A JMU student teacher assists local children with their assignment

4-year licensure program for Pre K-6 grade educators

The four-year Elementary Education program builds on the foundational content knowledge students develop in their general education course work, coupled with select upper level interdisciplinary liberal studies courses that facilitate further understanding of the broad content teachers need to know across the Pre K-6 grade levels.

The JMU elementary 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; 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.
  • Valuing the literacies and literate backgrounds of all learners and 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.

Embedded in the curriculum are field-based learning experiences in the schools.  Through these experiences, students gain first-hand experiences working with classroom teachers and learners. Students in these courses will spend 1 full day each week in an elementary classroom for field experiences beginning in the sophomore year.  During the senior year, students complete two eight-week blocks of student teaching.

Program length

This is a 4-year undergraduate major in Elementary Education that leads to Pre K-6 licensure.

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