Children at the Early Childhood Development Center

Students at the University of Michigan-Flint pursuing any major would benefit from adding a minor in early childhood studies to their academic record, beginning their careers better equipped to manage the diverse needs of families with young children.

The seven-course, 21-credit minor offers students in-depth, research-based instruction about early childhood growth and development, learning through play and discovery, and how to work effectively with families, children, and communities.

Numerous occupations are vitally important to the well-being of young children, influencing them through the avenues of medical care, education, policy creation, and community resources.

“It makes a big difference when a society is knowledgeable about issues that affect families with young children,” said Aviva Dorfman, UM-Flint associate professor of education.

People seeking careers in management, business, school administration, law, communications, psychology, nursing, and other fields will find value in having a minor in early childhood studies as they interact with families with young children in Flint who have been impacted by lead in the water system, as well as those who live outside of the area and have other needs.

“We want to know more as a society about early childhood education and how it works so we can make better policy decisions,” Prof. Dorfman explained. “We also need to understand child development, the needs of families with young children, and also the stresses on families that affect their lives.”

Offered through the education department, the UM-Flint early childhood studies minor is designed to complement any major, in addition to attracting elementary education majors who decide not to pursue the early childhood specialist endorsement. It is a smart choice for anyone hoping to use their career to make a positive impact on young children in their community.

Early Childhood Studies Minor

Education Department information  

The Minor in Early Childhood Studies provides a basic introduction to early childhood studies and working with young children and families of young children.  The minor is designed both for students with majors outside Elementary Education and those with an Elementary Education major who are not pursuing the Early Childhood Specialist Endorsement (ZS), yet have an interest in early childhood education.


 Twenty-one credits as follows, with a grade point average of 2.7 (B-) or better.

A. Core Courses (15 credits)

  • ECE 100 - Foundations of Early Childhood Education (3).
  • ECE 200 - Child Development and Learning (3)
  • ECE 225 - Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education (3).
  • ECE 235 - Working with Families, Children and Community (3).
  • ECE 467 - Supervised Fieldwork in Early Childhood for Early Childhood Studies Minors (1-3).

B. Electives (6 credits)

Two from:

  • ECE 120 - Music in Early Childhood (3)
  • ECE 233 - Infant/Toddler Learning Environments (3).
  • ECE 240 - Child Guidance and Classroom Management (3).
  • ECE 343 - Emergent Literacy (3).
  • ECE 420 - Young Children with Special Needs (4).
  • ECE 449 - Administration, Organization and Operation of Early Childhood Programs (3).
  • ECE 480 - Independent Study in Early Childhood Education (1-3).
  • ECE 485 - Special Topics in Early Childhood Education (1-6).
  • ART 101 - Art Education-Elementary (3).
  • DAN 301 - The Art of Teaching Dance (3).
  • EDE 340 - Creative Learning Experiences (3).

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ZS vs. Minor

Interested in either the ZS or the Early Childhood Studies Minor but not sure which one to take? This chart helps you to compare the two programs and figure out which one is best for you.

Specialization in Early Childhood (ZS) Early Childhood Studies Minor
Students pursuing teacher certification For anyone interested in young children and families (not for certification)
Elementary Education major Any UM-Flint major
ZS Endorsement Program (MTTC test req.) No endorsement
31 credit hours 21 credit hours
No electives; all required courses 18 required, 6 credit hours of electives