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Core Courses

The seven core courses included in this project have been identified by the Illinois Associate Degree Early Childhood Educators group (ACCESS) as being the courses that are central to community college curriculum across the state. Through the support of the HEIP grant, and with the input of 2- and 4-year faculty in early childhood general and special education as well as faculty in bilingual education, the courses have been revised to ensure that the competencies, student assessments, resources, and embedded evidence-based practices represent current, research-based information supporting the learning and development of children and families who are culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse.

The courses are based on the 2009 NAEYC Associate Degree Standards, the 2008 CEC Initial Common Core, Initial Special Education Profession in Early Childhood Special Education/Early Intervention Birth to 8 (DEC), and the 2010 Illinois Professional Teaching Standards.

Core Course Resources

The following resources are included for each of the seven core courses and can be accessed via each individual course.

  • Sample Syllabus - Includes core components of each course (course outline, resources, learning outcomes, method of evaluation).
  • Activities - Descriptions of assignments aligned with Learning Objectives, NAEYC Associate Degree Standards, and DEC Recommended Practices.  Assignments include field experiences at diverse sites that include opportunities that support student acquisition of knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to work with children and families who are culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse.
  • Handouts - Various resources used within the Course or Assigned Activities.
  • Content Questions - Compilation of questions pertaining to textbook and additional course readings. Questions are arranged sequentially by textbook chapter.
  • Discussion Questions - Potential topics for discussion in an online discussion board or during classroom instruction.
  • Readings & Resources - Current, evidence-based resources aligned with OSEP-mandated objectives based on knowledge, skills, and dispositions early childhood practitioners need to acquire to support the learning and development of children and families within inclusive settings.

Core Courses

Annotated Resources

The following resources, organized topically, are used within the seven core courses of this project.

Quality Inclusive Practices Checklist

This instrument is designed to assess quality inclusive practices within early childhood environments. The features used to define high-quality, inclusive early childhood programs and services are AccessParticipation, and Supports (DEC/NAEYC, 2009). The framework for this checklist builds upon these features. Access, Participation, and Supports are measured by a variety of evidence-based indicators.


A series of videos have been produced that support concepts taught in the seven core courses.

Parent Resource Pages

A series of Parent Resource Pages have been created to support practitioners as they work with families who are culturally, linguistically and ability diverse. These resource pages provide a tool for teachers to use to support families faced with questions about early childhood.

Contact Us

Johnna Darragh-Ernst

Professor Early Childhood Education

1500 W Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8746