Elementary Education (K-6)

Elementary Education Major (K-6)

Animated by a conceptual framework emphasizing character, knowledge and service, graduates from Ave Maria University’s Education Department programs will be individuals of integrity and good moral character, knowledgeable in the areas of the Christian cultural and philosophical tradition, knowledgeable in educational philosophy, learning theory, and effective pedagogy and oriented toward a life of love and service to others.

The mission of the Ave Maria University Education Department is to further teaching, inquiry and scholarship in the field of education with a special focus on Catholic and classical education. Students who graduate from the University with a Major in Education will benefit from the formation received from the Ave Maria University Core Curriculum and will possess knowledge of all facets of current educational systems and methodologies.

Founded on the belief that the human person seeks knowledge, love and happiness and is naturally oriented toward truth, we believe that education is a powerful tool to help others flourish. We believe that the role of an educator is to be a role model: to be a living, coherent, and sincere witness to a love for life, knowledge, reality and service to others.  A deep concern about others, about their welfare, dignity and freedom, is at the core of the student-teacher relationship. The degree to which our teacher candidates hold a love for reality, a passion for the subject under consideration, and a love for others, is the degree to which they will be successful educators. All of the state of the art pedagogical skills and professional practices our teacher candidates master during their time in our program will build on this foundation. While examining the field of education using methodologies and practices proper to the discipline, the program will maintain a deliberate and explicit foundation in the philosophical and theological insights of the Catholic tradition, especially its understandings related to the nature and dignity of the human person, the nature of Truth, and the unity of all knowledge as ultimately rooted in the order of God and creation. The Program’s belief is that knowledge is attained and demonstrated when the human intellect, informed by the senses, judges things rightly. As knowledge climbs to more abstract heights, human freedom and depth of analysis plays a critical role in discovering and embracing deeper realities of the human condition and the world around us. Holding that education is more than simply preparing K-12 students for college and career, our teacher candidates will also attend to human liberation and orient their students to transcendental realities related to truth, beauty and goodness. Toward this end the complete Ave Maria University Educational program provides a strong undergraduate preparation in the liberal arts, a robust series of professional education courses, and significant real-world educational experience.

Teacher Candidate Outcomes
  • Teacher candidates will be able to articulate the unique elements of Catholic and classical educational paradigms and Catholic educational philosophy.
  • Teacher candidates will demonstrate understanding and practice of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of successful teachers and as structured by Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP’s): 
    • The Learning Environment: Management and Organization
    • Instructional Delivery and Facilitation          
    • Instructional Assessment
    • Professionalism and Continuous Improvement
    • Ethical Conduct
  • Teacher candidates will demonstrate the ability to serve others as teachers by developing, teaching, assessing and managing a classroom with a positive impact on student learning in diverse school settings.
Professional Dispositions of Teacher Candidates
Having a desire for or an affinity to teaching is a good sign that one is called to the field of education. Some skills and habits can be acquired to assist in effectiveness as a teacher, and certain other qualities are innate, such as having an empathetic and caring personality. Below is a list of dispositions that the Ave Maria Education Department as identified as important for those seeking to enter the teaching profession:

  • is a person of  integrity, transparency, consistency and honesty who exhibits the highest professional ethics.
  • is a person of fairness and openness who is committed to recognizing the worth and dignity of all students in their care through healthy and cooperative relationships.
  • is passionate about learning.
  • is intellectually and academically curious.
  • is joyful and engaging in sharing what has been learned.
  • is active and willing in  seeking out and accepting suggestions for professional improvement toward continued growth and learning.
  • is knowledgeable about research based best practices in education.
  • is supportive, and encouraging of all students.
  • is considerate of student learning style, background, and need, when determining learning strategies and how best to meet and accommodate the needs of individual students in light of research based best practices.
  • is able to use quality assessments to identify signs of student difficulty, especially in reading and computational processes, and thereby design and adjust instruction to affect student improvement.
  • is clear in establishing high expectations for all students in the belief that all students can learn.

Chair of the Department: Dr. Dan Guernsey