Elementary Education Major

George Fox's elementary education major prepares future teachers for the classroom.

Do you dream about mentoring young people and making an impact on the next generation? Then a career in elementary education could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Our elementary education majors go on to work in elementary and early-childhood programs throughout Oregon and the rest of the country. A bachelor’s degree in elementary education also prepares you for a career of influence. Many of us remember our elementary school teachers and can appreciate the impact they had on our lives. For this reason, few careers offer such rewarding life experiences.

Many universities only offer a graduate-level fifth-year program in elementary education. At George Fox, you can achieve initial licensure for elementary education – at the early childhood and elementary levels – by completing our four-year program and passing the required tests. Course work and training for the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement is also embedded to add to your qualifications and teaching license. This endorsement is highly sought after in school districts across the country and will greatly increase your employment prospects.

What further distinguishes our program is the fact we offer a Christian college environment that encourages not only academic – but spiritual – growth.

If you already have your Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree, you may alternately be interested in George Fox's hybrid-online adult bachelor's degree completion program with a major in elementary education.


Request more information about the elementary education major at George Fox University or schedule a visit to begin your education at Oregon's Christian university, ranked as one of the top Christian colleges in the nation by Forbes.

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Major Requirements

Complete the following:

Course is an overview of history and diverse social issues in education and an exploration of teaching as a career. Serves as an introduction to the teacher education program at George Fox University. Survey of learning theories and possible applications in the elementary classroom are explored. Required for elementary teaching majors and music education majors. Includes 10 hours of clinical practice. Prerequisite: declared major of undergraduate teacher education.
Examines the diverse and dynamic role of culture in the ESOL student's language development and academic achievement. The course also emphasizes the application of this knowledge for instruction and the involvement of community and its resources for maximizing ESOL students' academic achievement.
This course is the first of two courses designed to engage elementary and middle school prospective teachers in the learning and development of the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching mathematics. It has a multi-dimensional focus on mathematical problem solving and reasoning with understanding of numbers and their properties through various representations, including algebraic and visual representations. Additional course fee required.
This course is the second of two courses designed to engage elementary and middle school prospective teachers in the learning and development of the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching mathematics. Emphasis will be placed on nuanced mathematics content knowledge needed for teaching within the domains of algebra,statistics, probability, geometry, and measurement. Prerequisite: Completion of MATH 211 Foundations of Elementary Mathematics I.

Complete the following:

An introduction to the scientific study of human behavior. Major topics include the biological bases of behavior, sensation, perception, thinking, learning, memory, development, emotion, motivation, personality, social interaction, and abnormal behavior. Prerequisite to most other psychology courses.

Choose one of the following:

The first half of a two-semester survey of American history. The course surveys historical development from human origins in North America through the founding of the United States to the end of the Civil War.
The second half of a two-semester survey of American history. The course surveys historical development in the United States beginning with Reconstruction of the nation during and after the Civil War and continuing through contemporary times.

Complete the following:

Elementary education admissions requirements, policies and procedures are listed in the Teacher Education Majors and Minors section.
This course provides an overview of early childhood as a profession in relation to its historical, philosophical and social foundations. Students will examine how these functions influence current thought and be able to translate those theories into practice. Included will be age-level characteristics and child-centered activities that enhance developmentally appropriate practice, assessment, curriculum/instruction, environment, and family/community collaboration. The role of the teachers and ethical considerations are considered to promote reflective thinking, cultural competency, and positive use of technology to meet the needs of young children. Course goals align with the Sate of Oregon program objectives for early childhood and elementary OAR 584-017-0100, ages 3 years to the 4th grade and to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NYAEYC) initial license standards. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
This first course is designed to provide you with a firm understanding of research-based, best practices for teaching mathematics and science at the elementary and middle school levels. Prospective teachers will engage in activities that enhance conceptual knowledge of selected mathematics and science topics, while also developing pedagogical content knowledge. The instruction in the course models the type of learning experiences that have been shown to make a difference in students’ thinking, understanding, and achievement. This course encourages prospective teachers to view school mathematics and science as a space for making sense of the world and promotes what it means to understand and do mathematics and science. Mathematics and science are disciplines where all students should be given opportunities to observe, investigate, explore, verify, explain, conjecture, discover, and generalize concepts and ideas using their own questions, curiosities, and interests in order to foster equity, access, and empowerment.
This second course is designed to provide you with a firm understanding of research-based, best practices for teaching mathematics and science at the elementary and middle school levels. Prospective teachers will engage in planning and instruction tasks that enhance conceptual knowledge of selected mathematics and science topics, while also developing pedagogical content knowledge. Part of developing pedagogical content knowledge entails a specific focus on utilizing technology and integration of mathematics and science across disciplines. This course encourages prospective teachers to view school mathematics and science as a space for making sense of the world and promotes what it means to understand and do mathematics and science. Mathematics and science are disciplines where all students should be given opportunities to observe, investigate, explore, verify, explain, conjecture, discover, and generalize concepts and ideas using their own questions, curiosities, and interests in order to foster equity, access, and empowerment. Prerequisite: Completion of EDUC 343 Adventures in Math and Science I.
Examines strategies for planning, managing and teaching English as a second language and discipline-focused content to ESOL students. Emphasis is placed on curriculum, teaching, and hands-on learning approaches that accommodate a diverse population. Also included are strategies for collaborating with educators and community members in order to provide comprehensive, challenging educational opportunities for ESOL students. In this course, you are invited to evaluate best practices, use strategies for developing and integrating language skills, as well as choosing and adapting classroom resources, and reflecting on your role as an agent of change who will effectively empower students to reach their potential. This course will examine the diversity of cultures, languages, experiences, and knowledge that our students bring to our classrooms. This course will examine the tensions and barriers that are evident when students of diversity encounter the mainstream classroom in which they are the minority culture. Teacher perceptions and biases will be examined and challenged. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
Using the basic principles and elements of music and art, students will explore making connections between subjects in the elementary curriculum. This course examines and offers opportunities to apply health and human performance methods. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
Working within the differentiation framework (background knowledge, language, academic and behavior) BLAB, this course will examine and apply the concepts and instructional strategies that are essential for the academic achievement of our students from cultural, diverse, language, behavioral and academic backgrounds. Specific emphasis will be devoted to the success of our exceptional students and our second language learners. Integration of Social Studies into the methodology of the work sample will be addressed. Requires 20 hours of practicum. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
The teacher candidate enters the classroom as a co-teacher who is collaborating with a cooperating teacher in developing and presenting instruction that is designed for the success of all students. Successful teaching and completion of a work sample is required. The work sample is a written documentation of the student's ability to teach all students. The practicum is scheduled 4 days a week for EDUC and 5 days a week for ELED. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
Clearly, individual classroom teachers can have a major impact on student achievement. Of the three major roles of the classroom teacher – making choices about instructional strategies, designing classroom curriculum, and employing classroom management techniques – classroom management is arguably the foundation. Research on classroom management is integrated into the course. This course introduces the teacher candidate to research-based effective classroom management strategies. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
This course provides an overview of the content of children's and adolescent literature and its use in culturally responsive teaching. Children's and adolescent literature will be explored with an overview of the genre of literature, the work of authors and illustrators, and the use of children's and adolescent literature in teaching of all students. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
This course creates a foundation for teaching listening, speaking, reading and writing in all grades, with a focus on beginning readers and writers from Pre-School to Grade 2. Literacy theory, literacy learner development, assessment, planning, teaching, and reflection will be modeled and applied. Using current standards, best practice, content on the language learning and development for English Language Learners (ELL) students the course will introduce and reinforce learning from English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses with a focus on teaching all students well. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
This course builds on the foundation gained in Reading and Writing I and focuses on grade 3-8 readers and writers. Theory, learner development, diversity and content knowledge will be applied in lesson and unit planning and in teaching children in the placement. Assessment, planning, teaching and reflection will be modeled and experienced in classroom settings using the CCSS, best practice and attention to the needs of all learners. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
Communication is the basis for all human interaction. In this course, we will explore key language theories of first and second language acquisition, since multiple fields intersect in their quest to explain language. Students will investigate and identify the underlying structure of language and its component systems through interactive, semester long projects with second language learners. Examines the fundamental elements, processes, and patterns of oral and written language for the teacher of English to speakers of other languages. Topics include phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, morphology, orthography and writing conventions, syntax, semantics, and discourse analysis. English is the primary focus of the course, with reference to other languages commonly spoken by students in Oregon classrooms. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
The teacher candidate enters the classroom as a co-teacher who is collaborating with the collaborating with a cooperating teacher in developing and presenting instruction that is designed for the success of all students. Successful teaching and completion of a work sample is required. The work sample is a written documentation of the student's ability to teach all students. The practicum is scheduled 5 days a week. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
Building on the conceptual ideas of Assessment for Learning, this course focuses on the idea that assessment is a collaborative process that involves the student, teacher, and other stakeholders in a collaborative experience that is designed to empower student success. The four dimensions of background knowledge, language abilities, academics, and behavior assessments will provide the impetus for a course which investigates, develops, and plans assessments for all students, specifically including English language learners, special education students, talented and gifted students, and mainstream students. A wide diversity of classroom assessments will be explored. Additionally, the use and interpretation of standardized assessments will be examined. Through direct practice, teacher candidates will gain insights into identification, placement, monitoring and exiting criteria for ELL students according to federal and state policies; and will be prepared to implement fair and realistic accommodations/assessments in the mainstream classroom. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.
This course assists teacher candidates to synthesize their foundation, methods and content background during the full time clinical experience, including content to prepare the teacher candidates as they transition into the teaching profession. The course content is presented in a professional development workshop while encouraging an understanding of the need for continued growth as teaching professionals as well as additional information on classroom management and differentiation. Prerequisite: Successful admission into the Undergraduate Elementary Education major program.

Optional

Students may add the middle-level authorization (grades 5-10) to the elementary/early childhood authorization if they meet the testing/course work requirements in a content area, take the required courses, and complete an additional student teaching at the middle level.
This course provides an overview of middle level teaching as a profession in relation to its historical, philosophical and educational foundations. Students examine how these functions influence current thought and will be able to translate those theories into practice. Included will be adolescent development and current teaching methods and structures that are developmentally appropriate for creating a positive learning environment. The role of teachers and ethical considerations are explored to promote reflective thinking, cultural competency, and positive use of technology to meet the needs of adolescents. Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education Program.
A laboratory experience consisting of general and specific tasks, managing and instructing pupils and assisting teaching in the classroom. Prerequisites: EDUC 353 Trends & Issues in Middle-Level Education and EDUC 375 Student Teaching I & Classroom Management.
Additional authorizations are available through the graduate department of Educational Foundations and Leadership.

Admission to Student Teaching

Acceptance into the teacher education program does not guarantee assignment for student teaching.

Admission to student teaching is based upon continued good standing; favorable recommendations; an attained cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better on all college-level courses, including transfer credits; completion of the required teaching major and professional courses with no grade below C-; passing scores on appropriate basic skills and having taken content area examinations; successful completion of the student teaching interview; and a minimum of 16 semester hours completed in residence prior to student teaching.

Jobs and Graduate School

Elementary education majors get teaching experience at a Christian college ranked high on the West Coast.

Job prospects are best for teachers in high demand fields such as math, science and bilingual education, and in less desirable urban and rural areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for teachers at the K-12 levels is expected to grow 7.6 percent through 2026, with a large number of jobs becoming available as older teachers move into retirement.

  • Teacher, Mabel Rush Elementary, Newberg, Ore.
  • Teacher, Memorial Elementary, McMinnville, Ore.
  • Principal, Linus Pauling Middle School, Corvallis, Ore.
  • Teacher, Lincoln Elementary, Woodburn, Ore.
  • Teacher, Harrisburg Elementary, Harrisburg, Wash.
  • Teacher, Newby Elementary, McMinnville, Ore.
  • Teachers in districts throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii and across the U.S.
  • Elementary and missions teachers in China, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Austria, Swaziland and other countries around the world
  • Baylor University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • George Fox University
  • Portland State University
  • Western Oregon University
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • Salem School District
  • Woodburn School District
  • Newberg School District
  • Yamhill-Carlton School District
  • Sherwood School District
  • Portland School District
  • McMinnville School District
  • Tigard-Tualatin School District
  • Tillamook School District

Student Experiences

Patrick Shuckerow

"Six years after graduating, I still feel a strong connection and support from the George Fox faculty. They were always accessible and approachable, helpful and supportive, and pushed me to be the best teacher I could be. What impresses me most is that didn’t stop once I graduated and entered the teaching profession. Their dedication and passion is unmistakable, and it is clear that they measure their success by the success of their students."

- Patrick Shuckerow

Emily Wilhite

"George Fox University thoroughly prepared me to be a teacher. I was able to find a teaching job immediately, and have just finished my first semester teaching fifth grade in Central Oregon. The preparation that I received has helped me feel confident and knowledgeable during my first year as a teacher. I feel very fortunate for the great experience that I had at George Fox."

- Emily Wilhite

Points of Distinction

  • ESOL coursework embedded within the four-year elementary education program to better meet the needs of all students and improve your standing in the job market.
  • Opportunity to gain field experience by engaging in after-school program at local elementary school.
  • Build close relationships as part of a cohort that includes 20 students or fewer.
  • Develop a strong foundation in general education subjects: literature, history, science and the arts.
  • Receive placement as a student teacher in a co-teaching environment (last two semesters).

Why George Fox?

Christ-centered community

Our faith influences everything we do here, from the way our professors teach to the way we relate to one another and serve in the community.

Global opportunities

More than half of George Fox undergraduate students study abroad, ranking George Fox among the nation's leaders in study abroad participation (U.S. News & World Report).

Small classes

Our 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means you'll get to know your professors on a personal level.

National recognition

George Fox University is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier national university, and Forbes ranks George Fox among the highest Christian colleges in the country.

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