A dean at Northern Essex Community College shares the institution’s novel Early Childhood Education degree program today during a national federal government-sponsored webinar.
Jody Carson joins other Massachusetts leaders exploring a range of strategies to build and support career pathways for the Early Childhood Education workforce during the webinar hosted by the Office of the Administration for Children and Families, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Northern Essex reports being the first public school in the country to offer an Early Childhood Education degree that may be completed using all competency-based education courses. The approach gives adults and other non-traditional learners increased flexibility to start and complete courses online at their own pace.
“Someone might be working at a childcare center and already know a lot about planning curriculum but might be less familiar with assessing and documenting development, for example,” says Carson. She explained competency-based education allows them to “progress quickly through those courses where they already have a good grasp on the subject matter.”
Because all the courses at Northern Essex are available online, the degree can be completed from anywhere. Even a required 330-hour in-classroom practicum can be completed by the supervising college faculty member virtually.
Other panelists during the webinar, “Building a Pipeline of Qualified Early Childhood Educators Through Innovative Career Pathway Efforts” include Winnie Hagan, senior associate commissioner for strategic planning and public program approval, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education; Jennifer Schein, education specialist, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care; and Sarah Volkenant, senior professional development specialist, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.