If you want to make a difference, you won't wait long.

That's because at Ball State, elementary education students are active in the community from the very first semester. The program's introductory class involves a service-learning component geared toward working alongside the community to help children succeed.

This community-engaged learning supports the development of "community teachers" who contribute to and participate in a collective will to make educational equity a reality for all children.

Community involvement isn't just about serving our neighbors. The benefits are mutual. These experiences can provide you with opportunities to grow through real-world learning.

Schools Within the Context of Community is an immersive, 18-credit hour semester that emphasizes how understanding a child's community is essential to being a good teacher. 

Students complete a practicum assignment at a high-need elementary school. They also spend time at a local community center, developing relationships with children, families, community members, and community mentors.

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Faculty Supervisors

Eva Zygmunt
Kristin Cipollone


Students majoring in elementary education may enroll in a block of courses during the Fall semester that Ball State faculty members teach in a school in urban Indianapolis. You must be admitted to the teaching program to participate in the Urban Semester.


Veronica Fife-Demski

Mathematics in Cultural Contexts is a 12-credit hour immersive learning experience offered during Spring semester to elementary education students.

This unique combination of courses incorporates being mentored by a classroom teacher for two days a week in a local elementary classroom, as well as a variety of opportunities to connect with families and education policy makers.

Students participate in cross-disciplinary projects that develop skills for fostering learning in general, but more specifically, mathematical proficiency. Students also develop a perspective that includes the cultural contexts of children's lives and encourages the extension and integration of children's mathematical learning experiences. Strengthening the home to school connection is fostered through a Family Math Night event.

Faculty Supervisor


This immersive project involves partnering with local public and charter schools to provide a safe, structured learning environment during summer for Delaware County children.

Ball State students receive 6 credit hours for developing and implementing a science, reading, and math-based curriculum tailored to combat summer learning loss in elementary-aged students.

Candidates experience more than 50 hours of contact time with children, veteran teachers, and community partners. These standards-based, creative, hands-on lessons are taught during a five-week camp at Camp Adventure in Muncie. Preservice candidates not only plan and teach academic-based lessons, but also incorporate fun, team-building, and physically active experiences.

Children participate in outdoor games, wagon rides, fishing, and a low-ropes course, in addition to small group and individualized instruction.

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Faculty Supervisor

Stacey Allred

A group of students holding up books.

Partners in Literacy (PiL) is a collaborative effort between the Ball State University Department of Elementary Education and community partners, including Burris Laboratory School, Minnetrista, and the BY5 early childhood initiative.

Students enrolled in the PiL immersive experience receive credit for EDEL 200 Planning Effective Instruction and EDRD 204 Children's Literature.

Major Projects


  • Family Adventure Day
  • Enchanted Luminaria Evening
  • Oakhurst-Children's library and literacy programs


  • Co-teach in third grade on Tuesdays and Thursdays; includes a field trip to Minnetrista in the fall
  • After-school literacy club


  • Little Free Library Network: Collaborate to create Little Free Libraries in Delaware County

Contact Peggy Rice for more information.

A group of family members sitting on the floor and playing games.

Families for Forward Thinking provides preservice teacher candidates an opportunity to work alongside and support early childhood centers and their families in Delaware County.

The program is an immersive experience within an existing 3-credit hour early childhood course. Candidates learn how to effectively communicate in an age of social media and technology, build relationships between school and home, and support families and children before kindergarten.

Candidates learn how important involved families are in a child's learning and growth. Candidates complete projects that solve real-world problems at early childhood centers. Their work makes a difference in the community and in the lives of young children.

Faculty Supervisor

Stacey Allred

The STEAM Enrichment Program provides teacher candidates opportunities to work with children involved in sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and math activities in supportive, small group settings.

Activities use basic STEAM processes and are designed around a new theme each term. The STEAM Enrichment program is part of the Burris Laboratory School after school program hosted by Ball State University students and faculty.

Faculty Supervisor: Kate Shively