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Early childhood education program debuts at Rockford College this fall

Wednesday, May 26, 2010  
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For immediate release – 5/26/10
Contact: Marcia Blascoe, 815-670-3218

An expected increase in the demand for early childhood teachers with bachelor’s degrees has prompted Rockford College to start a new early childhood education program this fall as part of its wide array of education-related offerings.

Marcia Blascoe, retiring early education director for Rockford School District 205, has been tapped to head the program, which was recently approved by the State Board of Education. She says the need for more and better-skilled early childhood teachers is important. 

"It is absolutely critical today for young children to have a strong foundation to build upon,” she says. "Early childhood programs have been shown to yield benefits in academic achievement, behavior, educational achievement and labor market potential while reducing delinquency, crime and truancy.”   

One of the reasons for the uptick in demand is a set of new rules ushered in as part of the recent Head Start reauthorization. Under the new law, Head Start teachers and coordinators would need to earn a bachelor’s or advanced degree by Sept. 30, 2013 to keep their "Type 04”credentials.

Anyone planning to get into the field would likewise need a bachelor’s degree, though Head Start assistants would need at least an associate degree to earn or maintain their certification.  

Nationally, there is an expected expansion in early childhood education which includes public initiatives, Head Start and child care. That, says Blascoe, creates high demand in local communities along with the need for highly-qualified early childhood providers.

The state of Illinois recently enacted the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies Quality Rating System which will offer an increase in child care reimbursement if centers meet the new "star rating” standards.

"As a result of these converging trends and issues along with increased funding at both the federal and state levels and with discussions with local providers, Rock Valley College, and the Early Learning Council of the Rockford Area, we identified a high degree of need and interest in an early childhood education program,” said Blascoe.  

The new program involves observation, work in the field and course work, and leads to certification for both undergraduates and graduate students. A special endorsement in special education may be taken simultaneously at the college, resulting in a more comprehensive and versatile professional.

Blascoe says opportunities exist for public and private school pre-K teachers, administrators, Head Start teachers, child care directors, child development specialists and family support workers.  

For more information on the program, call 815-226-4050 (undergraduate and transfer students) or 815-226-4040 (graduate students). Also see  www.rockford.edu/?Education.   


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