Early Childhood Education

    • An agreement with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland allows students to take classes and complete field experiences abroad.
    • Students have the opportunity to travel to Jordan and Thailand for extended summer experiences teaching English to school-age children, facilitating camp experiences and learning regional culture.
    • Our undergraduate programs have been identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as model programs of distinction.
    • The Gannon-Cathedral Learning Lab is a professional development school partnership between Gannon University's School of Education and Saint Peter Cathedral School in Erie. PreK- 4 majors take child development and reading courses at St. Peter, and then go into classrooms there to put theory into practice.
    • The Literacy Outreach program offers opportunities to gain educational experience by providing one-on-one and small-group literacy instruction and support for children.

    You Will Learn

    The early childhood education and the early childhood/ special education program are designed to prepare individuals to be effective teachers in preschool through grade 4. Our curriculum provides a solid foundation in development and learning theory as well as instruction in content areas including language and literacy, mathematics, social studies, science, physical activity and creative arts. When combined with the special education preK-8 curriculum, teacher candidates in the early childhood program will also be qualified to work with children who have special needs.

    Gannon's unique developmental field experiences provide a practical, hands-on application of knowledge with a diverse population of young children across all socioeconomic and cultural levels. Students in the education program begin their field work during their freshman year and spend more than 400 hours working in educational settings.

    You Will Experience

    Education majors participate in multiple field experiences and a full semester of student teaching, including one 60- hour field experience during spring of their freshman year. Over the next three years, students complete four, three-week field experiences. All field experiences are associated with specific courses allowing students to put theory learned in the classroom into action.

    The School of Education places pre-service teachers in diverse school settings in urban, suburban and rural areas within a 25-mile radius, some of which are within walking distance of campus. Field experience options include:

    • public school districts
    • alternative education facilities
    • approved child-care centers
    • Barber National Institute
    • charter schools
    • Erie Roman Catholic diocesan schools 

    You Will Achieve

    A degree in early childhood education preK-4 can lead to a variety of career opportunities. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • autistic support educator
    • corporate education trainer
    • English as a second language teacher
    • guidance counselor
    • preK-4 teacher
    • principal or superintendent
    • private preschool/daycare center owner or manager
    • reading or math coach
    • reading specialist
    • special education supervisor
    • supervisor of curriculum and instruction
    • university professor

    You will Study

    Students will gain a variety of experiences in public, private and diocesan schools in urban, suburban and rural locations. A number of special education courses allow students opportunities to gain strategies to successfully educate diverse populations. Students will take various core and elective courses including:

    ECED 300: Integrated Curriculum PreKindergarten through Fourth Grade/Field Experience

    This course provides the conceptual framework for developing and implementing appropriate curriculum for children prekindergarten through fourth grade. Instruction utilizing research-based approaches will be focused upon while linking instruction, curriculum, and assessment to plan effectively. The integration of content is stressed as teacher candidates plan, adapt, and analyze curriculum content, instructional materials, and strategies to enhance learning. The field experience associated with this course is a PreStudent Teaching (Stage 3) experience which takes place for three-weeks (90 hours) at the end of the semester.

    EDCR 420: Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)/Teaching English Language Learners (ELL)/Field Experience

    This course will provide participants with a survey of current research and theory in English as a second language (ESL)/teaching English language learners (ELL). The participants explore and practice traditional and innovative methodologies for teaching language skills to non-native speakers in kindergarten through grade 12. Nine hours of PreStudent Teaching (Stage 3) field experience are embedded throughout the course, providing teacher candidates with an opportunity to work in an ESL setting.

    SPED 320: Literacy for Students with Exceptionalities: PreKindergarten through Eighth Grade/Field Experience

    This course is designed to focus on specific corrective, remedial, and compensatory strategies for all aspects of language, reading, and writing development of children with exceptionalities. Specifically, this course will address: utilization of assessment information to choose and plan for teaching reading and writing; the evidence-based connection between literacy and behavior; progress monitoring; use of explicit and systematic instruction; selection of research-based writing strategies and interventions; and the impact of language development and literacy. Teacher candidates research, select, develop, and practice implementing a variety of development for children with exceptionalities. The field experience associated with this course is a PreStudent Teaching (Stage 3) 90 hour experience.

    SPED 322: Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions

    This course is designed to introduce teacher candidates to a variety of positive behavioral supports and interventions in order to create and maintain a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. Included in this course are the following areas: Response to Intervention (RTI); school-wide positive behavioral supports; classroom-based positive behavioral intervention approaches; selecting, instructional planning, and teaching social skills; identification of the causes and functions of behaviors; the assessment of behavioral issues; and the development and implementation of effective positive behavioral support plans. The teacher candidates complete a functional behavior assessment and develop, implement, and evaluate effective positive behavioral support plans through the use of a variety of progress monitoring and data gathering techniques.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the industry vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • Starting salary: $37,400 to $45,000
    • Mid-career salary: $60,230

    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) and/or PayScale (payscale.com).