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Early Childhood

Early childhood education is provided in the CNH district through our elementary schools as well as many free-standing early childhood programs. Our district provides early childhood education at 36 free-standing centers and 14 centers associated with a Lutheran Elementary School.


Free standing early childhood programs are those formal programs not associated with a Lutheran elementary school.  To assist these programs and their directors and teachers the California Nevada Hawaii District offers the services of the Education Executive as well as an Early Childhood Consultant.


Our EC consultant, Tania Kennedy, is an experienced early childhood educator who is ready to share her expertise with directors and staff of any early childhood program. Tania is available to answer questions about curriculum, staffing, budgeting, accreditation, parenting classes, etc. She is also available to consult with congregations regarding start-up of a preschool or problem solving for existing early childhood programs. Tania is happy to make visits to early childhood programs throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii. Please contact her if there’s anything she can provide to assist in your ministry to parents, teachers, and young children.


Tania Kennedy

Shepherd of the Valley Preschool, San Jose, California


The CNH District supports and follows the purpose, vision, beliefs, and values  of the LCMS Early Childhood School Ministry Department.


Early Childhood School Ministry serves as an advocate to affirm, equip and empower leaders of Christ-centered early childhood ministries to impact the lives of children and their families with the love of Jesus and His grace.



All children experience God’s grace and are nurtured in the faith by experiencing:

  • Baptism

  • Christ-centered environments

  • Hope-filled ministries

  • Involved congregations and faith communities

  • Leaders united in purpose

  • Dedicated advocates for children and families



We believe:

  • Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and God sends His people to bear witness to this truth in order to make disciples- Christ alone.

  • God-Father-Son and Holy Spirit- has created, redeemed and sanctifies His people for service to Him and all people- Grace alone.

  • God gathers people in faith communities around baptism, His Word and His table- Faith alone.

  • Scripture is the sole norm for the church’s life and work. Scripture alone.



  • Collaboration- We value God’s gifts of people, partnerships, and collaborative efforts to intentionally accomplish God’s  Mission.

  • Outreach- We value a congregational culture that encourages all to share the Good News.

  • Spiritual Growth- We value the privilege of prayer that invites and enables us to boldly and confidently ask God for all things and value continuous learning in God’s Word leading to faith maturity.

  • Excellence- All children and families experience a high quality, Christ-centered Early Childhood program.


Making Jesus Real


This course serves as a modified version of the Early Childhood Curriculum for Lutheran Teachers which grew out of needs expressed by congregations of the Pacific Southwest District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to inform and acculturate early childhood teachers with answers to the following questions: What is a Lutheran school, specifically, early childhood center? How are Lutheran schools unique? What do Lutherans believe? What is the heritage of the Lutheran schools? What are the characteristics of the Lutheran teacher?  With the goal of training and equipping early childhood educators for careers in Lutheran early childhood centers this course will focus on the following critical areas:  1) Lutheran thought and teaching (theology); 2) Nurturing the faith (faith development); 3) A distinctively Lutheran education (history of Lutheran education); 4) Methods and materials for teaching the faith to the young child.  We pray that our new version will accomplish these goals in a way that is accessible, attractive, affordable, applicable and authentic. 

Administrators, if you would like to lead your staff through the full series of sessions as a day long staff retreat we have created this guide to help you plan out that day.  We do pray this is a useful tool! 

Spiritual Nurture in the Lutheran Early Childhood Classroom

The Lutheran Education Association (LEA) has created a video series entitled "Spiritual Nurture in the Early Childhood Classroom". This series was developed for early childhood educators and provides practical strategies to promote the integration of the Christian Faith into classroom environments, curricular experiences, and school families' homes. This is another great way to help orient and train EC educators on the ministry of the preschool and what it means to teach in a Lutheran school.

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