Everyone wants them, and everyone needs them. Demand for trained Early Childhood Education professionals is exploding!
At the national level there has been steadily growing support for early childhood education, according to Becky Garske, Coordinator of Early Childhood Education in the Division of Fine Arts and Social Sciences at Mott Community College.
Add to that the need for more early childhood education classrooms in Flint to address the needs of children exposed to lead, and the result is a huge need for qualified people to fill open positions.
“We were already teaching our students how to identify and work with developmental issues related to lead exposure,” said Susan Lechota, Director of the Mott Community College Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC), of the concern over lead exposure.
“We have a lot of risk factors county-wide,” said Lechota. “Developmental delays due to lead can occur in many situations, but because of the Flint water lead crisis we may see an increase in symptoms. A positive outcome of the lead crisis is that it has helped shine a light on the importance of early childhood education.”
The effects of lead exposure are addressed in the Adaptive Curriculum class, as are other environmental toxins and their impact on growth and development. In the aftermath of the water crisis, the program has been focusing on the impact of lead exposure more. “Our students have good strategies in their professional ‘tool kit’ when it comes to developmental delays,” said Lechota.
The Early Childhood Education Program at Mott Community College is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and offers three programs for those interested in working in the field, including: the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA); the Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education; and the Early Childhood Education Certificate of Achievement.
The Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) prepares students for the CDA exam. Students who want to work in an early childhood center and program can earn the CDA as an entry-level certificate. This credential PLUS ANY Associate’s degree qualifies one to be an assistant teacher in a Head Start or GSRP preschool program.
The Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education enables graduates to be assistant teachers in early childhood or head start classrooms and is transferable as part of an Early Childhood Bachelor’s degree or K-8 teaching certificate program.
The Early Childhood Education Certificate is designed for teachers who are pursuing or are already certified in K-8 education. It enables them to teach 0-5 year olds by preparing them to get the ZS Endorsement. ZS endorsement is a credential that enables teachers to be “highly qualified” to teach birth to grade 3.
All students complete rotations in the two early childhood labs on campus, which may include time at Mott’s Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC). The ECLC is a working lab where students earn 45-200 hours of on-the-job-training. The ECLC provides a high-quality learning environment for children of Mott Community College students and staff, as well as for children from the community. It is licensed to provide child care for children ages 2.5 to 5 years of age and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
In Early Childhood Education classes, students learn how to set up an early childhood classroom environment, complete with music and movement, pre-school curriculum, an infant and toddler environment and adaptive environments for six different disabilities.
“A lot of our students get job offers before they graduate,” said Garske. “We are conscientious and intentional about opening options for our students to continue on to earn their Bachelor’s degree.
Those options include transfer agreements with Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, Rochester College and UM-Flint.
For more information about the Early Childhood Education Program at Mott Community College, visit http://mcc.edu/fass/fa_earlychildhood-gp.shtml or call 810-762-0489.