Elementary Education

What is elementary education?

The elementary education curriculum at Shippensburg is a four-year program, requiring at least 120 credit hours leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education. Successful completion of this course of study qualifies the graduate for a variety of professional employment possibilities. The basic program qualifies the student to apply for an elementary teacher certificate, making the graduate eligible for employment at any level, i.e., kindergarten through sixth grade (K-6). All certified elementary education teachers, due to their preparation in reading, are qualified to teach developmental reading at any grade level K-12. Those students choosing the early childhood minor and certification receive certification which prepares students to be teachers for preschool through third grade. A certification to teach environmental education courses (K-12) is given to those students completing the environmental education concentration. Some certification concentrations may require more than 120 credit hours.

What is the curriculum at Shippensburg University?

Students in the elementary education program experience a standards-based curriculum that provides them with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to become reflective educators. Underlying all of their course work is a common theme that centers upon applying research, best practice, the integration of technology and ongoing assessment to make informed decisions about the ways to best meet the individualized needs of their students. Effective communication skills, the ability to collaborate with others, active learning, a respect for diversity and professionalism are the hallmarks of their classwork and field experiences.

The elementary education curriculum is fourfold:

1. General education requirements, including courses in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences;

2. Professional elementary education courses which include basic courses such as Mathematics in the Elementary School, Elements of Instruction, Language and Reading in the Elementary School, Child Development, etc.;

3. An elected minor or area of concentration for in-depth study; and

4. Clinical field experiences which include observation and participation in teaching in a variety of elementary school settings.

What is an area of concentration?

The elementary education major requires a minimum of 123 credit hours. Each student is required to elect a concentration or minor in an academic field which requires at least 15 credit hours.

A minor is selected from university-recognized minors which have direct applicability to elementary education. They include: anthropology, art, coaching, communication/journalism, criminal justice, early childhood education, economics, English (literature or writing emphasis), ethnic studies, geography/earth science, history, international studies, modern languages (French, German, Spanish), music literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, public administration, reading, speech, theater, and women’s studies.

A concentration is an in-depth area of study jointly identified by the issuing department and the teacher education department. Selection can be made from the following: biology, chemistry, and mathematics.

What is clinical field experience?

In addition to the regular coursework, our students have substantial field experience. They are required to complete at least 60 hours of clinical field experience, 30 of which are course related and 30 are self-initiated. The self-initiated experience includes actual classroom contact at Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School and other public schools as well as less formal situations in which our students have leadership responsibility for children and use educational strategies and techniques, such as church classes, tutoring, children’s camp or playground, and coaching. Field experiences must include urban, suburban, and rural settings.

For two semesters in the junior and senior years, our elementary education students undergo intense clinical field experience. The professional semester is a prerequisite and preparation for student teaching. It includes a block of in-depth courses along with a clinical field experience.

Student teaching occurs for one semester during the senior year. It involves a 16-week assignment at elementary grade levels in schools in southcentral Pennsylvania.

How is Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School used?

Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School is an alternative elementary school operated on the SU campus through cooperation between the university and the Shippensburg Area School District. It includes kindergarten through fifth grade and is taught by Shippensburg University College of Education faculty and Shippensburg Area School District teachers. The curriculum is designed to reflect sound developmental and educational practices to meet the unique needs of the children and families served. Demonstration lessons are regularly taught which focus on the application and implementation of current research-based educational techniques. Our students have frequent opportunities to observe and to participate in the teaching process at Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School.