The Early Childhood Education Program has earned Accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). An Associate degree and three certificate options are available in the Early Childhood Education program. The Early Childhood Education associate degree program is validated under the Connecticut Early Childhood Education Articulation Plan. Graduates of the associate degree program are eligible for admission as articulation students to any of the state’s participating baccalaureate institutions which offer Early Childhood Education Teacher Certification programs; in the University of Connecticut’s Human Development and Family Relations major; or in Charter Oak State College’s child studies concentration. In addition, any graduate of Gateway Community College Early Childhood Education Program from 2008 on is eligible to apply for the Early Childhood Teacher Credential (ECTC). The ECE program at GCC is an approved degree program for both Infant/Toddler and Preschool endorsements.
The terms for credit award and student eligibility vary under each option. However, in general, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a graduate from a validated associate degree program in Early Childhood Education in Connecticut
- Meet specific admissions requirements of the college or university into which transfer is being sought
- Complete all Early Childhood Education associate degree courses with a grade of “C” or better and meet the college’s or university’s requirements for transfer of general education
- Complete all Early Childhood Education associate degree student teaching with a grade of “C” or better in a center accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- Furthermore, if a student is seeking to transfer into an Early Childhood Education Teacher Certification program, it is strongly recommended that, prior to transfer, she or he possess the following state certification requirements:
- A score of 1,100 or better on the SAT (test date on or after April 1, 1995), or the passing of Praxis Core Academic Skills Test
- A 2.7 grade point average if seeking admission to a teacher certification education program in Connecticut.
For more information, email the Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator, Professor Carmelita Valencia-Daye at CValencia-Daye@gatewayct.edu. For scholarship information, contact the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood/CT Charts a Course website http://ctcharts.org or call 1 800 832-7784.
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“The 2010 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs describe what early childhood professionals are expected to know and do”. These Standards provide the basis for the Early Childhood Education Program at. Gateway Community College. Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students are prepared to:
Standard 1: Promoting Child Development and Learning
Students prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of a) young children’s characteristics and needs, and b) multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to c) create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.
Standard 2: Building Family and Community Relationships
Students prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They a) know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to b) create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and c) to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.
Standard 3: Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families
Students prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They a) know about and understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They b) know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies c) in a responsible way, d) in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.
Standard 4: Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Students prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They a) understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates b, c) know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and d) positively influence each child’s development and learning.
Standard 5: Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaningful Curriculum
Students prepared in early childhood degree programs a) use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They b) know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates c) use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.
Standard 6: Becoming a Professional
Students prepared in early childhood degree programs a) identify and conduct themselves as members of the early childhood profession. They b) know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They c) are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that d) integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are e) informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.
Standard 7: Early Childhood Field Experiences
Students have field experiences and clinical practice in a) at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3 through 5, 5 through 8 years) and in b) the variety of settings that offer early education (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).
In addition, “the Supportive Skills support associate degree students’ ability to gain competence in relation to the core standards. With these skills, students are better able to make use of learning opportunities provided by the program and progress in a career as an early childhood professional.”
SUPPORTIVE SKILL 1: Self-assessment and self-advocacy
SUPPORTIVE SKILL 2: Mastering and applying foundational concepts from general education
SUPPORTIVE SKILL 3: Written and verbal skills
SUPPORTIVE SKILL 4: Making connections between prior knowledge/ experience and new learning
SUPPORTIVE SKILL 5: Identifying and using professional resources
Conceptual Framework of the Early Childhood Education Program at Gateway Community College
The vision of the Early Childhood Program at Gateway Community College is to prepare well qualified teachers who understand how children learn; can plan and implement developmentally and individually appropriate learning experiences that are aligned to standards and are based on knowledge of individual children (typical and atypical) from diverse cultural backgrounds, and can plan within and across disciplines, taking into account the family, the community and curricular goals and objectives.
The mission of the Early Childhood Education Program is to provide a comprehensive curriculum that enables students to seek employment in the field of Early Education and Care, working with children from diverse backgrounds; to transfer to a baccalaureate program to continue their training in Early Childhood Education; or to increase their skills in working with young children.
The early childhood education program at Gateway Community College adopts a philosophy that includes a perspective about how learning occurs and how the teaching act influences learning. The program’s philosophy stresses the importance of preparing dedicated and skilled professionals to work in the learning community knowing diverse theories not limited to the views of Piaget, Dewey, Vygotsky, Erickson and Montessori.
The program recognizes the responsibility of the teacher to deal with each student as an individual, value diversity, and recognize that the student’s behavior is a direct reflection of his or her life experiences.
In keeping with the Institution’s and program’s mission, the Early Childhood Education program holds the following principles and strives to foster them in its students:
- When active engagement accompanies learning opportunities, learning is at its best.
- When content is connected to the real world, learning is facilitated.
- Critical thinking, reflection, and problem solving are prized and encouraged.
- Multiple measures of assessment provide a well-rounded insight of the learner’s construction of knowledge.
- Knowing and understanding the families of children and the communities in which they 1ive is key to enhancing a child’s development and learning and paramount to involving families and communities.
- Cultural diversity of the family and the developmental diversity of the child must be understood and appreciated.
- Utilization of multiple learning modalities addresses a variety of learning styles.
The Early Childhood Program offers a Child Development Associate Preparation Certificate, a one-year Teacher Assistant Certificate, an Administration and Leadership Certificate and an Associate Degree with an option of Continued Studies (transfer) or Early Childhood (career).
Preparing adult learners to work in diverse and multicultural setting and have the skills to implement developmentally appropriate teaching practices is a principal component of the program. The program requires a sequence of observation and teaching practices to prepare students who understand child development and can effectively work with children.
In keeping with the College’s mission the early childhood courses and programs are widely accessible to students, many of whom are working full-time, via a variety of delivery systems. Flexibility of course offerings and responding to the needs of the early childhood workforce are primary. The program continually seeks opportunities to provide students with tuition free courses by responding to alternative funding opportunities and forming alliances with local and statewide agencies.
Course delivery formats include (1) traditional classroom format, (2) on-line courses (3) accelerated courses in one week to five week formats, (4) an accelerated degree such as a plan developed to offer the complete degree on a part-time basis over a 36 month period and the fast track offering of certificates that students could complete within 11 weeks. The Child Development Preparation Certificate is offered on-line. To enhance student’s success in course work, Learning Communities, collaboration between the Early Childhood faculty member and the developmental Reading and English, faculty member are being developed.
The Early Childhood Program has a strong commitment to diversity and reflects as much as possible the culture and language of the students and community that it serves. Additionally, faculty members have formed collaboration with the Learning Disabilities Specialist in order to incorporate students with special needs into the program. Frequent offering of courses at the worksite enhance accessibility for students. Responding to the needs of the workforce is paramount.
Community responsiveness is a key component of the program. Outreach into the community is evidenced by the creation of the Early Learning Center and the Accreditation Facilitation Project that assists centers with NAEYC Accreditation and expands the availability of high quality field placements for observation and student teaching. The Early Learning Center, a 60 child NAEYC Accredited community early care and education facility, is an on site laboratory school that serves as a model of best practices and is a field placement site for observation students and student teachers.