Special Education and Early Childhood Education

Students who complete Shippensburg University's Early Childhood PreK-4/Special Education K-8 dual degree program are qualified to apply for two certifications. The PreK-4 teaching certificate allows candidates to teach PreK-4th grade. The special education certificate allows candidates to teach K-8 special education. Students learn to work with typical learners as well as those with intellectual, learning and speech communication disabilities, autism or emotional/behavioral disorders.

Why Study Early Childhood/Special Education at Ship?

Our faculty members are highly sensitive to the impact of cultural diversity on the growth and development of children. While these factors are important in the development of curriculum in any educational program, they are especially critical in planning for students with disabilities. Our students are well prepared to take the education content tests necessary for teacher certification. Information about these required tests and registration can be found online.

All dual degree majors must complete a total of 135 credit hours to complete the program (nine semesters). All PreK-4 students take part in over 250 hours of clinical field experiences in local district classroom settings prior to the student teaching semester. Students enrolled in the dual degree have additional field hours that are course related and specific to special education settings. Field hours provide increased experience with children in an educational setting. Responsibilities include providing instruction using educational strategies and techniques, taking on leadership roles within the school environment and working with dedicated professionals in the field. Student teaching is the culminating field experience and occurs for one full semester during the senior year (one half of the semester is spent in a PreK-4 inclusive classroom and one half in a K-8 special education setting). Ship’s faculty is dedicated to designing and teaching a demanding, relevant, philosophical and clinical curriculum. The Early Childhood/Elementary Education and Special Education programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation and meet high national standards of excellence.

Ship boasts a student-faculty ratio of 20:1, giving students the opportunity to build supportive, collaborative relationships with their professors.

The Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School on campus provide a unique opportunity to observe and participate in elementary school activities and classroom teaching experiences with children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Shippensburg University College of Education and Human Services faculty and Shippensburg Area School District teachers teach the lab school classrooms. The curriculum reflects the best developmental and educational practices. Lessons demonstrate how to apply the most current educational techniques.

The Bartos Child and Family Center, located adjacent to the lab school, provides additional opportunities to observe and work with children in ages one through five. The center also has an after school program and hosts a variety of camps throughout the summer. This center provides another window into observing quality early learning.

The Head Start program is located in the Cora Grove Spiritual Center, also on campus. This program offers more opportunities for observations as well as working with children under the supervision of Head Start teachers and staff trained in meeting the needs of their students as well as federal program guidelines.

Various area school districts and agencies provide site based field hours for students enrolled in the dual certification major.

All undergraduate majors are required to complete the university’s general education program.

The undergraduate catalog details specific course requirements.

Student Groups

Beyond the classroom, our faculty encourage students in writing for publication, engaging in student-faculty research, attending and presenting at conferences as well as involving students in different educational clubs and organizations. Education majors have several groups they can participate in to network in the education community and begin to build a resume. Below are just some examples:

  • Shippensburg University CAEYC helps future educators develop an understanding and appreciation for the education profession.
  • KSRA – Keystone State Reading Association helps promote literacy in local schools.
  • Bridge for Kids is a non-profit organization allowing education majors to tutor local school children, work with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at the lab school and participate in fund raising for various important causes.
  • Kappa Delta Pi is a national honorary organization for elementary and secondary education majors, which provides a balanced liberal arts foundation.
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) open to students enrolled in elementary or secondary education programs who have an interest in the education of children with special needs.
  • People Involved Equally (PIE) offers social opportunities, peer support, and assistance to and with area adults with developmental disabilities.

Contact the Teacher Education Department

214 Shippen Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257