Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Welcome to the Department of Teaching and Learning
Students discover Peabody's Department of Teaching and Learning through the sweeping stone stairs and stately columns of the Faye and Joe B. Wyatt Center, the elegant domed edifice that sits at the head of Peabody’s campus. But that's where any resemblance to an ivory tower ends. Faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning spend as much time in the classrooms and hallways of Nashville’s public schools as they do in the seminar rooms of the college, leading to some of the best-prepared new teachers in the country.
“Our students have an exceptional level of supervised support as they work in field placements, connecting the theory they learn on campus with practice in real classrooms” says Professor Deborah Rowe, Chair of the Department. “These experiences, combined with access to faculty who know current research and are intimately familiar with how children learn, make for an outstanding program."
"Because we seek to prepare teachers who are effective from their first day, our program has an exceptionally rich set of field experiences that provides students who are seeking certification with the skills and knowledge they need to begin their professional lives,” says Rowe. “Students interested in education who are not seeking certification benefit equally from these powerful experiences, as they use our field experiences as a means to understand the applications of theoretical knowledge about learning, teaching and development that can be applied in a variety of contexts.”
Students are admitted into the Early Childhood and Elementary Education major. Sharing some common coursework, students choose either an Early Childhood track, leading to teacher licensure for Pre-K through Third Grade, or an Elementary Education track, leading to teacher licensure for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Both tracks are field work intensive with a unique focus on children’s developmental thinking and reasoning in both school and non-school settings that involve teaching, advocacy, policy, and informal learning opportunities.
Features of the Program
Students in this program pursue a research-grounded, practice-intensive program leading to either licensure in Early Childhood Education or Elementary Education, or both. Students majoring in Early Childhood and Elementary Education add a second non-education major, required for teacher licensure and adding valuable preparation for a wide variety of professional options. Second majors often directly complement the Teacher Education requirements, enriching student development through a multiple-lensed-approach to education. Additionally, the program of studies for Teacher Education majors contains approximately 60 hours of liberal education courses that are taken across the University.
Beginning in the first year, students visit and observe classrooms in local schools and agencies. Field experiences become more intensive and practice-driven through the sophomore and junior years, with a full semester of Student Teaching in senior year. These real-classroom experiences, in conjunction with university course work, help students integrate educational theory, research, and classroom practice. Technology is integrated throughout the programs to support students' learning. Additionally, faculty academic advisors build strong mentoring relationships with students, monitoring and supporting students' progress through their programs of study. Students are paired with experienced first-year advisors to help navigate their initial transition to the college, then linked to faculty advisors whose academic interests overlap the students’ for the remainder of their program.
Recently Offered Courses
Language & Literacy Learning in Young Children; Practicum in Teaching Early Childhood Reading & Language Arts; Methods of Language & Literacy Instruction in Early Childhood; Parents & Their Developing Children; Curriculum Programming - Age 3 through Kindergarten; Young Children’s Mathematical Thinking. Language Arts in Elementary Schools; Practicum in Elementary Sciences; Managing Instructional Settings; Student Teaching Seminar-Elementary; Society, the School and the Teacher; Introduction to Classroom Technologies.
Vanderbilt students seeking teacher licensure apply through the Office of Teacher Licensure at Vanderbilt and must meet licensure requirements at the time of their graduation. Each year, teacher licensure candidates should consult the current Vanderbilt Undergraduate Catalog, the Undergraduate Guide to Teacher Licensure published by the Vanderbilt Office of Teacher Licensure, and the Peabody College Undergraduate Handbook published by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
Kudos from our Graduates
The following quotes are from a recent survey of graduates:
“Altogether an incredible program!”
“…fantastic advisor who really knew me and worked with me.”
“I hope you realize how essential you were in helping me... Not only by giving me emotional support and practical advice for the interview, but in providing me with curriculum and instruction that literally changed my life.”
“The best part of my experience at Peabody was the unbelievable amount of first-hand, practical classroom exposure. I was able to apply the theoretical information that I learned in my courses to a practical experience. This opportunity has been invaluable to my growth as a teacher.”
“I feel I have been exceptionally well-prepared. I feel qualified to initiate and conduct my own professional development, as well as handle my own classroom.”
“I have never loved learning so much! I think the professors are excellent, and the practica and student teaching are so vital.”
Grace McKinney (B.S. 2015): After graduating Magna Cum Laude, Grace was accepted into the prestigious Simmons College, where she pursued a Masters of Arts in Children’s Literature. Grace now teaches in Cambridge, MA, as a part of the Wildflower Network, a web of microschools developed in partnership with the MIT Social Computing Lab.
Leslie Gorzkowski (B.S. 2015): After receiving the Elementary Education award for Professional Promise, Leslie returned to Connecticut, where she teaches First Grade in the New Haven public school district.
Jesse Neugebauer (B.S. 2013): Jesse, Peabody College’s Founder’s Medalist in 2013, taught first at Churchwell Museum Magnet School in Nashville, TN in a pilot classroom serving third grade boys in a classroom integrating the arts across traditional subject matter before being nominated as Teacher of the Year at Sylvan Park Elementary School.
Michael Beno (B.S. 2012): Michael, Peabody College's Founder's Medalist in 2012, teaches at Glenview Elementary in Nashville, TN. Michael completed his MEd in Second Language Learners at Vanderbilt and is recognized as a leader on his grade level team developing common assessments in reading and mathematics to measure students’ progress across the grade level. Michael teaches in a multi-language classroom, and was honored as Teacher of the Year for Glenview in 2017.
Katie Mustian (B.S. 2012): After graduation, Katie taught for two years in Abu Dhabi where her classroom was evaluated as part of an on-going research study and was rated highly in terms of the richness of the language environment. Katie returned to the US to work in the District of Columbia public schools, where she launched a multiage classroom initiative that has been adopted across the district.
Faculty within the Department of Teaching and Learning are involved in a variety of research projects that impact teacher, schools and policies across the globe. The department is known for work in several areas, including mathematics and science education, language and literacy, and work in classroom environments and management. This research is incorporated into the Peabody curriculum, enhancing the educational preparation of Peabody teacher education students and preparing them to succeed as educators in their own classrooms, schools, and school systems.
Director of Undergraduate Education
Department of Teaching and Learning