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Education (Early Childhood)

  • Associate of Science
  • Bachelor of Science Major
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

Students gain teaching experience beyond required fieldwork by providing instruction for children in a variety of both after school and summer programs.

  • GU Possibilities
    • Scholarship-supported learning abroad opportunities are available with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland.
    • Education majors can travel to Thailand for summer experiences teaching English to children, facilitating camp programs and learning regional culture.
    • Erie is identified by the U.S. Department of State as a refugee resettlement center. English Language Learner placements are completed at local schools as part of a required ESL course.
    • Activities outside the classroom are planned by the members of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society, Gannon University’s Society for Exceptional Children and the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association.
    • Gannon’s Phi Zeta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society was recognized as one of four recipients of the Community Service Chapter Program Award for its Growing Readers program.
    • The School of Education houses Gannon's Literacy Outreach Program where students work at designated after-school programs in the city to help preK-8 students develop literacy skills. 

    You Will Learn

    The early childhood education and early childhood/special education programs are designed to prepare individuals to be effective teachers in preK-4 regular education and/or preK-8 special education.

    The curriculum provides a solid foundation in development and learning theory, as well as instructional strategies in content areas including language and literacy, mathematics, social studies, science, physical activity and creative arts. When combined with the special education curriculum, teacher candidates in the early childhood program will be eligible for dual certification. Throughout the United States, there is an increased need for special education and English as a Second Language teachers.

    Gannon’s unique developmental field experiences provide a practical, hands-on application of knowledge with a diverse population of young children across all socioeconomic levels and cultural groups.

    Program Options

    Bachelor of Science

    • Early Childhood Education PreK-4
    • Early Childhood Pre-K-4/Special Education

    Associate Degree

    • Early Childhood Education PreK-4 (64 credits)
    • Early Childhood Education PreK-4/Early Intervention (68 credits)

    These two-year programs are designed to meet entry-level Pennsylvania requirements for assistant teachers in preschools and kindergartens, as well as childcare/learning centers and Head Start programs.  A GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation with an Associate degree.

    For those students who complete the Associate degree and decide to continue their education, all qualifying credits earned in the program within a seven year time frame will transfer to the four year baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood PreK-4. Qualifying credits refer to those Education courses and the LENG 111 course with a grade of C or better.

    You Will Experience

    Education students begin their fieldwork during their freshman year and spend more than 400 hours working in educational settings. They participate in multiple field experiences, including one 60-hour field experience during spring of their freshman year. A full semester of student teaching is required for students seeking a Bachelor degree. All field experiences are arranged by the School of Education.

    Fieldwork is associated with specific courses allowing students to put theory learned in the classroom into action. Pre-service teachers experience 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:

    • alternative and private education facilities
    • approved childcare centers
    • Barber National Institute
    • charter schools
    • Erie Roman Catholic diocesan schools
    • public school districts

    You Will Achieve

    Graduates are prepared for Pennsylvania Level I teaching certification in early childhood education preK-4 or early childhood education preK-4/special education preK-8. These Bachelor of Science degrees and associate degrees can lead to a variety of career opportunities such as:

    • preK-4 teacher
    • private preschool/daycare center owner or manager
    • special education teacher
    • sports coach
    • zoo or nature center educator

    With additional training and experience, these degrees can lead to opportunities such as:

    • autistic support educator
    • corporate education trainer
    • English as a Second Language teacher
    • school counselor
    • principal or superintendent
    • reading or math coach
    • reading specialist
    • special education supervisor
    • supervisor of curriculum and instruction
    • university professor

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of educational organization. The figures listed do not include benefits which teachers receive as part of their contracts.

    • Starting salary: $33,000
    • Mid-career salary: $55,200

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    Education majors gain a variety of experiences in public, private and diocesan schools in urban, suburban and rural locations. Students have opportunities to gain strategies to successfully educate diverse populations. Some examples of coursework include:

    ECED 300 Integrated Curriculum PreK-4/90-Hr.

    Field Experience This course provides the conceptual framework for developing and implementing appropriate curriculum for children. The integration of content is stressed as teacher candidates plan, adapt and analyze curriculum content, instructional materials and strategies to enhance learning.

    SPED 320 Literacy for Students with Exceptionalities PreK-8 / 30-Hr. Field 

    Teacher candidates research, select, develop and practice implementing a variety of instructional strategies to enhance literacy development of children with exceptionalities. Candidates tutor students who have demonstrated literacy challenges.

    EDCR 302 Expressive Arts

    This course emphasizes the importance of the arts in children’s lives. Teacher candidates examine and explore how to help children use art, music, dance, drama and literature to express and communicate their developing ideas, experiences and feelings about themselves and the world.

    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.