Early Childhood General and Special Education Major: Birth through Kindergarten

Early Childhood Education Major

Departments: Family Consumer SciencesSpecial Education and Literacy Studies and Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies
Major: Early Childhood General and Special Education: Birth through Kindergarten 

For catalog years 2022 and beyond, the program prepares educators for work in a variety of early care and classroom settings serving infants through kindergarten-age children. Following completion of the curriculum, graduates will be eligible for credentialing as early childhood/early childhood special education (BK/ZN) teachers under MDE regulations. The major integrates courses focused on child development, diverse family and community relationships, early childhood education, special education, and content area knowledge and pedagogy. It prepares educators to teach and work with young learners and their families to meet the socio-emotional needs of the whole child and to implement developmentally appropriate practices and intensive interventions in response to both typical and atypical development. Preparation for work with young children, their families, and the direct and ancillary services dedicated to them, is most effective when informed by the multi-dimensionality of early growth and development. Study in the Early Learning & Intervention: Birth to Kindergarten (catalog years 2022 and 2023) or the Early Childhood General and Special Education: Birth through Kindergarten program (catalog years 2024 to present) at Western Michigan University features an interdisciplinary structure that anchors professional learning and experience within the disciplines and best practices of early childhood education, family science, and special education.

For catalog years 2021 and prior, you can be certified to teach grades K-5 in all subjects, grades K-8 in all subjects when teaching in a self-contained classroom, early childhood (regular or special education) birth to age 8, and grades 6-8 in your content minors (catalog years 2004 to 2013).

Students interested in teaching Birth through Third Grade, please see Early Childhood Education: Birth through Third Grade.

Admission requirements and applications

Program guides

Graduation Plans

Content majors and minors

  • Catalog years 2014 to present—no content minor required