Early Childhood Education

Whether you want to guide the discovery and learning of toddlers in childcare or second-graders in a classroom, you can have a profound influence on youth. SAU gives you the skills to educate and the confidence to ignite a world of wonder.

Our students work at Head Start, Illinois Regional Office of Education, Area Education Agencies, and as teachers in public and private schools across the country.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Personal, Faculty Mentors
  • Enriching, Supportive Learning Environment
  • Practicum at SAU's Accredited Children's Campus

early education students at Putnam Museum

students in beehive

reading to students

At St. Ambrose, you don't just casually wonder about your teaching experience. Instead, you feel a spark inside of wide-eyed excitement as you lead a class of young children – and you realize it's contagious, too. Here, you can teach, guide, and inspire young children because you learned from the best. Our Teacher Education graduates are competent and professional educators poised to nurture and prepare the next generation.

Read Our Early Childhood Education Fact Sheet (pdf)

More Information on Early Childhood Education

What will I learn?

You will learn how to teach all children - including those with disabilities and developmental delays - from birth to age 8, in public and private schools, pre-schools, and other settings. Required courses include early childhood development, education technology, assessment practices, administration and nutrition, and managing behavior and social integration skills

You will work with children early in your college career. Get hands-on field experience at the SAU Children's Campus, a fully licensed, nationally-accredited childcare center. We also have strong, established relationships with Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, Early Access, Davenport Community School District, and other districts and agencies that serve a diverse population of children and settings.

During your one-semester Capstone course, you'll develop an idea or problem and conduct research in the classroom.

What learning opportunities are available?

You get unmatched real-world experience at the SAU Children's Campus.

The Children's Campus is the lab site for our early childhood education majors as well as an accredited, fully-operational early childhood program serving up to 70 children of all abilities, ages six weeks to 6 years-old. The Children's Campus also offers educational experiences and resources for families. The lab is focused on excellence in teaching and creating an environment of mutual trust.

At most universities, such experience would be reserved for master's students. Not at St. Ambrose. You'll gain these skills long before you step into your own classroom.

The SAU School of Education Curriculum Library has educational material, instructional resources, and teaching aids to help prepare you in filling one of the most influential roles in a young person's life: a teacher.

In addition, we are one of few universities in Iowa offering Peace Corps Prep, a program that can make you a stronger candidate for volunteer positions within the Peace Corps or other service programs. Most students can earn the certificate – awarded by the Peace Corps – without taking extra courses. Click here to learn more.

What are some possible job outcomes?

Early Childhood Educators are in high demand. You can care, inspire, and teach children in pre-school, childcare, elementary school, or even work as a private or school district tutor.

What have alumni of this program done?

Meredith Tangen '08, '10 MBA was recognized by the Iowa Association for Career and Technical Education for her significant contributions toward innovative and unique career and technical education programs during her tenure as a math teacher at Davenport West High School.

Education Department

Faculty and Staff

Dale Blesz, PhD, Director
Trish Zinger, Administrative Assistant
Melissa Judd, Curriculum Library Administrative Assistant
Jessica Davis, Assessment Administrative Assistant

Gene Bechen, PhD, Professor
Brenda Boleyn, PhD, Professor
Stephanie Erps, MEd, Assessment Coordinator, Lecturer
Mike Kiss, MA, Lecturer
Sherri Moler, MA, Instructor
Angela Rekers-Power, PhD, Associate Professor
Tracy Schuster-Matlock, PhD, Professor
Deanna Stoube, PhD, Professor
Edwin Ubeda, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Tanya Volkova, PhD, Professor

School of Education Admission Steps

The School of Education at St. Ambrose University includes areas of study necessary to prepare highly-qualified, professional classroom teachers and enables the student to receive an initial license to teach in Iowa agencies and schools.

The program is approved by the Iowa Department of Education. Through agreements with other states, graduates may apply for certification after receiving an Iowa license.

There is some planning involved before you apply, so follow the steps below.

Steps to Apply for Admission to the School of Education

Step One:

Complete these general education courses:

ENGL 101 Written Communications
PSYC 105 Introduction to Psychology
One course in American History or American Government
One Biology and Non-biological Science (only ECE/Elem. majors)
COMM 110 Basic Human Communication

Step Two:

Enroll in EDUC 205 or EDUC 207. Prerequisites: Complete (or transfer) 12 credit hours. GPA must be at least 2.7.

Step Three:

While enrolled in either EDUC 205 or EDUC 207, apply for admission to the School of Education while making sure you satisfy these GPA and ACT requirements below.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

a.  Complete 40 field hours in EDUC 205 or provide verification through EDUC 207.
b.  Two professional rating forms (EDUC 205 or 207 instructor, and cooperating teacher's evaluation) which show applicant earned an average rating of at least Developing (3) in the three separate dispositional categories and recommended by both course instructor and cooperating teacher to continue on into the program.
c.  Receive a grade of "B" or above in EDUC 205 or 207.
d.  A completed application for admission to teacher education program form (including statement of fraud section and necessary signatures).
e. Complete EDUC 282 and EDUC 284 with at least a B average

GPA Requirements

Overall GPA for entrance to the School of Education and maintenance of status within the School shall be calculated by using only the credits transferred into St. Ambrose University plus the credits earned at SAU.

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Education GPA of 3.0
  • Content GPA (if applicable) of 3.0

Degree Requirements

Majoring in Early Childhood Education is equivalent to an Iowa early childhood endorsement.

View education courses and descriptions in the online course catalog

To acquire an Iowa early childhood endorsement – licensed to teach children birth to 3rd grade with and without disabilities – an applicant needs the following:

EDUC 205 Intro to Teaching, 2 credits or 207 Orientation to Teaching, 1 credit
EDUC 282 Educational Technology, 2 credits
EDUC 284 Child and Adolescent Development
EDUC 300 Diversity and Culturally-Responsive Teaching
WI-EDUC 301 History and Philosophy of Education
EDUC 309 Educational Psychology
EDUC 312 Curriculum Development for Young Children (ages 5-8)
EDUC 371 Language Arts and Reading in the Elementary Schools (grades 4-8)
EDUC 452 Diagnostic and Prescriptive Techniques of Teaching Reading, 4 credits
EDGEOG 201 Physical Geography
EDMATH 210 Theory of Arithmetic
6-7 credits in Biology and Natural Science
One course in U.S. history or government

Two of the following:
EDUC 440 Student Teaching Early Childhood Birth-3
EDUC 441 Student Teaching Early Childhood Ages 3-6
EDUC 442 Student Teaching Early Childhood Ages 5-8
PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology
SPED 310 Inclusion Strategies for Students with Special Needs
SPED 313 Collaboration with Families and Professional
ECSE 204 Introduction to Early Childhood Education
ECSE 311 Assessment of Young Children
ECSE 321 Management of Young Children
ECSE 410 Infant Toddler Curriculum and Methods
ECSE 420 Development Curriculum and Methods
COMM 325 Introduction to Speech Pathology
ECE 303 Literacy for Young Children
ECE 307 Science for Young Children
ECE 308 Social Studies for Young Children
ECE 350 Math Education for Young Children
ECE 365 Early Childhood Development
ECE 381 Health, Nutrition, and Public Policy

Pre-Student Teaching
A minimum of 215 clock hours of pre-student teaching experiences in a school or agency setting at three different age levels (0-3 or 3-6 years or grades K-3) are required before student teaching.

Early Childhood Education majors also must present evidence of current certification in infant, child, and adult CPR and first aid before the student teaching semester.

Specific course information, State of Iowa competencies, and class listings can be found in the Course Catalog.

For More Information

Dr. Brenda Boleyn, 563-333-6103

Student Teaching

Student teaching is during the last semester before graduation, and the placement is all day, every day, for one semester.

Guidelines for Admission to Student Teaching

The applicant must meet the following requirements for admission to student teaching and graduation:

1. Admission to the Teacher Education Program. Completion of a proposed sequence of courses leading to licensure.
2. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.70 with 3.00 GPAs in education and major/endorsement courses. All grades must be C or above in education and major/endorsement courses. D or F grades are unacceptable.

Note: A student who does not meet any of the above requirements may file an appeal. All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Teacher Education Appeals Committee through the Assessment Coordinator of the Teacher Education Program, one semester before the start of the student teaching semester.

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Early Childhood Education.

If a student does not have three years of foreign language in high school, then 9-11 credits of a foreign language are required.

Also, students must demonstrate proficiency in Math 131 or take that course in addition to a higher level mathematics course.

First Year


NSS 101 New Student Seminar

1 EDUC 282 Educational Technology 2
HIST 201 or 202 (US History) 3 EDUC 205 Field Experience 2
EDUC 284 Child & Adolescent Psych 3 100 Level PHIL / THEO 3
IL 101 Information Literacy 1 EDGEOG Physical Geography (Nat Sci) 3
100 Level PHIL / THEO 3 ENGL 101 Written Composition 3
KIN 149 Wellness 1 PSYCH 105 Intro to Psychology 3
EDMATH 210 Theory of Arithmetic 3

Second Year

ECSE 204 Intro to ECSE 0-8 3 Creative Arts 2
ECE 365 Early Child Development 3 ECSE 420 Curriculum 3
WI-EDUC 309 Ed. Psych:Test & Meas 3 ECSE 311 Assessment 3
COMM 129, 132, 203, 228 or 329 3 EDUC 371 Lang.Arts & Reading Grades K-3 3
BIOL 109 Environmental Science 3 Humanities 3
100 Level PHIL / THEO 3 EDUC 312 Curriculum Ages 5-8 3
Total 18 Total 17

Third Year

WI-EDUC 301 Hist & Phil of Education 3 ECSE 410  Curriculum 0-3 3
ECE 303 Literacy for Young Children 3 ECE 308 Social Studies  3
300 Level PHIL / THEO 3 ECE 307 Science  3
EDUC 452 Diagnostic and Prescriptive Techniques of Teaching Reading 4 SPED 313 Collab. with families 3
EDCOMM 325 Intro to Speech Pathology 3 EDUC 300 Cultural Pluralism* 3
Total 16 Total 15

Fourth Year

ECSE 321 Behavior Management 3 Student Teaching Semester
ECE 350 Math Education for Young Children 4 (Choice of two)
ECE 381 Health, Nutrition & Public Policy 3 EDUC 440 0-3
PHIL / THEO 3 EDUC 441 3-6
SPED 310 The Inclusive Classroom 3 EDUC 442 5-8
KIN 206 First Aid / CPR 0-2
Total 16-18 Total 15

Scholarships and Grants


St. Ambrose offers excellent scholarships and grants, work-study and other financial aid options! Full-time students may be eligible based on your strong academic performance in college, your talent in fine arts or athletics or your demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code for the FAFSA is 001889.

First-Year Scholarships and Institutional Aid 2024-2025

Merit-Based Scholarships

4.0 GPA: $24,000
3.75-3.99 GPA: $22,000
3.0-3.749 GPA: $20,000
2.5-2.99 GPA: $18,000
2.0-2.49 GPA: $14,000
If GPA is 2.0-2.49, additional documents and review required for admission.

Merit-Based Scholarships

4.o GPA: $17,000
3.75-3.99 GPA: $16,000
3.0-3.749 GPA: $15,000
2.5-2.99 GPA: $14,000
2.0-2.49 GPA: $13,000
If GPA is 2.0-2.49, additional documents and review required for admission.


Ambrose Advantage Full-Tuition Scholarship
Pell-eligible Iowa residents, learn more here

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship: $500 per year
Parent is a St. Ambrose graduate

Catholic Traditions Scholarship: $1,000 per year
Students with Catholic religious denomination or plans to graduate from Catholic high school 

Minority Scholarship: $500 per year
Ethnically diverse student

Athletic Scholarships: varies
Performance and ability

Fine Arts Scholarships: varies
Performance and ability in music, art and theatre

Faith Learning Justice Campus Ministry Scholarships: $2,000 per year
Recognition of involvement in church and community service and interest in strengthening faith and growing as a leader in campus ministry

Scholarships are determined by unweighted GPA, and are renewable for four years of undergraduate student. Increases in scholarship awards due to change in GPA will be reviewed until March 1.

State and Federal Grants, Work Study

Grants are money that you don't repay, and they can come from government or private sources. SAU receives all financial aid funds directly - including loans and grants - then applies them to your account: once in the fall term and once in the spring term. Grants can be used to cover your tuition, books, and housing costs. You must apply for grants each academic year. If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. For all of these grants, you must complete the Free Application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it is available.

Iowa Tuition Grant
To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant, you must be a resident of Iowa as defined by the State Board of Regents and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an eligible Iowa college or university (SAU is eligible). Iowa College Aid administers need-based college financial aid for Iowans, such as the Iowa Tuition Grant.
Award: $7,500 maximum

Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to students of the highest need based on how much your family can contribute to your education. The U.S. Department of Education sets a threshold. Then, when you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it computes where you land within that threshold and determines if you qualify for the grant and for how much.
Award: $6,895 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
You must file a FAFSA to qualify for a Pell Grant. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who have submitted all required documents for review and in time for the review to be complete. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or SEOG, the awards will appear on your financial aid award letter.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Must secure campus employment.
Award: $2,560

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant 
Provides aid to students intending to teach in a high-need field at a school that serves low-income families (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or a state education agency). Review criteria and all details here.
Award: up to $4,000

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Student Financial Services where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Andromahi (Mahi) Harrison '07

As St. Ambrose University Children's Campus Lead Preschool Teacher, Mahi has an unrelenting drive to give children the tools to flourish now, and long into the future. Her skills as an educator and deep passion for the field have been nationally recognized: she is one of 50 recipients of the 2020 National Child Care Teacher Award. Mahi's natural positivity and unbending belief that children can accomplish anything keeps her classroom of 16 three- to five-year-old children deeply engaged. "My goal is to help them build respect for themselves, respect for each other, and to set goals for themselves," she says.

Read Mahi's Story

Apply Visit Info


Dale Blesz, PhD, Director

School of Education
Ambrose Hall 205
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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