Contact Us

Have a question for Elementary & Early Childhood Education? Contact us.

Dr. Nancy Casey, Chair
ncasey@sbu.edu
(716) 375-2141
Plassmann Hall Room B48
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778

What Can I Do With This Major?

ELEMENTARY & EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Become an Extraordinary Teacher of Young Children

Early Childhood EducationThe undergraduate major in elementary education helps students develop knowledge and skills necessary for effective teaching in today's elementary schools. Students are prepared for teaching in a way that is reflective of Franciscan service to others - an ideal that is central to the mission of St. Bonaventure University.

Students who major in elementary and early childhood education prepare for New York teacher certification in Childhood Education (grades 1–6) with dual certification in Early Childhood Education (birth-grade 2).

Graduates from our programs can be found in school districts all over the country, and should you want to teach outside of New York, our Certification Office will give you advice about obtaining certificates in other states.

Teachers are best prepared when they learn how to teach in real classrooms, so our program involves students in extensive field experiences beginning in freshman year. While you develop knowledge 
about teaching, you will spend a significant amount of time interning and teaching in actual classrooms. As a student seeking early childhood certification, you will work not only in elementary classrooms, but in a variety of child care and preschool settings.

Within a curriculum focusing on developmental learning theories, pedagogy, principles of classroom management, and sound educational research, SBU education majors are encouraged to be active participants as they create their own knowledge and develop as teachers.

For the two semesters before student teaching, you will be involved in a Professional Development School program where you and about 15 other SBU students (along with two faculty members) spend two days a week at a local elementary school. During those two semesters, you will develop the skills needed to create supportive learning environments for children. 

You will learn to adapt curriculum so that you can meet the learning and developmental needs of all children. By the end of your four-year program, you will be ready to work with young children, constructing learning opportunities to meet their intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs. You will be a caring, professional educator.

Casey, Nancy Cunniff

Titles/Responsibilities Department Chair
Associate Professor
Academic School
School of Education
Academic Department Elementary Education
Contact Information Office Phone: (716) 375-2141
E-Mail: ncasey@sbu.edu
Website: http://sched.sbu.edu/faculty/ncasey/ 
Office Location/Hours
Courses Taught
  • Field Block 1:  9-credit integrated experience including
    • EDUC 304. Methods, Models, and Management of Instruction 
    • EDUC 310. Methods for Teaching Elementary Social Studies and Language Arts 
    • EDUC 312. Developmental Reading 
       
  • Field Block 2:  9-credit integrated experience including 
    • EDUC 401. Diagnostic and Prescriptive Reading 
    • EDUC 425. Organization and Assessment for Elementary Classrooms 
    • EDUC 430. Methods for Teaching Elementary Science, Math and Technology 

 

  • EDUC 505. Technology for Educators and Counselors 
  • University 101: Skills for the Good Journey
Academic Degrees
  • Ed.D., Instructional Technology and Media, specializing in Computing in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1988 
    • Dissertation title: "The Graphical Representation of Programming: A Study of the Comprehension of Novice Programmers."
     
  • M.A., Computing in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1983
  • M.Ed., Early Childhood Education, Rutgers University, 1979
  • B.A., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, College of St. Elizabeth, 1974
Other Education
Professional Background
Accomplishments
  • Principal investigator on a $1.16 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3), 1999-2003
  • Development of electronic portfolio design and process for St. Bonaventure University’s School of Education graduates
    • Casey, N. (2003). "From 0 to 60: Up to Speed with eFolios in One Year."  Technology in Teacher Education Annual, 2003. Charlottesville, Va: Association for Advancement in Computing in Education. Presented at SITE 2003.
    • Casey, N.  (2001). "Growing Towards Excellence: A Developmental Approach to Portfolio Development for Beginning Teachers." ACEI Annual Conference, Toronto, CA:  April 2001.
    • Casey, N. (2001). "E-Folios for Educators: Electronic – and Truly Portable – Portfolios." PAC-TE Annual Conference, Hershey, Pa. October 2001.
     
  • Seel, N.M. & Casey, N. (2003). Changing conceptions of technological literacy.  In P. Attewell & N.M. Seel, (Eds.) "Disadvantaged Teens and Computer Technologies." New York: Waxman Publishing Co.
  • Taylor, R. P. & Cunniff, N. (1988). Moving computing in education beyond rhetoric. Teachers College Record,  89:3, 360-372.
Teaching Philosophy

I am a teacher.  I believe that teachers have the most important role in our society. They have the awesome responsibility of supporting, leading, guiding and coaxing others as they learn. They have the enviable opportunity to see others discover and to see learners embrace new worlds. Being a teacher is a way of thinking about the world. It compels one to view every interaction with an eye towards growth -- of self and others. This is not a simple vocation.

I am a constructivist educator. As a constructivist, I believe that each learner builds his or her own understanding of the world. As Vygotsky proposed, learning is socially constructed, and it is through interactions with others that learning takes place. Students need opportunities to collaborate with each other and with me as they learn and learn to teach. I want my students to become empowered by their own learning and development as teachers. I continuously work to create situations where students can take charge of what they need to learn.

Teaching university students is a continuously challenging situation. My beliefs about teaching and learning in this setting are influenced to a large degree by Piagetian theory. Students must experience disequilibrium and cognitive dissonance in order to learn. Students must have experiences that cause them an acceptable degree of cognitive discomfort, but in situations where they can build relationships between what they already know and the new learning.

As a teacher, I am a learner. I seek challenges; I solve problems. I believe that I must travel alongside my students in the teaching-learning process. I have come to believe that there are no perfect tools and no exclusively "right" ways to teach. I embrace new technologies with an appreciation of the worlds they can help us explore, but I also appreciate traditional techniques.

The educational context specific to a pre-professional undergraduate school in which all students major in education is unique. These students have already made difficult and important life choices. They have chosen the field of education as their career, and thus their study is a recursive activity. Even more importantly, the education about education should be metacognitive. I believe that I have a responsibility to help my students develop as teachers who make a difference, teachers whose classrooms will be healthy, supportive environments in which their own students can grow and learn.

Current Research Interests/Projects
  • Parent perceptions of first-year students’ transition difficulties
  • College teaching: Improved student engagement through active and collaborative teaching
  • Problems faced by first-year college students: barrier to success
Other Interests/Community Involvement

Childhood Studies Fact Sheet Image