Adam Kennedy and Kimberly Thier, faculty in The School of Education, were awarded a $1.25 million grant to improve the training of early childhood educators to provide services for young children with special needs and their families. The goal of this grant is to prepare early childhood teachers who possess all of the state credentials needed to work with diverse children from birth through age 8. Over five years, the grant will support collaboration between the SOE and Chicago-area programs that serve young children. It will also provide scholarships for Loyola's Early Childhood Special Education majors. The blended ECSE program at Loyola focuses on the knowledge, skills, and credentials needed to work collaboratively as a general or special education teacher of culturally and linguistically diverse children, those with special needs, and typically developing children from birth through age eight. Candidates will also earn an initial Illinois Department of Human Services credential to work as a developmental therapist in early intervention with infants and toddlers with special needs and their families.