Early Childhood Education & Care » Early Childhood Education & Care

Early Childhood Education & Care

If you are interested in teaching and working with children, this program prepares you for a career in early childhood and teaching in many different program formats, which also includes preparation for teaching in elementary schools, preschools, hospitals, or park districts. This program is also an excellent foundation for continuing your education to become an elementary school teacher

What will my classes be like?

Discover the basic philosophies of early childhood education as well as child growth and development. Learn to maintain a safe and healthy environment. Develop curriculum and learning experiences that are both fun and instructional, then apply your lesson plans in TCD's on-site laboratory preschool for 3 to 5 year olds.

Instructor: Vanessa Miceli
Lab Supervisor: Rose Aylward


The topics below are among the essential skills for this program. This is not a comprehensive list of all available skills and goals, but given to show the scope of the curriculum. Changes may occur year to year based on industry input, change in focus, or other factors. Please contact the program instructors for additional information.

Age Appropriate Child Growth & Development

  • Introduction to the profession
  • Observing children
  • Child development principles and theories
  • Characteristics: Ages & Stages

Maintaining a Safe & Healthy Environment

  • Types of programs
  • Toys, equipment, educational materials
  • Promoting children’s safety
  • Nutrition: meals and snacks
  • Maintaining children’s health

Intellectual, Emotional, Social Development

  • Guidance skills
  • Communication with young children
  • Problem-solving, classroom limits
  • Role model
  • Daily routines

Learning Experiences for Children

  • Developing curriculum
  • Art, Block-Building, Sensory Experiences
  • Storytelling
  • Guiding/facilitating play experiences
  • Language/Literacy experiences
  • Math, Science, Social Studies experiences
  • Food/Nutrition experiences
  • Music/Movement
Guiding Children with Special Needs
Parent Involvement
Careers in Education

Employment Skills

  • Career assessment
  • Résumé & Portfolio Development
  • Application, interview, job search
  • NCRC preparation & testing
More about the Level 1 ECE Credential: 
The Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program can pay up to 90% of college tuition and fees for students pursuing an education in Early Care Education.
The scholarship is awarded to students who earn the Level 1 Early Care & Education (ECE) Credential through INCCRRA (Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies). Normally offered to adults pursuing a Gateways Credential or degree in ECE, the program was opened to high school students whose school offers the Level 1 ECE Credential.

After graduation from high school, the credentialed student uses the scholarship to attend a community college for an associate’s degree in ECE,or to earn 55 credit hours that then transfer toward an advanced degree at a participating 4-year college or university. The scholarship is renewable if the student continues in an ECE-related major for a bachelor’s (or even a master’s) degree, and meets other specified conditions.

The scholarship operates on a year by year contract basis, first at any Illinois community college (including College of DuPage), then at one of 20+ participating public and private colleges/universities. The first year contract begins within one year after graduation and does not include a commitment or requirement based on grades, income, or employment.
For each subsequent year-long contract, the student must also meet an employment requirement of at least 15 hours a week (full day, full year) at a DCFS-licensed child care facility. The scholarship amount is then based on a sliding scale in proportion to income.
The scholarship program is designed to help students fund their post-secondary education in ECE while gaining valuable experience in the field. The scholarship is not a competition; it is awarded to high school graduates with a Level 1 ECE Credential on a first come, first served basis as funds are available.
The Gateway Scholarship Program is administered by INCCRRA and funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

For more information, contact Vanessa Miceli: 630-691-7533 or [email protected].