What can I do with a degree or minor in Early Childhood Education?
The ZS Endorsement
Beginning Fall 2012 (pending state approval), students in the Early Childhood and Elementary Program will be able to work towards a General and Special Education endorsement (ZS). ZS endorsed teachers will be able to teach in general education early childhood classrooms, inclusive early childhood classrooms, and in early childhood special education classrooms. These teachers are not adequately prepared to teach self contained Special Education classes in K-3.
Associate of Arts Degree
Students selecting this program track can be qualified for school paraprofessional positions, Head Start teachers, childcare and preschool teachers and, in some cases, administrative positions within early childhood programs. Students, who decide at a later date to pursue their four-year degree and become certified as an elementary teacher, can apply all the classes required of the associate degree and begin where they left off! Students are required to take the Cornerstone Core, General Education Core for education students as well as five early childhood courses and a six-credit internship in a childcare or preschool program for a total of 62 credits (these totals subject to change to align with the ZS endorsement changes – see Dr. Myers for details).
Child Development Associate Credential
Another option for Early Childhood students within the above two options, is to earn their CDA, Child Development Associate Credential. The CDA is a national certification and credentialing program. "A CDA is one who is ‘able to meet the specific needs of children and who, with parents and other adults, works to nurture children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth in a child development framework.’ "
Why choose Early Childhood Education at Cornerstone?
The Teacher Education department is currently aware of several school districts in Michigan who will only hire teachers with their early childhood endorsement (early childhood minor as part of the four-year elementary education program) for lower elementary positions. Due to federal legislation such as No Child Left Behind, current focus on brain research and the importance of quality early educational experiences, this is a marketable and viable program for any elementary student to seriously consider.
The Associates of Arts program is a beneficial choice for those desiring to work in school districts as substitute teachers or paraprofessionals.
For a degree or minor in Early Childhood Education, what classes will I take?
Early Childhood Curriculum is the foundational course for this program. Students learn about different types of curricula and theorists in the field. Students also may visit a Reggio Child Development Center and Montessori school as well as observe in an early childhood classroom during the course.
Without a doubt, Preprimary Methods and Materials is an interesting and exciting class to take! Each week different learning centers are set up that would typically found in an early childhood classroom. Students are encouraged to remember what learning through play feels like and looks like to a young child. Students often get on their hands and knees as they participate in the activities to help in that reflective process! A favorite class is mud, sand and water play!
What are graduates of the Early Childhood program doing now?
Graduates of our Early Childhood program are working as teachers in public elementary schools, child development centers, preschools, Montessori and Head Start programs, and directors of before/after school programs and even activity directors at retirement homes (a recent Associate of Arts graduate!).
The Early Childhood Program gives students the opportunity to become specialists who work and teach young children infant through age eight. Students are taught best practices and theory and then observe how these are applied through various levels of classroom involvement during the required field experience. If you are interested in learning more about this exciting and practical program, please contact me directly! Dr. Kerisa Myers – Division Chair and Early Childhood Program Coordinator.