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Early Childhood Education Bachelor's Degree

B.A. in Early Childhood Education

National Louis University’s Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree program prepares graduates to work with children from birth through age 8, including teaching in classrooms serving English Language Learners. Those in the Chicago early education degree program will do coursework that is aligned to meet the new Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IL-PTS). Upon successful completion of all required coursework, graduates will earn a Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for early childhood and self-contained general education (birth to 2nd grade) and an English Language Learner (ELL) endorsement.

The B.A. in Early Childhood Education is also available 100% online.

Choose NLU’s program to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education in Chicago if you:

  • Want to help shape young children’s views of themselves and the world and positively affect their educational futures
  • Want to learn in a highly regarded program with an innovative approach to teacher education
  • Wish to gain valuable classroom experience in a preschool or primary school setting to enable you to enter the classroom ready to support the growth and development of all your students
  • Seek a program that provides you with a PEL (birth to 2nd grade) and an ELL endorsement upon completion

Learn more about bachelor's degrees in education at NLU >>


Through NLU's early childhood education programs in Chicago, students will learn:

  • Principles of child development that affect teaching and learning
  • Different instructional and evaluative methods and their historical and theoretical foundations
  • Methods for teaching content and skills in a supportive learning environment
  • How to incorporate technology into practice
  • Techniques for developing curriculum and lesson plans that impact student learning and allow for differentiation
  • An appreciation of diverse needs and perspectives in working with children and families
  • How to teach fluency in both written and spoken English

Students will graduate with over 100 hours of preclinical experiences in infant/toddler, pre-primary and primary school settings required for the program.

Employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow faster than the average for other professions between now and 2028. The demand for childcare centers and the professionals to staff them will increase as states implement preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children. The number of subsidies for children from low-income families attending child care programs is rising. Additionally, there are a growing number of employers funding and operating child care centers for their employees. This increase in children being served through early child care programs will result in excellent opportunities for those who go through NLU’s Chicago bachelor of early childhood education program and earn a degree.

NLU was an early leader of the American kindergarten movement from the time it was founded in 1886, preparing some of the first early childhood teachers to be employed in the Chicago area. NLU’s early childhood education degree program is highly regarded for a number of reasons:

  • Faculty members bring deep experience teaching young children in classrooms, childcare facilities and communities.
  • The program is aligned with the standards determined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and IL-PTS to ensure all graduates leave with the highest level of knowledge and expertise needed to teach young children.
  • A new linked primary practicum and student teaching experience places students in one primary classroom setting (grades K-2) for two consecutive terms to gain greater knowledge and expertise.
  • A student teaching experience that provides a learning laboratory for candidates to complete the new Illinois requirement related to the educational Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) became an exit requirement in Illinois in September 2015.
  • NLU’s professional portfolio assessment process documents student learning experiences and practices so that graduates may present a substantive body of work to potential employers.

Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), NLU has since trained thousands of Chicago-area teachers and graduated more prestigious Golden Apple award winners than any other institution in Illinois.

The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education program requires a minimum of 60 quarter hours or the equivalent in general education coursework for the completion of the degree. This includes demonstration of competence in all areas of general education as well as NAEYC Standards and Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. The early childhood education degree program accepts the following types of equivalent work: transfer from approved and accredited institutions, appropriate scores in advanced placement tests, and passing scores in CLEP and DANTES examinations.

Clinical Experiences

A minimum of 100 hours of preclinical experience is required before student teaching. Students in the NLU Chicago early childhood education major program complete preclinical hours in coursework and field experiences prior to student teaching. All students take a pre-primary practicum as well as a primary practicum experience linked to student teaching.

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements as well as additional requirements specific to this program. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at

Get more information today about enrolling in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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