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Course Sequence

This 58-credit program is designed for college graduates whose undergraduate major was not education and who are seeking an Instructional I certificate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The program of study leads to a Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and meets the requirements for initial certification to teach pre-Kindergarten through grade six in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prerequisite: a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Each students' transcript will be reviewed against the Pennsylvania Department of Education's standards. Persons who apply for initial certification (Instructional I) after June 1987 must complete the Praxis examinations as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Initial Certification:  Academic Background: These programs assume:

1. A minimum overall 3.00 grade point average or 3.00 GPA on the most recent 48 credits

2. At least 6 credits in college level mathematics

3. At least 3 credits college level English composition and at least 3 credits college level English literature

4. Passing the Praxis initial exams *taken before the end of the entrance track

  • PPST Reading
  • PPST Writing
  • PPST Math
  • Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge

5. Act 33 Child Abuse, Act 34, Criminal History and FBI clearances

Course/Program Sequence for students beginning in Fall 2011 or later (link)

Entrance Track: 13 credits

GECE 520 Introduction to Teaching 3 credits
GECE 541 Field Experience 0 credits
GECE 570 Orientation to Leading Teacher Program 0 credits
PRAXIS 1- PSST (no credit)
Educational Psychology (choose one)
GPSY 514 Human Growth and Development 3 credits
GPSY 619 Child and Adolescent Development 3 credits
Educational Diversity (choose one)
GESL 501 Helping English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes 3 credits
Introduction to Early Childhood (field experience/observation required)
GECE 500 Theory, Research and Practice in Early Childhood 3 credits
Gateway I
GECE 569 Gateway I: Technology 1 credit

Professional Certification Track: 39 credits

*the Early Childhood courses are field experience intensive

Early Childhood Concentration
GECE 510 Literacy and Language Development
GECE 502 Curriculum Design for Inclusive Early Childhood Education
GECE 504 Family, School and Community Interaction
GREV 525 Research Literacy OR GECE 631 Instructional Techniques
Special Education Concentration
GSPE 503 Social Justice and Empowerment
GSPE 603 Response to Intervention
GSPE 654 Early Intervention and Child Development
Content Specific Courses
GELP 551 The Healthy Child: Creative Expression and Movement
GELP 552 Teaching Elementary School Social Studies
GELP 554 Teaching Elementary School Mathematics
GELP 555 Teaching Elementary School Science
GELP 556 Teaching Elementary Language Arts
Choose one:
GRLA 524 Psychology of Reading
GRLA 521 Reading Programs and Instruction
GRLA 625 Reading Disabilities
Gateway II
GECE 571 Gateway II: Diversity
GECE 574 Early Childhood Professional Development Seminar I

Student Teaching Track

*Dual certification - student teaching in early childhood and elementary education classrooms is required

GECE 590-01 Early Childhood Internship 0-6 credits
GELP 562-01 Elementary School Internship 0-6 credits
GECE 591-01 Student Teaching ECE 3-6 credits
GELP 561-01 Elementary Student Teaching 3-6 credits
GECE 690-01 Practicum Early Childhood 3-6 credits
GINT 694-91 Student Teachinig Italy 3 credits
GINT 691-91 Student Teaching Ireland 3 credits
Gateway III
GECE 572 Gateway III - Leadership
GECE 575 Professional Development Seminar II 0 credits


58 credits



Graduate Course Descriptions in Early Childhood/Elementary Education

GECE 500. Theory and Practice in Early Childhood Education
This course considers developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood care and education. It includes early care and education perpectives at several different levels, since early childhood covers the age range from newborn through age 8. Standards, criteria, and guidelines developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children are examined.

GECE 502. Curriculum Design for Inclusive Early Childhood Education
This course examines how curriculum must be adapted to meet the diverse and changing needs of children and their families. It addresses how teachers can create and maintain environments that are accessible both physically and developmentally to children with special needs. Students will examine activities, materials, equipment and toys to determine their age- and individual-appropriateness.

GECE 504. Family, School, and Community Interaction
Students examine the importance of teachers encouraging and developing home-school relationships and identifying and utilizing community resources. The course will provide strategies for effective parent-teacher communication, for increasing parent involvement, and for educating parents.

GECE 505. Aesthetic Experiences for Young Children
Artistic expression is basic to an individual's intellectual, aesthetic, and emotional development. This course examines activities that foster creativity and expressiveness, explores the Reggio Emilia philosophy of art as the major focus of the school experience, and offers strategies for sharing the arts of other cultures with children.

GECE 509. Independent Study
For students in any program who wish to develop a project or investigate a problem through supervised research. Enrollment is required in appropriate area with consent of a full-time member of the faculty and approval by the Dean.

GECE 510. Literacy and Language Development, Birth through 8
Early childhood, from birth to age 8, is the most important period for literacy development. Major emphasis is on the developmental nature of becoming literate, the concept of emergent literacy, the importance of quality reading and language arts experiences, and the vital relationship between reading and writing.

GECE 520. Introduction to Teaching
This course will help the student conceptualize the teacher as decision-maker--one who makes planning, implementing, evaluation and management decisions as part of the instructional role.

GECE 590. Internship: Early Childhood Classroom
The student teaching experience involves the prospective teacher in a nursery school (N) setting for 8 weeks and in a primary classroom for 8 weeks. During this capstone experience, the student teacher assumes teaching responsibilities, applies theory to practice, and develops a personal teaching style under the supervision of the cooperating teacher and university supervisor.

GECE 595. Field Experience
At the initial advisement session, all Early Childhood-Initial Certification students receive a packet of information which details required observation experiences, Field Based Orientation Experiences. These activities are to be completed during the student's first twelve credits. All documentation is submitted to the program coordinator when completed.

The preparation of Early Childhood certified teachers overlaps with the certification program of Elementary Education. The following courses are offered through other department programs in education.

GECE 523. Teaching the Language Arts.
This course explores the development and acquisition of language; contemporary approaches to the teaching of language arts with emphasis on richness in content and activities to meet the needs of a broad range of linguistically different children.

GECE 525. Teaching Elementary Social Studies
This course explores the structure of the social studies curriculum, goals and objectives, basic and advanced instructional techniques and special content areas, e.g. multicultural, geography, and affective outcomes.

GECE 527. Teaching Elementary School Mathematics
A study of the concepts and skills related to operations of whole numbers, decimals/common fractions with a problem-solving focus, issues in problem-solving geometry, and measurement.

GECE 528. Teaching Elementary Science
This is laboratory-oriented science education, using a variety of programs, units, and lessons designed to facilitate development of scientific thinking in children. Various science programs will be studied and students will work with program materials. Focus will be on teacher and learner competencies in the planning, implementation and evaluation of an adaptive science-learning environment.

GECE 646. Multicultural and International Literature for Children and Young Adults
Interdisciplinary thematic concepts, books and strategies for the K-12 literature-based curriculum. Emphasis is on the cultural diversity within the United States and global education imperatives addressed in literature of various genres published here and around the world. Includes materials useful for the teaching of English as a second language.

GECE 803. Teaching Science with Toys
This course provides a unique opportunity to enhance teachers' knowledge of science teaching and learning and science content through innovative hands-on chemistry and physics activities. Toys are integral media to this course. Previous background in chemistry or physics is not required for participation.

GRLA 521. Reading Programs and Instruction
Provides an overview of reading programs. Topics include: the reading-learning process; emergent literacy; individual differences; developmental reading programs, materials and procedures; classroom management; children with special needs; grouping; adult readers; reading in the content areas; role of parents; and the administration of the reading program.

GFDE 507. History of American Education
An inquiry into and study of the history of American Education.

GFDE 508. Historical, Philosophical, and Sociological Foundations of Education
The course addresses fundamental contemporary educational issues from an historical perspective. The interaction of philosophical theories and societal dynamics in the development of American education will be explored.

GPSY 514. Human Growth and Development
Survey of growth, adaptation and developmental patterns in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood with implications for academic, emotional and social learning.

GPSY 619. Child and Adolescent Development
This is an exploration of child development from conception through adolescence, surveying growth, adaptation, and developmental patterns in infancy, childhood, and adolescence with implications for academic, emotional, and social learning. Organized in a topical manner, the course includes basic concepts and theories of child development, applied directions of child development, research strategies, biological foundations of development, prenatal development, physical growth, cognitive and language development, personality and social development, and how social context affects development. An additional focus is the application of students' knowledge of child development in solving problems they may encounter in schools.

GECE Entrance Track and Gateway 1 (pdf)

GELP Student Teaching Track and Gateway 3 (pdf)