may be accepted with conditions)

  • ● To apply, candidates must submit all of the following:

    • Application

    • ○ Resume

    • ○ Official transcripts

    • ○ Test scores (optional)

    • ○ Fee

For more information regarding admission to this program and university, visit the GSU Undergraduate Admissions webpages for freshman and transfer students. Additionally, visit the Admissions Resources and FAQs webpage.

For questions or help with admissions and application process, set up a virtual appointment to speak with someone or email the Admissions Office, admission@govst.edu.

Degree Requirements

Candidates must meet all university requirements for a bachelor’s degree, except candidates must complete the 49-52 hour University General Education requirement and some of the General Education requirement for Teacher Licensure. Candidates must also:

List of Degree Requirements

  • ● Attain a GPA of 2.75 or better in all General Education coursework, earning a grade of “B-” or better in all courses

  • ● Attain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all Professional Education coursework, earning a grade of ‘B-’ or better in all courses

  • ● Attain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all Teaching Specialization coursework, earning a grade of ‘B-’ or better in all courses

  • ● Complete all coursework at Governors State University within five calendar years

  • ● Be in good standing with the university and program

  • ● Earn satisfactory scores on assessments of professional dispositions and exhibit expected dispositions

  • ● Maintain satisfactory candidate progress as defined in the Early Childhood Education Program Handbook

  • ● Successfully complete all key assessments and field placements, including student teaching

Licensure Requirements – ISBE

In order to obtain a teaching license, candidates are responsible for completing all program requirements listed, as well as submitting all documentation to ISBE. Candidates must:

List of Licensure Requirements

For more information about licensure, visit the GSU webpage Licensure of Teachers and Other School Professionals.

Certification Requirements – Illinois Gateways to Opportunity

Candidations can earn Illinois Gateways Credentials: Early Childhood Education and Infant Toddler. Candidates must be a member of Gateways and submit an application at the beginning of the program and after graduation. Candiadtes must register for a free account with Illinois Gateways.

Program Advisor

From admission to graduation, your academic advisor is your partner towards success. Our academic advisor is here to answer any questions you have and help you navigate the requirements needed for the program. Once you are admitted, make sure you reach out to your advisor for guidance throughout your program.

Eileen Lally

Eileen Lally
Undergraduate Advisor
C Building 3388

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