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University of Illinois At Chicago Scores $3.8 Million Federal Grant Toward Early Childhood Education

The university looks to support early childhood education work while preparing early childhood educators in underserved communities.

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UNIVERSITY VILLAGE — The University of Illinois at Chicago said Tuesday a new $3.8 million federal grant will be used to train early childhood education teachers and help thousands of children across the city.

The four-year grant is from the U.S. Department of Education. With it, over the span of five years, the school’s Chicago Early Childhood Preparation and Pathway Partnership plans to serve 2,000 Chicago preschoolers in childhood education classrooms in Chicago Public Schools and community-based organizations in underserved communities.

The UIC Alternative Early Childhood Licensure program also aims to address teacher shortages among the early childhood education field, foster more diversity among teachers in the field and increase retention.

Catherine Main, College of Education senior lecturer and program coordinator, and assistant psychology professor Kate Zinsser are creating an early childhood education residency program.

The initiative recruits “disenfranchised” people to advance their education while improving outcomes for children through early childhood education programming, UIC said.

“The program provides a viable pathway for teacher residents to gain state teacher licensure and graduate-level coursework while maintaining employment and strong relationships with young children and their families at their current workplace,” Main said.

The University of Illinois’ partners for the grant include Chicago Public Schools, Chicago’s Office of Early Learning and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development.

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