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Earn a degree in Children and Families!

The Children and Families program is offered as a Bachelor degree (major), a minor, an associate degree, and a certificate, all in an effort to bulid a strong foundational framework for understanding child development birth through age eight, as well as family and community contexts that promote learning and development.

As a student in Madonna's Children and Families program, you'll be immersed in learning about the growth and development of young children with instructors who are dedicated your success. Theories of child development will come alive through experiences with children. You’ll learn to plan and assess environments, materials, activities, and interactions that can facilitate children’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical development.

With support from both your professors and university supervisors, you’ll grow confident in your teaching practice. Madonna’s Children and Families program affords you a wealth of opportunities to prepare for a variety of highly rewarding careers.  

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Student Success

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Briana Brown '18

"My name is Briana Brown and I graduated in 2018! I am currently a preschool teacher at New Saint Paul Head Start and I absolutely love my job and the difference I am able to make. I came to Madonna because I was looking for a way to merge my passion for children and sign language. The staff was encouraging throughout my time at the school and without them,  I wouldn't have made it through a double major. I am happy I chose Madonna and I would do it all over again!"

RELATED PROGRAMS

Early Childhood Education

Designed for those who want to teach young children in an elementary education setting, as coursework leads to Michigan teacher certification.

Learn More

Infant and Toddler Caregiver Certificate

With a focus on infants and toddlers birth through age three, this three-course (9 semester hour) certificate will give you a well-rounded understanding of how best to support the growth and development of our youngest learners.

Plan of Study

Faculty Bios

Sue Ann Sharma

Chair of Graduate Education

Professor

B.S. University of Michigan – Flint 

M.S. Oakland University 

Ed.S. Oakland University 

Ph.D. Oakland University 

sasharma@madonna.edu

734-432-5785, 2230G

Sue Ann Sharma

Dr. Sue Ann Sharma is Professor and Chair of Graduate Education at Madonna University. With extensive experience in education, including having served as a curriculum director, literacy coach, and elementary teacher. In addition to her academic leadership, Dr. Sharma is the Director of the Early Childhood Education and Graduate Literacy programs within the College of Education.

Passionate about educational excellence, Dr. Sharma is dedicated to preparing teachers to address the diverse needs of learners. Her commitment extends to developing instructional literacy leaders, contributing to the future of education. As an advocate for literacy, she has actively served on the International Reading Association's Literacy Reform Task Force and holds the position of Past President at the Michigan Reading Association.

Sharma's academic pursuits focus on early childhood education, culturally responsive pedagogies, digital curation, and online teaching and learning. Through her research, she aims to advance knowledge in these critical areas, contributing to the ongoing evolution of effective educational practices. A respected figure in academia, Dr. Sue Ann Sharma continues to inspire and shape the educational landscape, leaving an indelible mark through her leadership, research, and commitment to fostering excellence in teaching and learning.

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Tess KellyAdjunct Professor

B.S. State University of New York at Cortland 

M.S. Central Michigan University 

tkelly@madonna.edu

732-432-5654, 2230B 

Tess Kelly

Tess Kelly is the former Placement Coordinator for the College of Education at Madonna University.  She has also served as an adjunct faculty in the Teacher Education, Early Childhood, and Children and Families programs.

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Les SharonAssistant Professor

B.S. Northern Michigan University 

M.A. Eastern Michigan University  

Ed. S. Wayne State University 

Ph.D. Eastern Michigan University

lsharon@madonna.edu

734-432-5334, Room 2230F

Les Sharon

Les Sharon is the Director of the Masters of Science in Transformational Educational Leadership and the Director of Student Teaching. His professional background includes thirty-three years in K-12 education as a special education teacher, general education teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and building principal. His work focuses on the formal preparation of future educational leaders that will someday transform struggling schools into effective, high-achieving learning communities that meet the needs of all students. He received his Ph.D in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University and holds endorsements in elementary and secondary administration, general education (K-8 all-subjects), and special education including cognitively impaired and learning disabilities.

Dr. Sharon’s research interests include examining the role status functions play in school organizations as they relate to curriculum enactment as well as role of language in effective school leadership. He works closely with the Beijing Comparative Educational Institute and with colleagues at the Xi’an University to provide educational opportunities for school leaders and teachers all over China. Dr. Sharon served as an adjunct professor before joining Madonna University full-time as an assistant professor.

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Anne-Marie Sladewski

Assistant Professor

B.S. Central Michigan University

M.A. St. Joseph University

Ed.S. Oakland University

Ed.D. Michigan University

asladewski@madonna.edu

734-432-5651, 2230H

Anne-Marie Sladewski

Anne-Marie Sladewski is the Director of the ASD, LD, EdS, and EdD programs and is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education. She joined the full-time faculty of Madonna University in 2023. She received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Michigan State University. Experienced professor and school-based and central office administrator with a demonstrated history of success and leadership in higher education. Her research interest includes collective responsibility of educational partnerships and improved learner outcomes.

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Karen Obsniuk

Dean, College of Education and Human Development
Professor

B.S. Wayne State University

M.A. Wayne State University

Ph.D. Wayne State University

kobsniuk@madonna.edu

734-432-5648, 2230D

Karen Obsniuk

Karen L. Obsniuk, Ph.D., is the Dean of the College of Education. She joined the faculty of Madonna University in 1996. Previously, she was an adjunct faculty, while working in K-12 schools as a teacher and school administrator. She completed her doctoral degree in Administration and Supervision, with a cognate in curriculum, and her M.A. in English Literature, at Wayne State University. She teaches in the areas of educational practice and action research.

Her interests include educational change, K-12 student behavior, literacy intervention with at-risk students, and quality of work life issues for teachers. Her research has been mixed methods research primarily with pre-service and in-service teachers, school administrators, and EL learners. She is actively engaged in the field of education through her work at the State and local levels, serving on State committees and a local board. 

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Anne DonatoAdjunct Professor

B.A. University of Michigan - Dearborn 

M.Ed. University of Michigan - Dearborn 

Ph.D. Oakland University 

adonato@madonna.edu

Anne Donato

Dr. Anne Donato holds a doctorate in Early Childhood Education, with a primary emphasis on differentiated instruction. Her passion lies in literacy efforts that provide inclusion of all students into the world of reading.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Donato has taught, lobbied, consulted, and advocated for early childhood education for over 25 years, in both the private and public sectors, including NAEYC and at the international level.

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