Dr. Lila Sybesma '81 Associate Professor of Education


Ed.D., University of South Dakota
M.A., University of Sioux Falls
B.A., Northwestern College

VPH 200A

Dr. Sybesma specializes in early childhood education and reading. She is certified to teach in K-6 elementary education and began her career serving as an elementary education teacher for 19 years. A former president of the Northwest Iowa Reading Council, she has led numerous workshops for teachers. She recently worked with Northwestern's education department to achieve national accreditation for the college's teaching program.

EDU228 - Children's Literature

(2 credits) This course focuses on the history of children's literature and its uses in the classroom. This course provides an introduction to the criteria and selection of Children's literature for elementary school students. Various genres are detailed, and ideas for curriculum integration are discussed. A study of illustrations and authors is included. Note: This course includes field experience.

EDU229 - Introduction to Early Childhood

(3 credits; alternate years, consult department)This course examines both the typical and atypical growth and development of children ages birth through grade three in the areas of cognition, language development, physical motor, social-emotional, mental health and adaptive behavior. Candidates will learn how these areas impact development and learning in the first years of life and will use this knowledge to plan, develop, implement and evaluate integrated learning experiences for home, center and school environments based on knowledge of the child, the family, and the community. Candidates will also use relevant national and state professional standards for designing content and informing and improving practices for children and their families. Note: This course includes field experience.

EDU230 - Organization and Administration of Early Childhood Programs

(3 credits; alternate years, consult department) This course examines the principles of administration and operation of programs for children ages birth through grade three and their families, including program development, supervision, staff evaluation, and continuing improvement of programs and services. Candidates will understand the significance of lifelong learning by participating in professional activities relevant to early childhood education, special education and early intervention. Candidates are required to complete pre-student teaching experiences in at least three settings that offer early childhood education. Note: This course includes field experience.

EDU319 - Communication and Collaborative Partnerships for Special Educators

(2 credits; alternate years, consult department) This course examines how successful early childhood education depends upon reciprocal and respectful partnerships with families, communities and agencies. Candidates will understand the dynamic roles within and between families, schools and communities and how to create a community of support for children and families through interagency collaboration. Candidates will learn how to collaborate with supervisors, mentors and colleagues to enhance professional growth within and across disciplines to inform practice and to advocate for developmentally and individually appropriate practice. Utilizing collaborative partnerships, candidates will learn how to create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments that engage learners in meaningful activities and interactions. Prerequisite: EDU206.

EDU326 - Teaching Reading and Language Arts

(3 credits) A foundational course for the teaching of language arts at the elementary and middle school levels. Candidates will understand and utilize materials, lesson design, methods and procedures to teach reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and grammar. Prerequisite: EDU206. Note: This course includes a field experience. Students must earn a "C" orbetter to fulfill program requirements for elementary licensure.


Sybesma, L. J. (2009, Fall). Teacher: Christlike servant. Christian School Teacher, 1-6.


"Cognitive Development in Play” Denison, IA April 4, 2009

“Early Childhood Education” Career College Fair Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon, IA October, 2008

“Including Christian Perspective in Your Reading and Writing Program” Heartland Conference Sioux Center, October 2008

“Writing the Right Way” Heartland Conference Sioux Center October 2007

“Building a Lesson” IRA Iowa Reading Association Des Moines, IA April, 2007

Served on accreditation team for a local school (2015)

Developed online Early Childhood Endorsements and coursework (2012-2016)

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

International Reading Association (IRA)

Northwest Iowa Reading Council (NWIRC)

Nominated for Northwestern College Professor of the Year

Endowed Professorship