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Learn about K-12 education with online courses and programs

In many countries, children are required to attend school starting at kindergarten age and progressing through to the completion of high school. This is often referred to as K-12 education. Explore teaching methods and techniques with courses on edX.
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What is K-12 education?

K–12 is a term that encompasses a broad range of educational milestones, beginning with kindergarten (K) and ending with high school graduation (12th grade). Many education systems around the world operate on a K–12 model, which is typically broken down into four components:

  • Kindergarten, the first year of formal schooling, helps students build foundational skills.

  • Elementary school expands topics of study while allowing students to further develop their skills.

  • Middle school, or junior high school, fosters social skills and independence, and may introduce students to elective courses.

  • High school exposes students to a wider range of topics and prepares them for potential career paths following graduation.

As students advance through the education system, they can expect their coursework to increase in complexity and depth. Once they have successfully completed high school, they may decide to pursue further education or enter the workforce. The K–12 education they receive can provide them with the foundational skills and knowledge they need to pursue their goals.

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K-12 education course curriculum

Teachers, administrators, parents, and even students can all benefit from exploring K–12 education principles. Interested in classroom interaction? You might take a course that can help you develop the tools to foster engaged, effective, and equitable classroom communication. Looking for alternative methods for learning math? Specialized classes can provide strategies for approaching the subject from a new perspective.

Learning about how to use this tool can supplement your abilities as an educator. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible, hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore K-12 education jobs

Learning about K–12 education can provide important insights into the learning and development of young people. These abilities can be helpful in a number of roles, including:

  • K–12 principal: Makes informed decisions about curriculum development, resource allocation, staff management, and school policies.Footnote 1

  • Educational psychologist: Assesses students' learning and behavioral issues, provides counseling and support, and develops interventions to address challenges.Footnote 2

  • Instructional designer: Creates online courses, educational videos, and interactive learning experiences that cater to different learning styles and developmental stages.Footnote 3

  • Librarian: Curates educational resources, books, and media that align with K–12 learning objectives and cater to different age groups.Footnote 4

  • Education technology developer: Creates educational apps, software, and online platforms that align with learning objectives and engage students.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant skills in a coding boot camp. However, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in education, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.