Elementary Education and Youth Development

If you are passionate about working with children in schools or other settings, the Department of Elementary Education and Youth Development is the place for you.

Our faculty and staff are dedicated to helping students become compassionate and knowledgeable professionals who have the commitment, skills, and talent to teach and inspire; to reach out to children, families and communities; or to advocate for the rights and needs of children. If you hope to find a rewarding career working with children, your coursework at PSU will help you develop the knowledge you need, your internships and field work will provide you real-world experiences for a jump-start on your career, and the personal and professional connections you develop here will form the core of a solid support network as you begin your professional life.

What will you find in our department?

  • Dedicated faculty. We have a strong group of faculty, many of whom are nationally and internationally recognized for their work, and most of whom have extensive professional experience with children in and out of the classroom. The best thing about our faculty, though, is that their #1 priority is helping you learn. You will find your professors approachable, enthusiastic and caring.
  • A close-knit student body. Our students quickly come to know each other well because of small class sizes and a carefully planned curriculum. You will find yourself enjoying time with fellow majors both in and out of the classroom because of your shared interests, activities, and enthusiasm.
    Hannah K
    Hannah Kelly, Class of 2015


Want to hear what our students and alumni have to say? Click the photo to learn more.

  • Practical, real-world experience. As early as your first year at PSU you will have the opportunity to get out in the field and work with children both in and out of school settings. These experiences give you a chance to practice what you are learning, gain new skills and knowledge, and discover exactly what it is you want to do with your degree.
  • A strong tradition of excellence. PSU is a top name in the region for developing dedicated professionals who have the skills, vision, commitment, and compassion to work with children and families in schools and communities. Come join our tradition and see how we can help you grow into a passionate and effective professional.
  • Two majors and time to decide! We offer two majors, which you can learn more about by clicking the links below.
    • Elementary Education is for you if you want to be a classroom teacher, certified for grades K-6 or K-8.
    • Youth Development is for you if you know you love working with children but you would prefer to work outside of a traditional classroom.
    • Not sure yet? That’s okay, too! We designed our  programs so that you can change your mind. The coursework is the same for both majors for the first five semesters. During your last three semesters you will specialize and focus on the skills you need most either to become a teacher or to pursue other careers working with children. Until then, you will be in classes with students from both majors.
  • Lots of other opportunities.