Teacher Training: Early Education

Updated |
Teacher Training: Early Education
Once merely an afterthought in education, early education may finally be getting the critical attention it deserves. Learn more about how community colleges are playing a role in discovering the value of comprehensive training in early education.
Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori model of education, believed that the first three years of a child's life are critical to emotional and mental development. Alas, until recently, those who were given the responsibility of caring for and educating these youngsters were primarily untrained and underpaid. Fortunately, the tide appears to be changing on training early childhood educators, and community colleges are at the forefront of the new trend. We will take a look at how early training impacts children and what community colleges are doing to raise a new generation of early childhood educators equipped to answer the call.
The Importance of Early Childhood Education

According to a report in Community College Week, more research continues to surface regarding the importance of the years from birth to age three. This developmental time is when a child's brain begins making connections to his outer world. This age group has been historically dubbed the future of our nation, yet the educational system rarely puts in the time, effort and money to educate this demographic as effectively as it could. In fact, those at the front of the public education movement often regard early childhood education as an afterthought – after the more important issues like school choice, student performance, and educational standards.

A report by the New American Foundation called attention to the educational plight of our young in a report in CCW that stated pre-kindergarten education has "long been the poor stepchild of the education system, with fewer resources, spotty quality standards, and limited attention to children's learning outcomes. To provide children with a solid foundation for success before they enter school, we need to start treating pre-K as a fundamental component of the education system; not an optional add-on." The report added, "Teachers working with young children must have higher education levels that enable them to support that development.
Bringing up the Standards
To that end, many states are implementing stricter standards for the qualifications of pre-K teaching staff. Many programs across the country now require teachers at this level to have a minimum of an associate's degree in early childhood education. Head Start, a federal early childhood education program for low-income families, now requires all early childhood teachers to have an associate's degree and lead teachers must have a bachelor's degree for that position. A new standard that goes into effect next year requires half of all Head Start teachers to have four-year degrees before they can be hired.
Some states are also beginning to tighten their requirements for early childhood educators, and many in the field predict that the standards across the country will slowly require teachers to have more education in their field to land the best jobs possible. Despite the low pay many early childhood educators face, the abundance of employment options turns many to this field while in school. Most community colleges boast a nearly 100 percent placement rate for graduates of their early childhood education programs. We have an example of some of the programs currently available at community colleges around the country.

St. Louis Community College

This community college offers a variety of degree options for those pursuing a career in early childhood education. Training includes class lectures, observation studies and practical field work with mentor teachers. According to the college website, both certification and an associate's degree are available in this field. These credentials can help you get a good job at a day care center, preschool or before and after school care. The college also states that those who receive an AAS degree through their school will be able to find employment immediately after graduation.

This video describes the Early Care and Education program at Saint Louis Community College which offers students a variety of degree options and pathways of study. Students will investigate leading theories of child development and methodologies for curriculum planning and assessment. Through class lectures, observation studies, field work with mentor teachers, service learning, and opportunities for discussion with award-winning faculty, students will engage with the best practices designed for the study of early education.

In Pennsylvania, those interested in a career in early childhood education can explore their options at Community College of Allegheny County. This institution offers certification in Early Education and Child Development, as well as an associate's degree in Education and Child Development. Students who complete the two-year program may wish to transfer to a teacher certification program after graduation to expand their options.
CCAC annually educates 33,000 credit students through 170 degree, certificate, and transfer programs and offers non-credit and workforce development courses to 30,000 students. The learning-centered institution's mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region's residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC's quality programs enable students to transfer credits to 520 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond.
For those interested in pursuing training in the Montessori model of early childhood education, South Mountain Community College in Arizona is a good choice. This school offers a program that is fully accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. The program demonstrates how to act as a guide rather than an instructor, allowing students to explore the world on their own terms.
Early childhood education appears to finally be getting the attention it deserves. If you are interested in this field, contact the community college in your area to find out if they offer an early childhood education program for you.
Questions? Contacts us on Facebook. @communitycollegereview

Additional Resources [+]
comments powered by Disqus
Why You Should Earn Your Teacher Certification in Community College
Why You Should Earn Your Teacher Certification in Community College
Careers: Teaching
Careers: Teaching
Recent Articles
Learn about the Skills for America’s Future program, which is specifically designed to create community college training programs based upon partner companies’ needs. Gap, Accenture, PG&E and others have already joined – and now they’re looking for students for their training programs.
The COVID pandemic forced airlines and all their related and ancillary businesses to shed employees. Consequently, as things ramp back up post-COIVD, there are tens of thousands of job opportunities in the sector. Your community college has the resources to prepare you and refresh your skills of new opportunities.
Want to be a teacher? Wondering what's involved and where to start? Your community college has answers to those questions and many more.

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Career Training

Teaching Careers

Great teaching careers are started at community colleges. Keep up to date on the latest hiring standards, education requirements, and continuing education for teacher initiatives. Learn what role community colleges play in furthering the skills of future and current teachers and what degrees are the most lucrative.