FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Early childhood educators who have an associate degree can now pursue a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).
The program, which begins this fall, has two options: either birth to age 5 or preschool to grade 3. Terri Swim, associate professor of early childhood education, said, “Both programs provide a strong knowledge base in child development and learning as well as how those knowledge bases impact instructional and interactional strategies in classrooms. In addition, both programs have an emphasis on supervised learning in three different types of programs for young children: early care and education, Head Start, and public school settings. The Preschool–Grade 3 program allows candidates an opportunity to earn a teaching license through the Indiana Department of Education.”
Barry Kanpol, dean of the College of Education and Public Policy, said, “This new program is a degree completion program that articulates with associate degrees, such as those offered at Ivy Tech Community College. For the first time in northeast Indiana, early childhood educators can move from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree and then to a master’s degree. Creating a career lattice of this nature demonstrates our vision and leadership for the profession as well as our commitment to workforce development.”
Fort Wayne-area early childhood educators are pleased that IPFW is offering the degree-completion program. Mary Lee Freeze, CANI Head Start director, said, “Wow!! I am excited! I just had a Risk Management call with the Region V office for Head Start and one of the challenges we addressed was our program’s need for teachers to be able to access an early childhood bachelor’s degree locally! The Office of Head Start has mandated that 50 percent of our lead teachers have an early childhood bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of a major in early childhood education by September 2013. So, this is great news for IPFW and CANI Head Start!” Madeleine Baker, executive director of the Early Childhood Alliance, was even more direct: “It’s about time! For those of us who live in the ECE world, this opportunity allows us to “elevate” the ECE profession. ECE is vital to school readiness, and those committed to the preparation must be given the same opportunities as their counterparts in the school systems.”
For more information on the program, contact Swim at 260-481-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.