We’re building stronger communities by making a positive impact on the lives of families. Families come in all shapes and sizes, but whatever their form, they’re one of the most basic building blocks of our communities.

This bachelor’s degree empowers you to become a strong, skilled advocate for children and families, by developing both a deep understanding of child development and the challenges children and families face within today’s diverse socio-economic and cultural contexts.

After you complete your studies, you can put your passion and expertise to use in a variety of settings. Our graduates work as educators in Head Start and childcare centers, serve as teachers or administrators in programs designed for young children, and help power agencies that advocate for young people and families.

What will I Learn?

  • Knowledge and understanding of child development—physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially and aesthetically
  • Knowledge and understanding of children and families in socio-economic and cultural contexts
  • Knowledge and skills to understand the principles of an effective early childhood classroom
  • Opportunities to achieve competence in early childhood education as a profession

View the full list of program goals on the Hub for Teaching and Learning site.

Visit the University Catalog to learn more about required coursework for the Children and Families major.

Degree Requirements

To complete the program, students must have a 2.5 GPA overall, 2.5 in Child Studies (Area I), 2.5 in Behavioral Studies (Area II), and at least a 2.0 in the Elective area (Area III).

A total of 120 credit hours are required to graduate.

Philosophy of UM-Dearborn Early Childhood Programs

The early childhood programs are guided by the philosophy, objectives and standards promulgated by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as well as those positions taken by the National Association of Early Childhood Educators (NAECTE) and the Standards of Quality for PreKindergarten through Second Grades and other State Department of Education guidelines.

The basic approach of the curriculum design for the ECE program is based on the view, consistent with NAEYC and the State Department of Education, that programs for young children must be developmentally appropriate taking into account the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children while respecting the needs of families with diverse sociocultural backgrounds.

The ECE program is designed to provide graduates with a strong background in child development, family and societal studies, and the pedagogical knowledge and skills, which will enable them to plan and implement a developmentally appropriate curriculum, that is consistent with the most current thinking in early childhood education.

An essential component of the ECE program is field experience at the UM-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC), the NAEYC accredited on campus education and childcare center for children ages one year through kindergarten. The UM-Dearborn teacher education program and the ECEC share the same philosophy and goals, that is, the preparation of high quality teachers and high quality educational experiences for young children.

Both programs share a constructivist education philosophy based on the legacy of Piaget, Dewey and Vygotsky. This constructivist philosophy of the ECE program is consistent with CEHHS' “Teaching for Understanding” model. In addition, the ECEC and the teacher preparation program are nationally recognized for implementing the principles of the Reggio Emilia program, an innovative approach to the education of young children.

Making the Most of Your Major

There are opportunities to develop skills and connect with others interested in children and families beyond the classroom. Check out the Children and Families Major Map to get a more detailed, year-by-year of how you can learn, engage, network and transform your community and prepare for life after graduation.

Get Involved

Join the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as a student member.

Volunteer at Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

Get Real World Experience

Request a field experience with high-needs students outside of your own community.

Volunteer with Michigan Alliance for Families.

Plan for Life After Graduation

Explore career options in your field to learn about requirements and expectations.

Visit Career Services for advice with job searching and interviewing, resumes, and graduate school applications.

General Program Information

Department Contact Information

CEHHS Office for Student Success
262 Fairlane Center South (FCS)
313-583-5090

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