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Early Childhood Education

  • Available as major (B.S. degree) and as a focus, both leading to Illinois Learning/Behavior Specialist 1 Endorsement
  • Learn how to create and manage a nurturing, safe classroom where every child thrives. Combine investigation, play and formal teaching into each day’s activities.

    Provide a solid start for young children by encouraging their social, physical, emotional and intellectual growth. Plan and lead lessons and activities that help develop their motor skills, expressive language and literacy. Focus on language recognition, proper speech, the alphabet, basic mathematical skills and creativity. Lead children in small and large group activities, art, dance, music, cooking.

    Make playtime learning time, too. Use storytelling, rhyming games and pretend times to help develop their language and vocabulary. Teach them about teamwork and cooperation while they are together in the sandbox. Use blocks, paint and puzzles to introduce scientific and mathematical concepts.

    Be ready to work with students from different ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. Learn how to incorporate multicultural ideas in your lesson plans.

    At Olivet, you can:

    • Study instructional methods, children’s literature, language development, sociology of the family and teaching reading to young children.
    • Learn about the philosophies of early childhood education, including Montessori, High Scope, Bank Street and Dewey.
    • Visit and observe the Head Start program at work in Kankakee County.
    • Work with children in an off-campus classroom under the supervision of their teacher.
    • And so much more!

    Many of our students describe our program as being like a family. This noncompetitive environment encourages everyone to work together and develop relationships.

    Your professors are available outside of class to help you with academic or personal problems. They will take time to pray with you and advise you. And their passion for education is contagious!

    Enjoy the wealth of resources you will find in our Curriculum Center: diverse library of children’s books, teaching materials, textbooks, workbooks, journals, activities, lesson plans assistance, die cuts, paper, art supplies. Everything you need to make a bulletin board or do a class project!

    In your classroom management class, learn how to deal effectively with a child who is causing problems. Make an effective discipline plan to settle problems within the classroom.

    Positive and effective ways to work with parents is part of every class you take. Learn how to deal with and motivate parents, how to keep parents involved with their students, how to relate with them in other ways besides just calling them in when their students are having problems.

    Putting knowledge to work

    We give you excellent preparation for working with young children in a professional setting.

    As you complete your required practicum hours, you will have a wealth of experiences in a variety of settings – urban, rural, small town, multicultural.

    Begin by going into area preschools, day care centers and schools to observe. There you will find cooperating teachers who are very supportive and helpful.

    Then learn to teach by teaching. Prepare and present lessons. Get practice in dealing with unforeseen circumstances. Let children overwhelm you with their openness and enthusiasm. Come back rejuvenated and affirmed in your career choice. Reflect on your experiences. Determine your strengths and weaknesses.

    Learn about agencies in our community that reach out to families. Find out more about how they exist in the culture of our community: Catholic Charities, Harbor House, Salvation Army, Easter Seals and others. Discover how educators, schools and agencies are working together to make life better for our children.


    Are you a person who:

    • Enjoys babysitting and having fun with young children?
    • Gravitates to the children’s area when you’re at church or in a large group?
    • Is caring, patient and creative?
    • Wants children to have the best start possible in life?
    • Senses a call from God to educate children?
    • Wants to make a difference for our world?

    then a career in early childhood education may be just the one for you.

    Possible careers include: preschool teacher, preschool director, day care center teacher, day care center administrator, prekindergarten teacher, teacher’s aide

    For more information

    This is a brief over view of what the School of Education offers to students. For more detailed information about procedures and requirements, go to the online catalog.

    Early Childhood Education is part of the School of Education.