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A.A. or B.A. in Early Childhood EducationInspire Young Minds

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Associate of Arts or Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Through the early childhood education program, you can prepare for a promising future in the classroom influencing young minds to become tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.

Degree Type

  • Associate of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts


  • On Campus
  • Residential


  • Grand Rapids

Challenge, Inspire and Connect in the Classroom

Several school districts in the state of Michigan require an early childhood endorsement for lower elementary positions. At Cornerstone University, you’ll prepare to receive that endorsement through our rigorous, award-winning program in early childhood education. Through a well-rounded exploration of subjects like early reading, visual and performing arts and physical and health education, early childhood education students are equipped to serve in a number of capacities in early childhood education, from developmental kindergarten to elementary school.

Students in this program take Cornerstone core classes to supplement their elementary education courses and toward the end of their program participate in a student teaching practicum. They also have the option to include a second major in creativity and innovation if accepted into the Creativity and Innovation Honors Institute.


A wealth of opportunities is available to early childhood education majors. Here are some of the diverse educational contexts you’ll be prepared to teach in as a program graduate.


  • Public elementary schools
  • Child development centers
  • Preschools
  • Montessori schools
  • Head start programs
  • Directors of before and after school programs


During your program, you will take part in a student teaching practicum in an environment of your choice. Here are where some of our students have been placed in the past.


  • Coming soon!


Of 2019 early childhood education majors were employed within six months of graduation.


Of 2019 teacher education graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.


Student-to-faculty ratio with an average class size of 22.

Program Features and
Learning Outcomes

The early childhood education program at Cornerstone is designed to inspire your intellect, deepen your character and prepare you to lead in your career with influence and wisdom.

The early childhood education program provides a student with two options: a ZS endorsement or an Associate of Arts degree.

Degree Planning Guides

From caring professors to one-on-one advising appointments, we have resources to support you in reaching your goals and being successful in your classes.

Degree planning guides for Early Childhood Education (academic catalog 2022-2023) coming early 2022. Please check back for more details.

ZS Endorsement

Students in the early childhood and elementary program will be able to work toward a General and Special Education endorsement (ZS). For ZS endorsement, you will earn a major that will lead to the Early Childhood Endorsement on the Elementary Teaching Certificate in the State of Michigan. As a ZS endorsed teacher, you will be able to teach in early childhood classrooms, inclusive early childhood classrooms and early childhood special education classrooms.

Associate of Arts Degree

By selecting this program track, you can be qualified as a school paraprofessional, Head Start teacher, childcare and preschool teacher and, in some cases, for an administrative position within early childhood programs. If you decide at a later date to pursue a four-year degree and become certified as an elementary teacher, you can apply several of the classes required of the associate degree. Students are required to take the Cornerstone core, general education core for education students as well as six early childhood courses and a three-credit internship in a childcare or preschool program for a total of 65 credits.

Program Learning Outcomes

The early childhood education program reflects our commitment to developing students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes in five distinct yet interconnected areas.

Specialized Knowledge

Students will demonstrate knowledge of and proficiency in the terminology, theories, concepts, practices and skills specific to the field of education.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of and proficiency in discipline-specific pedagogy.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of educational theory.
  • Develop a specialized knowledge of diverse learners.

Applied Knowledge and Collaborative Learning

Students will exhibit competency in applying your knowledge in instructional planning, classroom management and soft skills in a classroom setting.

  • Plan and implement learning experiences that accommodate and meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • Demonstrate effective implementation of instructional theory and pedagogy.
  • Assess students’ current competency of knowledge and skills.

Intellectual Skills

Students will demonstrate your ability to integrate both traditional and non-traditional cognitive skills, including analytical inquiry, information literacy, quantitative fluency and communicative fluency.

Civic and Global Learning

Students will demonstrate intercultural competence in addressing civic, social, environmental and economic issues.

Biblical Worldview Integration

Students will articulate a Christ-centered worldview and its personal, professional and communal embodiment through Christian virtues.

Want to Learn More About CU?

Not only do students need someone to deepen their understanding of the world around them, but they also need someone to support them in their learning. Cornerstone has opened my heart and showed me how to love my students in a God-honoring way.

Gabriela Kraley (’23)


Faculty in the Teacher Education Division have years of classroom experience and are prepared to equip you to become a future educator.

Related Programs

Our Teacher Education Division has several programs for students who desire to become teachers. Take a look at some of the other programs available.

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