Elementary Education

Student at a whiteboard talking to a professor in an office

Bachelor of Arts
Major
School of Education
4-Year Degree

Overview

Westminster College’s Elementary Education program develops future educators through extensive mentoring, helpful supervision by engaged faculty, and field opportunities at diverse schools. The program’s comprehensive approach prepares you to face any challenge the field may offer and gives you the skills that are key to effective teaching. 

Who It's For

Students in the Elementary Education program want to make a major difference in the lives and education of others. The elementary years are crucial in determining students’ future educational success. Playing an important role in this process is very rewarding.

As you develop your teaching skills through a combination of classroom instruction at Westminster and hands-on student-teaching experience in the community, you will prepare yourself to impact the youngest minds in the education system.

Key Benefits

  • Faculty support you through individualized attention and constructive feedback, helping you develop your skills through valuable mentorship.
  • Experience working with students and teachers in schools starts very early in the program.
  • Faculty are experienced elementary teachers. They share effective teaching strategies that will contribute to your success in the classroom.
  • Your student-teaching placement inside an actual elementary school setting in the community builds your confidence and skill set, allowing you to learn by doing.
Hannah Rohrer-Fitzhugh

"My goal when I entered college was to be an exceptional teacher, and in order to do that, I needed an exceptional school. Westminster has been that exceptional school. The School of Education faculty have challenged me to think creatively and has opened my eyes to aspects of education I never imagined. Every day I leave a class with more knowledge and appreciation for education than I did before starting the class. It is not only the classes that make the school of education exceptional but also the people. My peers and the faculty are the most supportive, easy-going, and intelligent people I have met. My experience at school keeps getting better, and each day is a joy."

Hannah Rohrer-Fitzhugh ('22)
 
Students sitting with a professor in an office
Teacher in an elementary school classroom with students sitting at desks

About the Program

Westminster’s Elementary Education program focuses heavily on social justice issues so that you better understand the relationship between formal education systems and inequitable societal issues. You are encouraged to become an advocate of the social issues related to education and realize the power teachers hold for positive change in the system.

You will spend a lot of time in classrooms—from the onset of the program until graduation—building the confidence and skills you need to excel as a teacher. Westminster faculty members, who are experienced teachers themselves, get to know you to give you a personalized placement that allows you to get the most out of your teacher education. They will be there every step of the way, supervising you in the classroom and offering all the support and advice you need to succeed.

Explore helpful student resources provided by special education faculty and get insight on the perspectives of Westminster special education students and successful alumni.

EXPLORE MORE AND MEET FACULTY

What You'll Learn

The School of Education adopted the Utah Effective Teaching Standards for the teacher education program in the Fall 2015 Semester. Students must satisfy these standards to complete the program and be recommended for a teaching license. These standards are education-specific versions of Westminster’s college-wide learning goals.

  • Learner Development: Understand cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas of student development.
  • Learning Differences: Understand individual learner differences and cultural, linguistic diversity.
  • Learning Environments: The teacher works with learners to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, positive social interactions, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  • Content Knowledge: Understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline.
  • Assessment: Use multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their growth, monitor their progress, guide planning and instruction, and determine whether the outcomes described in content standards have been met.
  • Instructional Planning: Plan instruction to support students in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, Utah Core Standards, instructional best practices, and the community context.
  • Instructional Strategies: Use various instructional strategies to ensure that all learners develop a deep understanding of content areas and their connections and build skills to apply and extend knowledge in meaningful ways.
  • Reflection and Continuous Growth: Use evidence as a reflective practitioner to continually evaluate and adapt practice to meet the needs of each learner.
  • Leadership and Collaboration: Engage collaboratively with learners, families, colleagues, and community members as a leader to build a shared vision and supportive professional culture focused on student growth and success.
  • Professional and Ethical Behavior: Demonstrates the highest standard of legal, moral, and ethical conduct as specified in Utah State Board Rule R277-515.

Plan of Study

Through the Elementary Education program, you will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to teach comfortably and effectively in an elementary school classroom. Over the course of your studies, you will explore teaching methods, classroom management, and student-teach.

Admission to the Program

The Elementary Education program requires admission to the program. You should register to take EDUC 252 in your sophomore year at Westminster. This introductory course is where the application process will take place. Program directors will visit with students in this class early in the semester and explain all requirements involved in the application process.

Program Format

  • Initial courses cover developmental theories, teaching principles, and practices that promote culturally sustainable teaching.
  • Methods courses cover best practices for teaching the elementary content areas (math, language arts, science, reading, creative arts, social studies). Each methods course requires 10–15 hours of classroom observation time, which involves teaching lessons you design as part of the methods course. This allows you to spend many hours in various classrooms before you student-teach in your final semester.
  • You will participate in a lot of collaborative work so you can replicate that style of teaching in your classrooms.
  • Instead of exams, you will develop engaging lesson plans and units.
  • Faculty will model best practices that you will be able to use in the classroom.
Minor Requirement

Elementary Education program students are required to take a minor. This can be any minor offered on campus. However, education faculty encourage you to select a minor that is helpful in the classroom. Westminster offers teaching students of other languages (TESOL) and special education minors. Completion of the TESOL minor earns you a TESOL endorsement. Completion of the special education minor leads to a special education (K-12) mild/moderate endorsement.

Student Teaching

Student teaching takes place during your last semester at Westminster. Faculty work hard to find the best placement for you; however, you can submit requests for a particular grade/district you would prefer to work with to be considered.

Licensure

You will graduate with a Utah K-6 teaching license. This license is recognized throughout the U.S., but each state may have additional requirements.

Secondary Education Teacher Education at Westminster

If you already know that you are interested in teaching at the secondary education level (grades 6-12) rather than elementary, you should enroll in the applicable major for what you intend to teach and additionally complete 7 education credits (EDUC 302 and EDUC 312) as a part of your undergraduate studies. These credits can be used for Westminster’s Accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching program, through which you would earn a master of arts in teaching degree and a secondary education license.

Email Dr. Lowell Oswald (loswald@westminstercollege.edu) if you have any questions about this opportunity.

Liberal Education Courses

You must complete the WCore program or join the Honors College (and complete requirements) to fulfill your liberal education credits.

Sample Courses

Developmentally Appropriate Teaching and Learning

Learn developmental theories, principles, and practices by studying instructional design, classroom environment, assessment, culturally responsive teaching, Common Core, and the Utah State Core. Additionally, explore 'Funds of Knowledge' as a framework for building home-to-school connections into instructional design.

Science Methods

Explore the principles, methods, and materials used for teaching science in elementary school. Scope and sequence of science concepts will include life sciences, physical sciences, and other sciences using inquiry-oriented teaching and learning. You will spend 10 hours in a field placement.

Want to learn more about the Elementary Education program?

A dedicated admissions counselor will reach out to you with personalized information to help with your search for the right program.

Request More Info

Career Opportunities

Westminster’s strong, longstanding relationships with school districts and administrators in the area benefit students in the Elementary Education program. Beginning in March of your final semester, Westminster’s Career Center will arrange on-campus interviews for local school districts. Many graduates secure teaching positions well before they graduate. Program graduates often become leaders early in their careers at their schools and the district level. Westminster graduates are known for this and the confidence they exhibit in the classroom as early career teachers.

If you have chosen to pursue a special education or TESOL minor to meet your minor requirement, these endorsements are highly sought after by districts. Endorsements can lead to you becoming a team leader or district specialist in TESOL or special education.

Potential Careers

 
  • Classroom teacher
  • District coach (math coach, science coach)
  • Curriculum developer
  • Director of after school programs and/or youth organizations

If you choose to pursue a master’s degree, you can also open up additional opportunities for yourself in roles such as a school librarian, counselor, or administrator. Westminster offers a Master of Education program, which past Elementary Education program students have come back to pursue.

Teachers with young students outside

Read their story

Teacher in an elementary school classroom with students sitting at desks. One student has their hand raised.
Students in a Westminster classroom listening to a professor
Braden Pelly

"At Westminster, I competed on the field and inside the classroom. I made great friends and loved working with young students.”

Braden Pelly (’19)
 

Tuition and Aid

There's No Better Investment Than You

Westminster College knows you want an education where you matter—a place that will serve as a launchpad for a successful career and a meaningful life. Westminster will work with you individually through every step of the financial aid process. From scholarships to grants and loans, Westminster helps you make it happen.

With the highest percentage of students who complete one or more internships in the state, Westminster students hit the ground running with real-world experience. Plus, 90% of students were either employed or attending graduate school within 5 months of graduating. With a Westminster degree, you don't have to choose between a successful career and a fulfilling life.

Learn About Tuition

You’ll be automatically considered for scholarship and grant opportunities.

In addition to general merit scholarships, there are other scholarship programs to support you throughout your time at Westminster.

Check Out Scholarships

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