Skip to main content
campus morning

Education for Younger Children, Birth to Kindergarten, General and Special Education, B.A., B.S.

This program prepares professionals to teach and direct programs for developing children birth through kindergarten in general and special education settings.

Visit the program website for more information.

Students are admitted directly into this program.

Program Overview

The education for young children, birth to kindergarten, general and special education program emphasizes content specific to children within the birth-kindergarten continuum, whole child development, special education, family and community relationships, and content knowledge and pedagogy. It results in teacher certification from the Michigan Department of Education for children, birth to kindergarten, with and without disabilities or delays. Candidates will earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.

Why Study Birth-K Education at Grand Valley?

  • Students are prepared to teach across multiple settings like preschool classrooms, childcare centers, kindergarten classrooms, special education settings, Head Start programs, and early intervention home visiting programs.
  • General and special education curriculum reflects the skills, dispositions, and knowledge identified by our community partners as needed in the future for teachers.
  • A robust set of clinical experiences ensures candidates have ample opportunity to apply what they've learned in real-world settings.
  • Transfer agreements with local community colleges ensure students can easily transfer credits towards this program to assist with degree completion within four years.
  • Certification by Michigan Department of Education to teach.
  • Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
  • Flexibility within the 120-credit program on completing general education requirements.

Location & Format

Undergraduate students in this major study at the Grand Valley Allendale Campus and online.



Candidates for this program must have a minimum cumulative 2.7 GPA before the beginning of the junior year and beginning the first of 150 hours of clinical apprenticeship, with no grade lower than a C in education major prerequisites. Topics of study include:

  • Infant and toddler development
  • Working with students with disabilities and delays
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Integrated curriculum through play
  • Early children's literature
  • Observation and documentation
  • Child guidance
  • Philosophies of early childhood
  • Collaborating with families and professionals
  • Diverse perspectives on education

In addition, students will complete several field experiences with infant/toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and children with disabilities embedded throughout the program for a minimum of 600 hours, which is required for licensure.

Combined Degree Programs

Many GVSU undergraduate programs can be combined with an existing master’s degree program to save on tuition and get you into the workforce sooner. On average, you can save $8,500 by pursuing a combined degree and take up to four fewer courses than if earning the degrees separately.

Talk with an advisor about how you can build your combined degree from existing programs to further personalize your education and create your own niche area of expertise.

For More Information

College of Education and Community Innovation
Education for Young Children, Birth to Kindergarten, General and Special Education

CECI Undergraduate Advising Center
321C DeVos
(616) 331-6890

Admissions and Recruitment Office