Who is an Early Childhood Educator?

An Early Childhood Educator is a person who works with young children and their families – birth through third grade – in child care centers, school-based programs, home settings or other educational settings. Center-based teachers and administrators work in private and public child care centers, Head Start centers, and private nursery schools and preschools. School-based teachers work in pre-kindergarten, Head Start, kindergarten and early grades in elementary schools with typically developing children and children with developmental delays and disabilities. Home-based educators work in programs such as Early Head Start, family/group child care homes and private household child care.

Equally important to the work with children is the work with families, support staff and the community. The Early Childhood Educator must be a person who can function as a member of a team and is often in the role of team leader. At the pre-kindergarten level, adult-child ratios mandate that there is a teaching assistant in the classroom once the enrollment reaches a specific number. The team of teacher and assistant teacher collaborate on the program for young children and their families.

The primary purpose of the WSU College of Education Early Childhood Program is to prepare early childhood teachers at the initial certification level and at the graduate level. There are also programs at the graduate level to earn an Early Childhood General and Special Education (ZS) endorsement for those who already hold a Michigan Provisional or Professional Elementary Certificate or a K-12 Special Education Certificate.

Students may pursue initial teaching certification in Early Childhood Education by earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) at the Undergraduate level, or in the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) or Post-Bachelor Certification programs. Certified teachers already holding a Michigan Elementary Teaching Certificate may pursue an Early Childhood General and Special Education (ZS) Endorsement as a Post-Bachelor student or in a Master's of Education or Educational Specialist program.

The WSU Early Childhood Education Faculty is a diverse group dedicated to the education of young children and to the preparation of their teachers. The work of the faculty has been nationally recognized. Early childhood education students at Wayne State University have clinical experiences at one of the most respected laboratory schools in Michigan, the Wayne State University College of Education Early Childhood Center.

For more information about the WSU Early Childhood Education Program, log onto the Frequently Asked Questions page.