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Photo of Main, Catherine M.

Catherine M. Main

Senior Lecturer & Director of Early Childhood Education

Coordinator of MEd Early Childhood Education

Educational Psychology


Building & Room:

3411 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (M/C 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 355-2471



Catherine Main is a senior lecturer and Director of Early Childhood Education in the College of Education and a visiting scholar with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) at the University of Illinois.

She has more 30 years of work on behalf of young children and their families in the state of Illinois.  Her work at the UIC College of Education has included innovative and responsive program development and coordination in Early Childhood Education. Main designed and developed a Blended Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education program and an Early Childhood Alternative Licensure program.  Both programs were the first of their kind approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and both reflect a focused, much needed, response to specific demands for early childhood teachers in Chicago. Currently she is also the principal investigator (PI) a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant and leading the Illinois Early Childhood Apprenticeship Pilot project in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Service (IDHS).  She regularly presents her work at national conferences and as an invited speaker at local conferences. She is the past- President of the Illinois Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (ILAECTE) and a member of the board for Chicago Youth Centers.

Selected Publications

Göncü, A. & Main, C.  (July 2023) Early Childhood Teacher Narratives on Constructivism.  Mind, Culture, and Activity, DOI: 10.1080/10749039.2023.2228295

Zinsser, K., Main, C., Torres, L. & Connor, K. (January 2019). Patching the Pathway and Widening the Pipeline: Models for Developing a Diverse Early Childhood Workforce in Chicago. American Journal of Community Psychology. DOI:10.1002/ajcp.12310

Main, C. & Yarbrough, K. (October 2018) Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce: A Call to Action for the State of Illinois. Chicago, Il: University of Illinois at Chicago

Notable Honors

2019, Award for Excellence in Teaching (AET), University of Illinois Chicago

2016, Distinguished Alumni Award, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois Chicago

2014, Service to the Field Award, Chicago Metro Association of the Education of Young Children (CMAEYC)


University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois

Master of Education- Instructional Leadership with a specialization in Early Childhood Education (May, 1992)

Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Bachelor of Science- Business Administration with specializations in Economic and Finance (May, 1987)

Licensures and Certifications

Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) Professional Educator License (PEL) with endorsement in Early Childhood Education (ECE)