North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

Education: Early Childhood

Why Study Early Childhood Education?

As children begin to develop language, motor, and social skills, effective teachers are a necessity. Whether you work in a public or private school, an early-childhood specific program, or are an education specialist in a church or day care, your training as an early childhood educator will give you the tools you need to foster young minds. During these critical years and stages of development, you’ll spark their imaginations, help them develop curiosity, and give them a solid foundation for their life ahead.

Faculty Spotlight:
Dr. Ida Maduram

As North Park’s Golden Apple Scholarship liaison, Dr. Ida Maduram works with students who commit to serving in high-need schools, allowing them to “learn from the extended classroom of Chicago,” she says.

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Make a Difference. Teach.

Early childhood educators have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of a child. At this critical age, students are developing their language, motor, and social skills, and their teachers play a vital role in this development. With a North Park degree in early childhood education, you will have the strong academic foundation and extensive classroom experience to be an effective educator at institutions nationwide.

Classroom Experience:
Teacher Aiding

The first of four clinical experiences for North Park’s teachers-in-training, teacher aiding is an important entry into the profession and classroom. You’ll spend over 70 hours in a school, observing classes, tutoring students, and working with a cooperating teacher as you see first-hand how a classroom works. You may also have the option to deliver a lesson or two.

You’ll follow teacher aiding with mini-teaching and student teaching experiences.

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ESL Endorsement

As an early childhood education major, you’ll complete an 18-semester hour endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL) to prepare you to work in increasingly diverse learning communities. This endorsement also meets a requirement in more and more districts across the nation that recognize the importance of ESL skills in classrooms. You’ll gain practical experience in an ESL school setting as well as complete specific courses in teaching and assessment of ESL students.

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Golden Apple Scholars

Golden Apple Scholars are teachers in Illinois with a passion for serving children in high-need schools. As one of the program’s partner schools, North Park education majors can apply to this competitive program, which offers college scholarships and the chance to participate in summer institutes for further training to teach in challenging school settings. Learn more about the Golden Apple program.

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Classroom Experience

The early childhood education program gets you into real classrooms early and eases your transition from observer to student teacher. Here’s the progression:

  1. Targeted observations as part of the methods course
  2. Teacher Aiding: observe and assist teacher/students (50+ hours)
  3. Mini-Teaching: prepare and teach one lesson each day (7 weeks)
  4. Student Teaching: full-time teaching (10–16 weeks)

Beyond The Class Room

Enhance your own education by getting involved with various service and extracurricular activities at North Park.

Opportunities include: