Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education - 2015 University Catalog

Chairperson: Dr. Tina Jacobowitz


The Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education department is committed to preparing critical professionals who can improve the lives of children, youth, and adults by implementing effective care, education, and literacy programs. In order to meet this challenge, our students build a strong knowledge base through inquiry and action research, develop skills and dispositions as reflective and caring practitioners, support and enhance systems that demonstrably include and respect all children, youth, adults, and their families; and provide professional leadership on local, state, and national levels. The department's work reflects our commitment to the "Portrait of a Teacher" (visit the Teacher Education Program Web site), social justice, and diversity.

The department's programs emphasize the following:

  • a common, clear vision of good teaching that is apparent in all course work and clinical experiences, and aligned to well-defined standards of practice and performance;
  • strong relationships, common knowledge, and shared beliefs among school/community-based and university faculty who work together to provide substantial clinical experiences using a cohort model;
  • learning and teaching as social processes with political implications;
  • emphasis on social justice and the principles of democracy to ensure the optimal achievement of all students;
  • teaching and learning as a life long process; and
  • courses developed and scheduled to meet the unique needs of adult learners.

Early Childhood and Elementary Programs

Faculty share a strong commitment to improve the care and education of all children, build a strong knowledge base through inquiry, prepare effective practitioners, advocate for systems that include and respect all children and their families, and provide professional leadership at local, state and national levels. Within a framework of national teaching standards and developmentally appropriate practice, our students gain the knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary to become productive and reflective practitioners in increasingly diverse and inclusive schools.

Students may choose to pursue an early childhood teacher certificate (P-3 preschool through third grade), or an elementary teacher certificate (K-6) kindergarten through sixth grade) on either the graduate or undergraduate level. Undergraduate students selecting early childhood teacher certification (P-3) major in Family and Child Studies: School Settings concentration. Undergraduate students selecting elementary (K-6) teacher certification can choose one of the following majors: Anthropology, English, General Humanities, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Spanish, Family & Child Studies; Families, Children, & School Settings, Women and Gender Studies, and as of Fall 2015, Mathematics.  Graduate level students are eligible for initial certification with or without a Masters degree.

Our department also offers innovative coursework and graduate programs in inclusive/special education.  We offer a dual certification MAT for students who have a baccalaureate degree and wish to attain a Masters degree, initial certification and TSD certification (Teacher of Students with Disabilities –P-12) simultaneously.  We also have programs for individuals with initial certification in P-3 or K-6 who wish to obtain a Teacher of Students with Disabilities (P-12) certification and/or an M.Ed. (Master of Education).

 Literacy Program

The Literacy Program prepares literacy educators to meet present and future literacy demands in our social and political democracy. Our philosophy rests on the belief that literacy development is a lifelong process. Our goal is to prepare graduate students to assume leadership roles in educational settings, e.g. schools, social service agencies, hospitals, business, and industry.  Students are also well-prepared to use a range of digital technologies as a seamless part of literacy instruction. The curriculum places an emphasis on reflection and critical thinking about professional practice, in addition to the moral and ethical responsibilities of literacy educators.

In addition to its graduate programs and courses, the department offers undergraduate courses specific to literacy development that meet the requirement for initial certification in teaching. These courses include:

READ 209: Children’s Literature in a Multicultural Society

READ 399: Early Literacy Development and Instruction
READ 408: Literacy in Elementary Grades 
READ 411:  Language & Literacy (for secondary subject area certification.)

Programs of Study