Childhood Education

Childhood Education Undergraduate Programs

About Childhood Education

Impact the lives of young students as a kindergarten, elementary or middle school teacher.

PennWest California has a long-standing reputation for producing top teachers in Pennsylvania and beyond. Our undergraduate programs in childhood education prepare early childhood, elementary and middle-level teachers with the knowledge, skills and disposition essential to becoming successful members of the teaching profession.

 PennWest California takes a hands-on approach to teacher training. We support a constructivist model of teaching and learning, based on the belief that students are actively involved in their own knowledge construction, as opposed to passively receiving information. All of our childhood education courses teach proven best practices, and we provide a performance-based process for preparing Pre-K-4 or grade 4-8 teachers.

Choose the area of childhood education that interests you most.

Childhood Education Certification Programs


Non-Certification Childhood Education Programs


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Childhood Education

Top Accreditation: This  degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


childhood education teaching degrees to choose from.
years of dedication to world-class teacher education. 


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Program Benefits

The benefits of PennWest California's childhood education programs include: Hands-on fieldwork and student teaching opportunities in local Pennsylvania schools. Student teaching, internship and job placement support from faculty, alumni and PennWest California's Career and Professional Development Center. Special on-campus seminars that keep you up to date on current education topics and trends. Childhood education-focused student clubs that will encourage your interests, help you forge friendships and enable you to network with professionals in the field.

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Graduate Outcomes

With the anticipated retirements of millions of public school teachers, the future looks bright for a professional career in early childhood, elementary, middle and special education. PennWest California program graduates are sought-after teachers of young children and adolescents, thanks to the rigorous standards and extensive fieldwork and student teaching experience in our degree programs. PennWest California program alumni are finding top jobs across Pennsylvania and the United States as: public or private school teachers; para-educators; childcare workers/owners/directors; children and youth services members; remediation teachers; substitute teachers; curriculum authors.

Childhood Education Degree Program
An instructor helps a young child hold a magnifying glass.

Practical Skills that Make a Difference

"I can't express how valuable the education program was to me at PennWest California. ... Learning how to analyze student data and how to make changes to my instruction to meet students' needs enables me to provide the best education for each student that I have on a regular basis." - Amanda Bilitski '15

A kindergarten classroom full of children.

Professional Development Schools

PennWest California proudly participates in a Professional Development Schools (PDS) collaborative. This means you'll have ample opportunities to travel to nearby schools to practice teaching in real-world classrooms.

Students learning in a classroom.

Praise for PennWest California's Program

"Principals and administrators compliment the PennWest California program when they see my lesson development and dedication to the profession firsthand." - Ashley Szala '15



Childhood Education Degree Programs

Education Certification Programs
Non-Certification Education Programs
Basic Skills Requirements for All Programs

Students must meet these basic skills requirements in order to take upper-level courses in Childhood Education:

  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Praxis CORE)
  • Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA)

For more about basic skills testing requirements, please view this information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Note that the PennWest California course MAT 130, Elementary Topics in Mathematics II, may be used to fulfill the mathematics portion of the Basic Skills Assessment; you must earn an A or a B in the course. You may not use the composite score or the PDE calculator if you choose this option. Students should see their faculty adviser if they have questions.

Childhood Education Faculty

Dr. Peter Cormas
Associate Professor

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Dr. Holly L. Diehl
Professor and Coordinator of Professional Development Schools Program

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Dr. Diane Fine
Associate Professor and Coordinator, Reading Specialist Program and Integrative STEM Education Program

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Dr. J. William Hug
Associate Professor; Science, Environment and STEM Teacher Education

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Dr. Rebecca Maddas
Associate Professor

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Dr. Christine Peterson

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Dr. Michelle Torregano
Associate Professor and PreK-4 Graduate Coordinator

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Dr. Clover Simms Wright
Assistant Professor

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