The state of Michigan recently approved Cornerstone University’s education program to prepare teachers for early childhood general and special education (ZS).
Division Chair and Associate Professor of Education at Cornerstone University, Kerisa Myers, believes this endorsement will help students become well-rounded educators.
“Classrooms today are becoming more diverse and inclusive,” said Myers. “A general education teacher may have students in their class in various special education categories.”
Thanks to the new endorsement, students studying early childhood education will now be able to graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and a minor with the ZS endorsement for general and special education.
“If they teach in a lower elementary classroom, they will have a broader knowledge for the special education students in their course,” Myers said. “I knew it would require additional work on our part to meet the new special education standards, but it would definitely be worth it in the long run for our students.”
The new endorsement qualifies students to teach in both general education and special education early childhood classrooms.
“It makes them more marketable,” said Myers, who began working towards the endorsement in 2008.
In order to successfully receive the endorsement, CU had to redesign its early childhood minor. The original minor changed from 21 credits to 26 credits to meet the state requirements.
This past fall semester, Abbigail Bylsma, a senior education student, taught in a preschool special education classroom. She completed the field experience required for the new endorsement, and someday she hopes to take the two extra classes she needs to complete the ZS endorsement.
“It was great to get experience in that area,” Bylsma said. “The children were such a joy to work with and I learned a lot about the importance of understanding the special needs of all children at such a young age.”
For more information about the education degree program, visit www.cornerstone.edu/academics.