If you are passionate about working with youth in a variety of settings, Elementary Education & Youth Development is the program for you.
Plymouth State University is a top name in the region for developing dedicated K-6 and K-8 educators who have the skills and professional dispositions to successfully support all learners.
As early as the first semester, you will begin spending time in elementary classrooms. You will have the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from practicing professionals in the field. You will begin as an observer and gradually work your way to full responsibility for the classroom in your final semester. Teacher candidates and student teaching interns receive more than 600 hours of hands-on experience in the field.
Supportive Cohort System
During your final three semesters, you will complete integrated methods coursework and practicum experiences, as well as student teaching, with a core group of classmates and faculty. Our cohort system provides a focused and intensive experience designed to prepare you for the challenges and rewards of the teaching profession. You will have unique opportunities to develop professional skills as you interact with teachers, professors, and fellow students in a supportive environment full of other passionate individuals. Learn More
Our elementary education program has received national recognition through the Specialized Program Associate (SPA). Additional Information
The Elementary Education and Youth Development major provides foundational knowledge and skills necessary for working with and for children, youth and families in a variety of roles in schools and communities. The major has two options; Teacher Certification is for those interested in pursuing careers as elementary school teachers, while Youth Development is for students interested in any of a variety of careers outside the traditional classroom.
The Elementary Education and Youth Development program is unique in its integrated nature and emphasis on early and extensive field work. Beginning in their very first semester, students in the program are enrolled in major coursework that includes carefully supported field experiences deliberately tied to the course content and methods. Thereafter, in every semester in which a student enrolls in a major course, s/he will engage in accompanying field work. This program prepares graduates for the complex, interdisciplinary situations they will face as they work with and for children, youth and families.
Elementary Education and Youth Development centers on a carefully designed set of program outcomes that are essential for any career working with or for children, youth and families. All coursework, field work and other academic experiences in the program are intended to gradually develop skill and knowledge in the key areas listed below.
Relationships and Empowerment
Recognize the most important role educators and youth development professionals play is in empowering children and youth, and to that end, nurture relationships that promote self-regulation, positive self-concept, coping mechanisms and skills for positive interactions.
Context and Diversity
Acknowledge that child and youth development is complex, shaped by both internal and contextual factors, and work to accommodate the needs, expectations and capacities of diverse families, communities, and constituents.
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Create and support meaningful and coherent learning experiences, instruction, and assessment that promote children and youth's academic success and well-being.
Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy
Develop professional dispositions. Advocate and lead on behalf of children, youth and families.
All Elementary Education and Youth Development majors who interact with youth through course-related field experiences, including internships, should be prepared to submit to background checks and fingerprinting prior to commencing work if required by the host site. The fee for this processing is the responsibility of the student. Each new site may require a separate fingerprinting and background check.
In order for students to participate in field experiences in diverse settings that are essential for their development as professionals, students must be willing and able to travel outside of the Plymouth area beyond walking distances. All Elementary Education and Youth Development majors should plan for and be able to secure their own transportation by the sophomore year.
Teacher Certification Option
This option prepares elementary school teachers to have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to create learning opportunities that support students’ intellectual, social, and personal development. Inherent in this professional preparation is the promotion of sensitivity to the variety of learners; understanding and respect for diversity within student populations, families, and communities; and appropriate and effective integration of technology in instruction to support students’ learning. The major provides the appropriate professional and field-based experience through collaborative partnerships that enable candidates to demonstrate both content and pedagogical knowledge in an elementary learning environment.
Students must apply and be accepted to the Teacher Certification option after completing 45 credits with a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA. Students must be admitted to teacher candidacy which requires passing scores on the Praxis Core. Students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA throughout the program and meet dispositional standards. All full-time or part-time matriculated candidates in this option are expected to make satisfactory academic progress toward their academic goals.
Completion of this K-6 program is the foundation for a K-8 certification. Additionally, to be certified as an elementary teacher for grades K-8, candidates must complete a content concentration in a core subject-area (English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies), as defined by the most current New Hampshire Department of Education standards, and earn a passing score for the middle school Praxis II exam for their chosen field. Requirements for certification may change, subject to changes made by the New Hampshire Department of Education. Teacher candidates can find the most current New Hampshire Department of Education standards at education.nh.gov/index.htm.
The Educator Preparation programs at Plymouth State University are approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The University is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). Because of New Hampshire’s membership in the Interstate Certification Contract, Plymouth graduates are eligible to earn a certificate or license in another Contract state upon application to that state’s department of education. Receiving states may have a difference in elementary grade range and may impose certain special requirements that must be met within a reasonable period of time. For further information, please see the Holmes Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation section in this Catalog.
All teacher candidates who interact with students in public school settings through course-related field experiences, including Elementary Internship in Teaching, are subject to New Hampshire state legislation that requires a full disclosure criminal records check. This may include fingerprinting. The processing of the criminal records check is conducted at the site school before the clinical experience begins. The fee for this processing is the responsibility of the teacher candidate and is paid directly to the school district. Each new site will require a separate fingerprinting and background check. Inquiries should be directed to the Holmes Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation.
Youth Development Option
Students who complete the Youth Development option pursue a variety of careers working with and for children, youth and families. Option graduates pursue careers and graduate education in a wide array of areas including informal education and afterschool programming; tourism, recreation and coaching; social work; special education; marriage and family therapy or school counseling; youth advocacy and case management; child life; non-profit work; and social services.
This option is flexible by design, with many free elective credits. Students are strongly encouraged to choose a minor or focused set of courses and select an internship placement that combines the skills and knowledge from all coursework to further focus their professional preparation. Career advising occurs throughout foundational and advanced coursework as well as through discussion with faculty responsible for field placements.
The Youth Development and Education program culminates in a professional degree; any meaningful professional degree includes hands-on learning and practical experience in the field. Within the program, the field experiences are designed to allow students to explore possible career interests, gain professional skills, receive feedback on their preparation and performance, and develop connections that enhance their professional networks. Field experiences allow developing professionals the opportunity to bring new perspectives to their classroom discussions and coursework, and to apply concepts and skills gained during their classroom experiences.
Students may declare the Youth Development option of the Elementary Education and Youth Development major as early as their first semester.
Pre-Teacher Certification Option
Upon being accepted to PSU and the Elementary Education and Youth Development program, those students wishing to pursue Teacher Certification will be admitted to the Pre-Teacher Certification Option in order to begin their studies. Once students meet the requirements and apply to be admitted to the Teacher Certification Option they will be permitted to switch options and complete their degree in the Teacher Certification Option. Those students who do not meet the requirements for Teacher Certification will be encouraged to pursue the Youth Development Option instead.
Marriage and Family Therapy 3+2
The Youth Development and Marriage and Family Therapy 3+2 (YDMFT) program is a five-year dual degree program. Students spend the initial three years pursuing a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the Youth Development Option of the Elementary Education and Youth Development program and the final two years completing the requirements of a Master of Science (MS) in Marriage and Family Therapy. After five years, students will have completed a BS in Elementary Education and Youth Development and an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy.
The Youth Development Option of the BS in Elementary Education and Youth Development prepares students for a variety of careers working with children, adolescents, and families. This flexible undergraduate degree allows for meaningful coursework, pedagogy centered on applying concepts to youth and their families, and hands on learning. The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy provides the knowledge and skills needed to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and an American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Clinical Member. A marriage and family therapists are licensed masters level helping professionals who are trained to intervene in human problems in a holistic way. Specifically, marriage and family therapists are trained in various theories and methods stemming from a model of understanding human interaction called systems theory. This program will prepare graduates to work in private practice, counseling centers, mental health agencies, hospitals, family service clinics, shelters, schools, and state departments for children and family services.