Early Childhood Curriculum | Early Childhood - Curriculum and Instruction | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Education and Human Services

Teacher with young students

Program Overview

Undergraduate Early Childhood majors choose between two specializations:

  • Preschool/Primary
  • Child and Family Services

Students in both programs take courses in child development, family studies, and early childhood curriculum and instructional methods. About a third of the coursework in either of the two specializations will be devoted to fulfilling the University Core Curriculum. We believe a core curriculum that emphasizes the liberal arts and sciences is a strong foundation on which to build your education and career.

The courses related to your major will make up the rest of your program hours. In addition, for both majors, we offer approved courses toward credentials to serve infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Students have practicum experiences with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through the Southern Region Early Childhood Program.


The SIU Early Childhood Preschool/Primary Specialization leads to the State of Illinois Early Childhood Certificate/License, which qualifies you to teach children 0-8 years of age in state-approved public school settings. The specialization also prepares students to work with preschoolers with a variety of disabilities. These courses are also approved to meet a number of requirements for the Illinois Early Intervention credential. Coursework includes a number of methods courses in Curriculum & Instruction (CI) and three courses in Special Education. Student teaching consists of eight weeks at the CDL and eight weeks in a public school. This specialization requires admittance into the SIU Teacher Education Program.

VIEW PROGRAM DETAILS | Preschool/Primary


The Child and Family Services program is designed for students who prefer to work with children in non-public school settings, such as Head Start, childcare, or with children and families through an agency setting. In selecting courses, students can follow any of five suggested career tracks: childcare program director; child development specialist/early intervention; family literacy; family educator; or social service agency. This program is flexible, with many choices of electives. Students have practicum experiences with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers at CDL and with pre-kindergarten children through the Southern Region Programs. They also do a semester-long internship in an agency or early childhood setting as a capstone experience.

VIEW PROGRAM DETAILS | Child and Family Services

The Early Childhood programs are fully accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education and by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. SIU is one of a minority of university teacher education programs in the country accredited by NCATE, the only nationally recognized accrediting group authorized by the U.S. Department of Education. This national accreditation facilitates certification in many other states. As a whole, SIU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.