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Columbia College Chicago
Early Childhood Education
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BA in Early Childhood Education Undergraduate Major (120 credits)
Our Early Childhood Education (ECE) program prepares students to be creative, responsive, and reflective certified teachers of young children (birth through third grade). Based on the Reggio Emilia Approach, we emphasize the rights of the child, teacher reflection, and collaboration, as well as child development in the contexts of family, school, and community. Children are viewed expansively, as evidenced by the concept of the “hundred languages of children,” to represent the multiple symbol systems they use to communicate.

The Reggio Emilia Approach also embraces the arts and gives them a prominent role in teaching and learning. Thus, in line with the rich opportunities in the visual, performing, communication, and liberal arts and sciences at Columbia, our students also take coursework that focuses on one of the arts or an area of language and culture. This focus area enriches and complements students’ work in the classroom.

ECE students apply their developing knowledge of theories and practices of effective teaching with more than 800 hours of fieldwork in classrooms. Fieldwork includes interacting with young children in their educational settings and culminates with student-teaching experiences in both pre-school and primary (grades one through three) classrooms.

Our approach to preparing teachers embodies the value we place on relationships, and the role that art plays in teaching. Students engage closely with faculty members in the arts and dialogue throughout their program. Students spend their last two years in a cohort, developing close, supportive relationships with their peers and faculty, learning as a community.

This program was created and is, in part, sustained through the generous contribution of the Joan and Irving Harris Foundation.

For further information about the Early Childhood Education teacher certification program, please contact Ms. Larissa Mulholland at lmulholland@colum.edu or 312.369.8826.