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Explore the elementary-middle education bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire elementary-middle education: grades 4K-9 bachelor's degree leads to licensure to teach grades K-9 in Wisconsin elementary and middle-level schools.

One of the largest majors at UW-Eau Claire, the elementary-middle education major is a competitive and selective program that offers rigorous coursework, partnerships with local school districts and strong collaboration among exceptional faculty. Exploring topics like social justice and inclusive practices, classroom environment, and relationship development, you'll learn effective teaching strategies for all learners.  

Courses cover a variety of teaching methods, instructional materials and evaluation techniques for multiple subjects, including literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, technology and the performing arts. This major also includes significant engagement with liberal arts courses, an approach that will help you develop a broad understanding of elementary and middle school curriculum and prepare you to teach all subjects.  

Professional development and career preparation are key focuses of the program. In addition to a full semester of student teaching, you will also have multiple opportunities to assist teachers in their classroom, helping you to build your leadership skills, identify your preferred teaching style and round out your resume. Prior to graduating, you will complete a capstone seminar, where you will refine and demonstrate competence in instructional planning, instructional delivery and other collaborative and professional practices.

Many UWEC education majors choose to take their learning a step further by studying abroad, enrolling in cultural immersion programming or participating in the National Student Exchange program. These experiences enable you to explore new societies, traditions and educational practices across the globe, shaping you into an informed, culturally competent teacher. 

Upon graduation, you'll have uncovered your personal philosophy of education and be ready to educate, mentor and guide your future students. Our alumni go on to change lives and communities for the better, ensuring that children obtain the knowledge and skills needed to not just grow — but to thrive. 

Educating on and off the mat

Thanks to Team IMPACT, Samuel Sedelbauer, a 10-year-old fourth-grader who has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, had the unique opportunity to join the Blugold wrestling team. And elementary education major Sam Melton jumped at the opportunity to help him.

Working alongside Team IMPACT, a national organization that matches children who have serious or chronic illnesses with college sports teams, Sam helped create a plan for working with Samuel and introducing him to the sport. Sam knew how to show Samuel his love for wrestling and all that sports — and the Blugold team — could offer him. But what he didn't expect was just how much Samuel could offer them as well. It's a lesson, he said, that will better prepare him for his career in teaching — and one that reaffirmed he has chosen the right major. 

"Working with Samuel has really impacted me in wanting to work with children," Sam said. "I love kids — their intensity and their love for learning and trying new things. The biggest thing Sam has done is to just encourage us all to take advantage of every opportunity.” 

Why elementary-middle education: grades 4k-9 at UW-Eau Claire?

Expansive studies. Curriculum throughout the major introduces you to the roles and responsibilities of a professional educator at the elementary and middle school level and prepares you to become a culturally responsive teacher. Courses explore how to teach diverse learners, how to motivate and engage students in their learning and how to assess student learning using a variety of approaches. Through a series of courses and experiences emphasizing reflection, decision-making and collaborative leadership, students develop knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for effective teaching in the 21st century.

Exceptional preparation. A semester spent student teaching will give you firsthand experience working with children in your own classroom. To introduce you to multiple learning environments and provide practice working with different ages, the semester is divided into two nine-week placements — one at the elementary level and one at the middle school level. This unique approach can help you identify your preferred career path and give you direct experience at each level of your licensure.

Study abroad opportunities. The education for equity and justice department offers education-specific study abroad programs, where you will be immersed in local schools and communities around the globe. Explore how different societies educate their youth and gain new ideas about how educators reach their students. Being able to develop teaching techniques in another country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won't want to miss. 

Connection to local employers. To help you explore career opportunities and make valuable connections, we host an annual Education Job Fair, an on-campus career fair specific for those looking to enter the field of education. This event is an excellent opportunity to make connections and submit your resume for current and future job openings.

Cultural immersion and service-learning experiences. Many education majors choose to take their education to the next level by participating in cultural immersions. You may participate in programming at the Aldine School District in Houston, Texas; volunteer in classrooms in the Washington D.C. area; or work as a teacher’s aide in Tucson, Arizona. These experiences often lead to new ways of thinking and a better understanding of others. 

Education studies students in Tucson for immersion abotu culturally responsive teaching

Shaping culturally responsive educators

A spring break immersion program is helping future teachers learn how to create culturally responsive instruction. For 10 days UWEC students observed Tucson Unified School District teachers, learning how students' unique cultural strengths can be identified and nurtured to promote achievement and a sense of well-being about their cultural place in the world. The growing approach has been shown to be effective in eliminating the achievement gap between demographics in diverse populations — and is one that left quite an impact on Chelsea Ennen.

"In future classrooms, I will take more initiative to teach about a variety of cultures and through different lenses," she said. "It will be important to understand that I do not know everything about other cultures, so I will need to allow students to share their own personal stories, culture and familial history." 

The program is an excellent example of the many unique learning opportunities available to students and speaks to how well our future teachers are prepared to make a positive, lasting impact on all of their students. 

Quick facts

Elementary-middle education program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program will earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. 
Student organizations
  • Aspiring Educators
  • Blugold Beginnings
  • American String Teachers Association (ASTA)
  • Collegiate National Association for Music Educators (CNAfME)

Licensure information

The United States Department of Education requires institutions to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Please note:

  1. The licensure information assumes that a student has obtained a Wisconsin Teaching License PRIOR to applying for a teaching license in another state.
  2. "Meets requirements" means that a student is eligible for a license with stipulations, typically for 1-3 years, in that state. The stipulations are likely to be specific testing requirements and/or competency through a course or examination of the history, culture and/or constitution of the specific state. In some instances, additional stipulations might be added.
  3. State licensure requirements may change at any time. While the listing will be updated annually, a student must be aware that any particular state could move from Does Not Meet to Meets to Undetermined and back again over the course of a degree program.
  4. Licensure questions should be referred to the Teacher Education Program Office (tep@uwec.edu).

The requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming, District of Columbia

The requirements of this program do not meet licensure in the following states: Delaware, New Jersey, New York

It has not been determined whether the requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

What can I do with an elementary-middle education: grades 4k-9 degree from UWEC?

UW-Eau Claire has earned a reputation for the high quality of its preparation of teachers — and you don’t have to look very far to find a Blugold educator. Our renowned program produces expert educators who engage students with innovative approaches. UW–Eau Claire graduates teach in every public school district right here in the local Chippewa Valley and can also be found throughout Wisconsin and the United States. Because our students are licensed to work with a wide range of age levels, our graduates are in high demand. 

Where are elementary-middle education alumni now?

UW-Eau Claire has helped me to become independent, find my voice, and be able to do what I am passionate about — teaching.

Hannah Salzwedel Elementary Education
Future teachers gain cultural competencies in DC

Creating a safe place

Elementary education major Annie Klecker is determined to ensure that all her future students will find her classrooms to be welcoming and inclusive. And lessons learned during a recent immersion program will help her do just that.

Working in Milwaukee as well as Maryland and Washington, D.C., Annie was among several Blugolds who recently came together to help educate and learn from a variety of diverse learners. The UWEC team focused on the social and historical contexts of schooling and education across the U.S., including the impact of race, class, gender, language, sexual orientation, disability and other differences. The unique program aims to help students become culturally relevant teachers, which is one the best ways to promote the success of all children and youth.

“I gained experience working in a classroom full of kids who were all different from me in many ways, which will help me be more prepared to teach students in my future classroom who have different cultural backgrounds than my own," Annie explained. "It also really reinforced my goal to be an elementary school teacher, as well as my belief that differences are something we should embrace and celebrate, rather than try to hide, especially in elementary grades.”

 

Elementary-middle education bachelor's degree program curriculum

Curriculum within the elementary-middle education: grades 4K-9 bachelor's degree covers content and teaching strategies appropriate for students in grades 4K-9. Completion of the major leads to Elementary-Middle School licensure. 

What classes do elementary-middle education: grades 4k-9 majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the comprehensive elementary-middle education: grades 4K-9 major in the UWEC course catalog.

Elementary education graduate Eden Day poses for a photograph.

Teaching in Thailand

During her time at UWEC, Eden Day was introduced to important topics that would help her become a better educator. These included lessons on cultural competence in the classroom and ways to effectively teach students of all backgrounds. These courses inspired her to teach abroad someday, and now she is doing just that.

Currently teaching English and science in Thailand, Eden knows that stepping out of her comfort zone at UWEC — through those eye-opening courses and embracing multiple student teaching placements — gave her the tools and confidence to bring her passion for teaching across the world. She shares that same piece of advice for future Blugolds:

"My advice to you as a future Blugold is to not let your anxieties or comfort hold you back in life. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t taken a leap into the unknown. I encourage you to do the same."

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor's degree in elementary education? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Photo of students walking in front of Centennial Hall

Education for Equity and Justice

Centennial Hall 3215
1698 Park Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Visit the Education for Equity and Justice department website

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