The PK-4 program focuses on preparing candidates to teach children as young as 3 years old. A growing body of research, including studies on brain development, demonstrates that the experiences of the first years of life have a decisive and long-lasting impact on all areas of children’s later development and learning. This research shows that young learners have unique needs and learn in different ways than older children. Attention to social and emotional development is essential in young children’s school experience. Conceptual development in young children is based on a foundation of direct experience that enables them to later understand abstract concepts. In order for young children to master literacy skills, they need to learn how to communicate, to acquire and understand vocabulary and linguistic concepts, and to develop the ability to recognize and decode print and to understand words in context. As Christians, we believe that children are gifts from God we believe there is a growing need for Christian teachers in the early childhood classroom.
The special education emphasis at Geneva is combined with the PK-4 education program. Students in this concentration receive the entire PK-4 education experience as well as additional in-depth education in the needs of students with disabilities.
Teaching special needs students is demanding, and people drawn to this work often tend to think of teaching not merely as a job, but as a calling. At Geneva, we approach this idea of calling, as well as the field of special education in general from a Biblical perspective, which also affects how we view specially challenged students. We believe that people with disabilities have much to teach the world about what it means to be created wholly and beautifully in God’s image. We are committed, then, to learning from our special needs students, even as we teach them.
Geneva has a strong interest in preparing well-qualified Christian teachers for careers in both public and Christian schools. Programs lead to certification in Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Through inter-state certification agreements, certification is readily achieved in many other states. Geneva graduates are assured of general acceptance as teacher of the subject areas for which the college has approved programs.