Early and Elementary Education in Italy
1-7 graduate credits in Education
Spring semester course with travel dates: 24 February – 8 March 2018
$3,000 + airfare + VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Dr. Sharon Zumbrunn
Dr. Joan Rhodes
15 November 2017
The Global Education Office and the VCU School of Education, in conjunction with Study Abroad Italy (SAI), are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for Early Childhood and Elementary Education students registering for Block C of the Master’s of Teaching program, and senior/graduate level education majors and practicing educators. Participants will explore concepts of their core courses through immersion in diverse educational settings in Florence. Observing and teaching in classrooms with young English Language Learners (ELLs), they will gain firsthand experience with learning environments and literacy development while simultaneously exploring the sights, sounds, and culture of Italy. The impact of language, literacy, and culture on instruction and communication will be highlighted in course activities and assignments. Doctoral students in Education and other graduate students in education may contact the instructors for consideration for program enrollment. An additional 1 credit course focusing on the study of early childhood pedagogy is open to professional educators and senior/graduate level students interested in the early childhood field who are not enrolled in the M.T. in Early/Elementary Education program.
Course and Credit Options
- TEDU 500 Special Topics: Early Childhood Pedagogies (1 credit, open to student with senior/graduate status or practicing educators)
- TEDU 566: Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties (4 credits)
- EDUS 607: Advanced Educational Psychology (3 credits)
The Education Abroad Office will enroll students in the courses upon their acceptance to the program.
This two-week study abroad program offers two options for participation. The first is one component of two semester-long courses in the Early/Elementary Education program. The other is a one-credit course aimed at senior/graduate level students and practicing educators. All participants will immerse themselves in diverse educational settings throughout their time in Italy. In addition to providing English language instruction to elementary school students in Italian schools, participants will focus their learning on understanding teaching strategies needed to meet the varied needs of learners in the United States. The impact of language, literacy, and culture on instruction and communication will be highlighted in course activities and assignments.
The reading course offered during the study abroad will have an extensive emphasis on working with English Language Learners (ELLs). Additionally, students will have an opportunity to observe the early literacy programs housed in Reggio Emilia, Waldorf Steiner, and Montessori centers developed in Italy. Both courses are rigorous and include additional reading, completion of a travel journal, and additional class meetings when compared to traditional on-campus sections.
TEDU 500: Early Childhood Pedagogy is designed as an introduction to early childhood pedagogies which originated in Europe including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and the Waldorf-Steiner methods. The course involves observing and evaluating the implementation of these methods as well as those of the International Baccalaureate PYP program in a variety of school settings. Emphasis is placed on the historical development of each approach, its underlying theories and the critical comparison of the approaches’ use in Italian and American preschool and early elementary classrooms. Throughout the program students will be asked to reflect on their own pedagogical approaches and ways their lived experience abroad can enhance their own instructional practices.
for more program details.
The Early/ Elementary Education in Italy program is open to VCU students in the M.T. Early/ Elementary Education program who have completed Practicum A, doctoral students and graduate students in Education. The trip will be integrated with TEDU 566: Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties and EDUS 607: Advanced Educational Psychology. As the trip will extend one week beyond VCU Spring Break, faculty of students' other spring courses will be informed, and study abroad students will be expected to complete any work they miss in advance of the travel program. Additionally, faculty will be asked to consider offering alternative assignments that can be completed in the study abroad environment.
TEDU 500 is open to students with senior or graduate status, or practicing educators.
An academic letter of reference is required.
If maximum enrollment is reached, student class standing and interviews will be used as selection criteria.
Accommodations and Excursions
Students will be housed in hotels for the duration of the program. Standard student rooms will be double or triple occupancy. Continental breakfast is included. For an additional cost, a limited number of single rooms may be available.
Excursions will include:
- Walking tour of Florence
- The Accademia Museum (home of Michaelangelo’s David)
- Tour of Palazzo Vecchio (City Hall)
- Day trips Milan, Assisi, Reggio Emilia
The program will be led by Dr. Sharon Zumbrunn (see bio
) and Dr. Joan Rhodes (see bio
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. The $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program. One charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee); the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear in spring 2017.
While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged,
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged,
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged.
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time