What is an Elementary Education Bachelor’s Degree?
Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree program prepares students for a career as a K–8 elementary teacher and to seek initial licensure. Earning this degree serves as a pathway for entering the field of education to lead in children’s mental, emotional and social development, as well as to provide students with a foundation in early basic academics (like math and reading).
At this stage, teachers are responsible for identifying their students’ strengths and weaknesses. Based on those insights, teachers will tailor content, activities and projects that meet diverse student needs and interests. Other job responsibilities include motivating students, establishing behavioral rules and communicating with parents.
With a bachelor’s degree, teachers will have the knowledge and tools to follow their passion for teaching and making a lasting impression on their students’ future. The teaching profession in elementary classrooms is challenging; however, the rewards of seeing children understand something or make a discovery on their own makes all the hard work worth it.
- Lesson development to engage diverse learners
- Advanced methods for teaching English language learners
- Serving students with mild to moderate disabilities
- Child and early adolescent growth and development
- Research and examination of science- and evidence-based learning concepts
This program’s curriculum further includes opportunities for relevant application of concepts, theories and research with an emphasis on elementary educational field experiences; teacher candidates complete 120 hours of observational and practice-based experiences. A 15-week student teaching experience further shapes students into career-ready individuals who can confidently enter the classroom. Graduates are eligible for a 120-credit elementary education teaching credential in the state of Arizona.
Why Earn a BS in Elementary Education Degree at GCU?
GCU’s bachelor’s degree in elementary education is competitive and meets elementary education teaching requirements for teaching in a K–8 classroom environment. Courses and format are regionally accredited and approved by the Arizona State Board of Education, which ensures students receive a top-tier education that addresses industry demand. Courses also meet standards set by the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Students may learn on GCU’s vibrant campus in a traditional classroom setting, 100% online for independent, self-paced learning or during the evening on campus to maintain a regular day schedule. In pursuing their purpose, students will learn to help children reach their potential while influencing the broader educational community.
Candidates engage with foundational and application-based learning material and resources that include:
- Studies and practices in lesson planning and assessment, classroom management, social justice, family and cultural diversity and English as a Second Language
- Instructional methods/strategies in a broad range of topics
- Instructors with expertise in their respective fields who facilitate learning by sharing their knowledge and experience in these elementary education areas
- A values-based education program based on a Christian worldview that promotes a spirit of leadership
What is the Difference between an Elementary Education Degree and an Early Childhood Education Degree?
Elementary education teachers serve K–8 settings and gain an understanding of how to teach content across a wide span of grade levels, whereas early childhood education focuses on birth–third grade settings. Early elementary teachers specifically prepare to meet the needs of young children through age 8.
What Can I Do with an Elementary Education Bachelor’s?
Graduates may pursue careers in education as an elementary teacher for K–8 learning environments in private or public schools. This bachelor’s program can also serve as a segue into earning a master’s degree for advanced knowledge, deepened understanding, upward mobility, a competitive edge and potential for higher earnings.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Program Core Courses
This is the first in a two-course sequence designed for prospective elementary school teachers. Concepts include set theory, functions, numeration systems, number theory and properties of the natural numbers, integers, rational numbers, ratios, proportions, decimals, and percents, with an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking.
Teacher candidates survey how children and early adolescents grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas while understanding the implications for designing and implementing developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences. This survey of the seminal concepts, principles, theories, and research related to development of children and young adolescents allows teacher candidates to build foundational knowledge for constructing learning opportunities that support individual student's development, acquisition of knowledge, and motivation. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
Teacher candidates build foundational knowledge on planning instruction and formal and informal assessment strategies. Teacher candidates will examine instructional planning based on knowledge of students, learning theory, connection across the curriculum, curricular goals, and community. Formal and informal assessment strategies for planning, evaluating, and strengthening instruction for elementary students are also examined. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance required.
This course provides an overview of the principal political, economic, and cultural themes and constitutional developments that shaped the United States from the Colonial period into the 20th Century.
This is the second in a two-course sequence designed for prospective elementary school teachers. Concepts include elementary probability, data analysis, descriptive statistics, geometry of shapes in two and three dimensions, congruence and similarity, measurement, and geometric transformations, with an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking. Prerequisite: MAT-150.
Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance not required.
In this writing intensive course, teacher candidates examine how to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and encourage students' positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation. Teacher candidates build foundational knowledge regarding the importance of establishing and maintaining positive collaborative relationships with families, school colleagues, and agencies in the larger community to promote the intellectual, social, emotional, physical growth, and well-being of children. Practicum/field experience hours: 5. Fingerprint clearance required.
Teacher candidates will examine how to teach foundational skills to develop proficient readers with the capacity to comprehend texts across a range of texts and disciplines. Teacher candidates will build additional knowledge regarding print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency to promote early literacy and independent readers. Practicum/field experience hours: 20. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-210 or ECS-125.
Teacher candidates examine a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students to develop a deep understanding of the major concepts and procedures that define number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement and data, and probability. From this foundational knowledge, candidates select, adapt and use research-based methods, instructional strategies, and interventions to advance the mathematical abilities of students and have them apply their knowledge and abilities in meaningful ways. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-210.
In this course, teacher candidates examine how to foster and support student autonomy in the classroom. Candidates analyze how to provide purposeful feedback and establish a learning environment in which students participate in their own learning and engage in collaborative goal setting, self-assessment of progress, reflective thinking, and questioning with intention. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-210.
In this writing intensive course, teacher candidates study how to teach a diverse population of students by examining the foundations and dimensions of social justice in education, social constructs, privilege, prejudice, and oppression with the goal of becoming culturally competent educators. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.
This course is a survey of the Arizona constitution and government. It meets the teacher certification requirement for Arizona government.
In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs for English language learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement. Through Universal Design for Learning they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards-based instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.
Teacher candidates will examine fundamental concepts of physical, life, earth and space sciences, and health education. Teacher candidates will build foundational knowledge on a variety of age-appropriate inquiry-based instructional strategies to teach science, to build student understanding of personal and social applications, to convey the nature of science, and student development for the practice of skills that contribute to good health. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-210.
Teacher candidates will examine a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students to develop deep understanding of the major concepts and modes of inquiry from the integrated study of social studies and other related areas. Teacher candidates will build foundational knowledge on promoting elementary students' abilities to make informed decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society and interdependent world. Teacher candidates will integrate the content, functions and achievements of the performing and visual arts as primary media for communication, inquiry and engagement among elementary students. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: ELM-210.
Teacher candidates will build foundational knowledge on how to use concepts from reading, language, and child development to teach reading, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, and thinking skills. Teacher candidates select, adapt and use research-based methods, instructional strategies, and interventions to individualize meaningful and challenging learning for students, with an emphasis on literacy. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: ELM-210 and ELM-305.
Teacher candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of a Student Teaching Performance of Evaluation (STEP). Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in POS and content area; a 2.8 GPA; successful completion of NES or your state’s mandated content area exams; and approval and placement by the College of Education Office of Clinical Practice. All paperwork for student teaching must be submitted by the due date the semester prior to student teaching.