Western Michigan University's early childhood professional education program includes coursework and experiences leading to both a Michigan K-8 certification and an Early Childhood General and Special (ZS) Endorsement. If you decide to major in early childhood education at WMU, you will take courses in language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. You will be required to minor in at least two of these subjects.
An Early Childhood Education General and Special (ZS) Endorsement will also be available to you if you major in elementary education, special education with elementary, speech pathology, music with an elementary education minor, or art with an elementary education minor. Along with the certificate and the endorsement, WMU’s early childhood program will provide you with:
- An opportunity to belong to a community of students and faculty with common interests.
- Experience with children from birth up to 9 years.
- A portfolio of evidence of increasing skill level—a valuable tool in securing professional employment.
As an early childhood education student at WMU, you will be required to complete a full-semester internship as well as a half-semester pre-internship, both under the mentorship of selected teachers in partnership schools and teacher educators from WMU. These internships are designed to prepare you not only for your role as a classroom teacher, but as a professional studying your own teaching practice, participating in site-based decision making and coordinating your work with teachers and other members of the school community. Both school and University faculty will work closely together to support and assist you as you progress through the program.
You can also gain valuable networking and professional development opportunities through student and community organizations, including the Student Education Association, Bigs on Campus, Kappa Delta Pi, the Michigan Education Association and the National Education Association.
Recent WMU graduates with degrees in early childhood education are working as:
- Teachers (kindergarten through eighth grade)
- Early childhood specialist (ZS: infant, toddler, pre-school, young fives programs)
- Day care administrators, parent educators or early intervention specialists
- Educational administrators
- Curriculum specialists
- Athletic coaches
- Community program directors
Among the organizations they work for are:
- Health clubs