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Master's in Early Childhood Education

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Early Childhood Education

National Louis University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Early Childhood Education is for students who would like to earn their Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for early childhood and self-contained general education (age 0 to grade 2).

Consider getting your Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Early Childhood Education at NLU if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in another field but want to receive licensure to become an early childhood teacher
  • Want to learn in a highly regarded program with an innovative approach to teacher education
  • Interested in earning your entitlement for the Gateways to Opportunity ECE Credential Levels 2-6.

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Learn more about teacher preparation programs at NLU >>

  • 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
  • An appreciation of diverse needs and perspectives in working with children and families
  • Students will graduate with 100 hours of pre-clinical experiences in infant/toddler, pre-primary and primary school settings during the program.

Wage and salary jobs in child care services are projected to grow about 15 percent over the 2008-18 period. Currently there are not enough elementary school teachers to meet the country’s demand— particularly in urban school districts.

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 teachers within this industry.

NLU has a long-standing reputation for its education and teacher training programs, and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Since 1886, NLU has trained thousands of educators and continues to graduate the majority of winners honored by Illinois’ two Golden Apple Foundations with one of the most prestigious teaching and leadership honors in the state.

NLU was at the forefront of the kindergarten movement in 1886, preparing some of the first early childhood teachers to be employed in the Chicago area. Now more than a century later, our National College of Education continues to design and deliver the best in teacher education programs including the M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education. Class size is small and faculty are experienced and well known in the field.

The Master's in Early Childhood Education degree is offered as a 22 month program in our new blended format designed to deliver the ultimate flexibility. The blended format includes the perfect mix of online coursework combined with face-to-face, dynamic interactive learning.

Students in the M.A.T. program are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of pre-clinical experience before student teaching. Fifty hours of observation are required in a primary grade setting, and 25 hours each are required in pre-primary and infant-toddler settings. Students complete 50 of their pre-clinical hours in conjunction with course number ECE580 under the guidance of a university supervisor. Additional hours are met through other coursework and field experiences.

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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