The Elementary Education program prepares candidates to teach students in grades PreK-6. Drawn from research and theories in child development, teaching and learning, the course work and field experiences prepare teacher candidates to employ a cross-disciplinary approach to instruction that reflects an understanding of the diverse nature of learners and their families.
The JMU Elementary Education program seeks to foster in its candidates an empathic understanding of the ways that children are affected by social contexts and by the children's own abilities/disabilities; the knowledge and pedagogical skills to support each child's right to success; and belief in the value of each child. Our candidates are guided in:
- Critically challenging conventional wisdom and common practices to identify hidden assumptions and activities that constrain or privilege some at the expense of others.
- Learning to ask questions and developing an inquiring approach motivated by the desire to understand the world in its myriad complexities.
- Reflecting deeply on and constructing positive relationships with others.
- Expressing knowledge, skills and attitudes in ways that communicate with others and provide a forum for the creative and academic expression of the profession and the self.
- Developing an appreciation for the global connection of all humanity and our interdependence on the finite, natural resources of the earth.
- Experiencing life among people whose social contexts are unlike the candidates' own to broaden and deepen respect for and sensitivity to various cultures and social contexts.
- Knowing and appreciating the process of human unfolding throughout the cycles of life from conception onward, particularly throughout the period of childhood and preadolescence.
- Valuing the literacies and literate backgrounds of all learners to develop equitable, inclusive instruction that honors diverse learners at all developmental phases.
- Reflecting critically on the ways we embody and enact a sustainable sense of self.
- Building on interdisciplinary connections among content areas to create inclusive, responsive and effective instruction for all learners.
The courses in the Elementary Education program are organized to integrate academic content with pedagogical practice throughout the major. Field experiences are provided along with course work to enable candidates to apply their knowledge in a variety of settings. Candidates must be fully accepted into teacher education to begin the ELED course work in the third year.
Assessment occurs during each semester, and candidate performance is reviewed at the end of each semester. Candidates must demonstrate satisfactory performance before moving on to the next semester. Satisfactory performance includes a "C" or higher in all education course work and an overall 2.5 GPA, demonstration of professional behaviors and acceptable performance in practica and on key assessments.
Candidates in this program must meet with the head of the Department of Early, Elementary and Reading Education early during the first year or as soon thereafter as possible to obtain information concerning the requirements for admission to teacher education and to be assigned an adviser. Candidates should note that they must be fully admitted to teacher education prior to registering for the courses offered during Year Three of the Elementary Education program. Candidates should also note that actual requirements may differ from the catalog requirements listed because of changes enacted by the Virginia Department of Education or other accrediting agencies after the catalog copy is approved. Therefore, it is especially important for candidates to confer with their education advisers on a regular basis. Completion of the Elementary Education major leads to a Virginia teaching license with an endorsement in PK-6 Elementary Education. To be recommended for licensure, all candidates must meet the following requirements:
- Complete General Education requirements.
- Complete the elementary education pre-professional program.
- Complete the disciplinary courses required for the elementary education degree.
- Meet all admission and retention criteria for teacher education including satisfactory scores on the VCLA, Praxis Core Math, RVE and Praxis Elementary Multiple Subjects tests.
- Meet admission requirements for the Elementary Education program.
- Meet performance and behavior standards as indicated by ratings on the program Professional Dispositions Checklist.