Teacher teaching small children

The Early Childhood Education and Care program prepares students to enter the early childhood education and early childhood field. Students acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to work with infants, toddlers, preschool-age and school-age children. Jobs for degree and certificate graduates are widely available in child care centers, preschools, park districts and public schools. This degree program requires a minimum of 64 credits in program requirements, program electives, electives and general education in the courses listed below.

For more information about Early Childhood Education and Care, please visit the program page.

Degree Requirements

Field of Study Code: ECEC.AAS

Program Requirements
ECEC 1100Intro to the Early Childhood Profession3
ECEC 1101Growth & Development of the Young Child3
ECEC 1102Child Guidance Practices3
ECEC 1151Language and Literacy Development in a Diverse Classroom3
ECEC 2211Child Health, Safety and Nutrition3
ECEC 1116Care Infant Toddler & Two-Year Child I3
ECEC 2251Curriculum Planning for the Young Child3
ECEC 2252Child/Family/Community Relations & Resources3
ECEC 2245Preschool Methods of Intentional Teaching and Learning4
ECEC 2220Early Childhood Education Practicum4
Program Electives
Select six credits in Early Childhood Education and Care courses 16
Select from any 1000- or 2000-level courses 15-6
General Education
Select 21 credits 121
Total Credits64-65

In addition to the courses listed above.

General Education Requirements

For general education requirements for the A.A.S. degree, please visit the A.A.S. degree catalog page.

Suggested Semester Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
First SemesterCredits
ECEC 1100 Intro to the Early Childhood Profession 3
ECEC 1101 Growth & Development of the Young Child 3
ECEC 2211 Child Health, Safety and Nutrition 3
ENGLI 1101 English Composition I 3
SPEEC 1100 Fundamentals of Speech Communication 3
Second Semester
ECEC 1102 Child Guidance Practices 3
ECEC 2251 Curriculum Planning for the Young Child 3
ECEC 2252 Child/Family/Community Relations & Resources 3
Gen EdMATH 1100 or Above 1 3
Gen EdPhysical and Life Sciences 3
Summer Semester
Gen EdPsychology or Sociology 3
Third Semester
ECEC 2245 Preschool Methods of Intentional Teaching and Learning 1 4
ECEC 1151 Language and Literacy Development in a Diverse Classroom 3
ECEC 1116 Care Infant Toddler & Two-Year Child I 3
ElectiveProgram Elective 3
Gen EdHumanities and Fine Arts 3
Fourth Semester
ECEC 2220 Early Childhood Education Practicum 4
ElectiveProgram Elective 3
See Christine for remaining gen ed courses and electives to complete 8-9
 Total Credits64-65

ECEC 2245 Preschool Methods of Intentional Teaching and Learning is only offered in the fall semester.

Important Notes about the ECEC Program:

  • This program is designed as a two year program for full-time students who follow this program map. Deviation from the program map, including completing only early childhood courses, completing all general education courses first, or other individual academic circumstances, will delay certificate and degree completion timeline.
  • All ECEC courses require field observation assignments in licensed child care centers.
  • Students complete Service Learning in ECEC 2252 Child/Family/Community Relations & Resources.
  • Some courses are only offered certain semesters.
  • Fingerprinting/background check and medical clearance are required for some courses.
  • The ECEC program is designed with stackable certificates leading to A.A.S. Degrees.
  • The ECEC program is aligned with Gateways to Opportunity, so students may be eligible for a variety of Gateways credentials through successful completion of specific coursework.
  • The A.A.S. Degree in ECEC with an early Level 4 ECE Gateways credential transfers in full to all Illinois public universities and some private universities that have chosen to be ECACE members. Refer to IL Public Act 102-0174 for details.

Program Milestones

First Semester

  • Take Math placement test.
  • Consider joining or visiting with a professional, cultural or interest-based Student Club.
  • Complete first year academic plan with ECEC program advisor Christine Jandak
  • Register for next semester courses based on meeting with Christine. There are specific prerequisites needed for future ECEC courses. Not meeting with Christine and completing the necessary prerequisites may prevent eligibility for future ECEC courses and delay certificate and degree completion.
  • Apply for COD and Gateway Scholarships

Second Semester

  • It is important to make an appointment with ECEC program advisor Christine Jandak to discuss summer courses and courses for the upcoming academic year. You will need to have an updated student plan on file.
  • Meet with ECEC Clinical Chair regarding degree evaluation for consent to register for ECEC 2245 Preschool Methods of Intentional Teaching and Learning. This course requires a permit in addition to other requirements.
  • At the end of the semester: Apply for the Early Childhood Education and Care Certificate
  • Apply for Gateways Level 2 Credential (entitled route).
  • Students who also want to be considered "Director Qualified" will want to discuss that with Christine, and she will recommend the appropriate program elective courses to take.

Summer Semester

  • Meet with Christine to discuss transfer options if you are considering transferring to a 4 year university.
  • Stay on track with completing summer courses.

Third Semester

  • Contact a Student Education Association (SEA) representative with questions for joining if interested.
  • At the end of the semester: Apply for Early Childhood Education and Care Advanced Certificate and Apply for Gateways Level 3 Credential (entitled route).
  • Meet with ECEC Clinical Chair regarding degree completion and Practicum placement by midterm to apply for Practicum. 

Fourth Semester

  • Apply for the Early Childhood Education and Care A.A.S. Degree and Graduation.
  • Apply for the Gateways Level 4 Credential (entitled route).
  • Update your resume.