The teacher certification program in Elementary and Early Childhood Education is extended from Penn State's College of Education to Penn State Altoona. The Penn State Altoona education program prepares students to meet all graduation requirements for a bachelor of science degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education (PreK-4 option) and all requirements for PreK-4 Instructional I certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Penn State Altoona's degree program, in affiliation with The Pennsylvania State University's College of Education, is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
The Curriculum: Semesters 1-3
In addition to general education, during semesters one through three, students prepare for entrance into the education major by completing coursework in educational theory and policy, educational psychology, and curriculum and instruction.
Entrance to the Major
Students seek entrance to the major through an online entrance to major process. Students interested in the PK-4 program take general education and entrance to major (ETM) courses during their first two years.
Entrance to Major Requirements
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00
- Qualifying scores from the ETS Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educations (CORE) exams.
- A grade of "C" or better in all specified courses, including practica.
- Completion of an early field experience specified by the certification program.
- Completion of a core of Education courses specified by the certification program.
- Completion of additional credits as specified by the certification program.
- Completion of at least 48 semester credit hours, including English 015 or 030, three credits of literature, and six credits of quantification.
- Approval by the program coordinator.
The Curriculum: Semesters Five through Eight
Teacher candidates follow a carefully sequenced curriculum during the junior and senior years, including:
- LL ED Art and Literacy Block: in this fifteen-credit block, students study the teaching of reading, language arts, and children's literature and the current theory and practice of music and art education.
- DI Discipline Inquiry Block: in the discipline inquiry block, students attend methods courses in social studies education, science education, and math education. The block also includes a field experience in which students spend two days per week in an area classroom.
- Student Teaching Practicum: Student teachers engage in full-time classroom instruction in an area elementary school. Student teachers are supervised by University personnel and practicing teachers. Students also attend a seminar on campus one evening per week.
Eligibility for a teacher certificate is based on:
- Successful completion of the baccalaureate degree.
- A minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
- A grade of C or better in all specified courses, including practica.
- Approval by the program coordinator and by the university certification officer.
- Successful completion of clearances and tests as specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.