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Eastern Michigan University Faculty

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Dr. Christina Mirtes, Assistant Professor


"I have always been interested in working with young children and families. Teaching is my passion, and I have been so fortunate that teaching doesn't even seem like work to me."

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction – The University of Toledo
  • M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education – The University of Toledo
  • B.Ed. in Elementary & Early Childhood Education – The University of Toledo

Career Highlights:

  • Serves on various Michigan Department of Education ECE committees, including:
    • Early Childhood Endorsement Review and Revision Committee as cochair and lead researcher for MDE Teacher Certification
    • Curriculum Review Committee for the Great Start Readiness program
  • Research interests in the areas of:
    • Early literacy and contemporary play behaviors during the formative years with particular focus on discourse and best practice with the use of technology among preschool children

In which online degree program do you teach?

M.A. in Early Childhood Education

  • Selected Scholarly Work and Awards:

    • Summer Research Award, 2019
    • President James H. Brickley Award for "Concepts to Go!: Extending Early Literacy Practice to the Home," 2018
    • Faculty mentor for EMU's Symposium Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program, 2017-19
    • Faculty research grant to conduct research in the area of contemporary play behaviors in early childhood education
    • Women in Philanthropy Grant at EMU funded the purchase of nearly 100 early literacy prop bags, 2017
    • E-Fellows Grant Award to purchase 10 iPads® and accessories to support student research and learning, 2017
  • Selected Publications:

    • Are Playdates Necessary? Child Development Expert Weighs In. (2018, January 17). Metro Parent for Southeast Michigan.
    • Mirtes, C. M. (2017, October 1). Understanding Assistive Technology in Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education Environments. Michigan Division of Early Childhood, 1, 2.
    • Mirtes, C. M. (2014, December 14). Contemporary Play: An Analysis of Preschool Discourse During Play Situations While Engaged Using Technology and While Using Traditional Play Materials. Retrieved from
  • Selected Presentations:

    • International Presentations:
      1. Mirtes, C. M. (2017, April). Contemporary Play in Early Childhood: Revisiting Best Practice While Using Technology Among Preschoolers. Presentation at the HighScope International Conference, Detroit, MI.
      2. Mirtes, C. M. (2016, April). Contemporary Play: Preschool Language During Play with Technology and Implications for Best Practice. Presentation at the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) Global Summit on Childhood themed "Creating a Better World for Children and Youth Through Sustainability, Social Innovation & Synergy." San Jose, Costa Rica.
    • National Presentations:
      1. Mirtes, C. M. (2017, November). Intentionality: Maintaining Best Practice While Incorporating Technology in Play-based Preschool Environments. Presentation at (NAEYC) National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference, Atlanta, GA.
      2. Mirtes, C. M. (2015, June). Contemporary Play Behaviors: An Analysis of Preschool Discourse Among Preschool Children During Play Situations While Using Technology and While Using Traditional Play Materials – Informing Practice with Implications for Early Childhood Education Professionals. NAEYC National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development, New Orleans, LA.
  • Links to share?

  • Which classes do you teach online?

    • ECE 651: Inclusive Practices
    • ECE 610: Supporting Children and Families in Diverse Communities
    • ECE 689: Colloquium and Internship
  • What do students learn in your classes? What is the expected outcome?

    [In] all courses, students will explore theory as it relates to practice, respectively. Learning outcomes prepare students to apply learned knowledge and successfully pass the ZS endorsement test.

  • Why did you start teaching?

    This is simple! I have always been interested in working with young children and families. Teaching is my passion, and I have been so fortunate that teaching doesn't even seem like work to me.

  • What advice would you give to those considering this online degree program?

    Eastern Michigan University has a rich history in education and is a nationally recognized leader. I am continually impressed with the colleagues I work with, as all of our faculty who teach in this program are experts in the field of early childhood and leaders in the State of Michigan. Coupled with terminal degrees in the field, we all have classroom teaching experience to draw from. This results in an amazing combination of personal resources from which you will be able to draw from as you move along in our program. Lastly, I encourage you to check out what our alumni have to say.

  • What qualities make someone particularly successful in early childhood education?

    • Child-centered and family-centered
    • Believes relationships are integral
    • Has a whole child philosophy
    • Sees development of children as a continuum
    • Sees education as an inclusive process
    • Understands that each child develops and learns at an individual pace
    • Values multicultural and diverse perspectives
    • Sees his or herself a facilitator of development and learning
    • Values assessment as an authentic, ongoing way to scaffold each child and plan for future experiences
    • Recognizes the importance of birth through age 5 as the most critical time frame for brain development
    • Has an awareness of self (e.g., professionalism, attitude, appearance, behaviors)
    • Values ongoing professional development and learning
    • Compassionate, responsive, nurturing
    • Reflective, organized and playful
    • Understands intentionality
    • Good communicator
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge that people in the profession face today?

    Early childhood educators today are frequently faced with influences which often create pressure to hurry the child. As an example, trends of top-down, high-stakes testing now begin in kindergarten. Whereas best practice informs us that kindergarten environments should nurture the whole child and be rich with opportunities for development in all domains (language, cognitive, social, emotional and physical) within play-based contexts. To best face trends and current issues in the profession, early childhood professionals need to be armed with current research rooted in theory to inform decision-making and practice.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

    "The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon" by David Elkind

  • Tell us something that your students might find interesting, something they may not know about you.

    I have a pre-primary Montessori teaching credential and K-8 teacher certification with 20 years of teaching experience in PK-3rd grade classrooms.

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