The Montelores Early Childhood Council is proud to report that 19 people working in licensed child care in the region participated in the statewide Education Stipend Project and were awarded cash stipends for their efforts.
The Colorado Early Childhood Office of Professional Development in Denver received a grant in fall 2009 to provide cash stipends to eligible child care workers in Colorado licensed early childhood centers, family child care homes and school-age programs as they successfully completed early childhood college courses that led to earning the Colorado Early Childhood Credential. The Stipend Project was linked with the voluntary Early Childhood Credential administered by the Colorado Early Childhood Office of Professional Development.
The Early Childhood Credential is a voluntary tiered system of credentials that recognizes increased knowledge and experience for those who care for and educate our youngest children. Credentials ensure that all professionals caring for and educating young children have the same core early childhood knowledge regardless of setting family child care, child care centers, or public schools. The credentials help create a system of education and training that promotes the optimal development and education of young children and provides a clear pathway for professional development for child care workers. There are six levels for the credential from the Level I Credential (two college courses plus experience) to the Level VI Credential (doctorate). Workers can progress from the Level I Credential to higher levels by continuing college-based learning to meet Division of Child Care Licensing standards or to earn academic certificates and/or college degrees.
The goal of the Educational Stipend Project was to reduce the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation and work. The project goals were to enhance the long-term self-sufficiency of eligible, low-income child care workers; reduce the number of child care workers and their families living in poverty and increase the number of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families eligible participants in meaningful child care work. This project was funded by the State Strategic Use Funds, Colorado Works, and Colorado Department of Human Services.
Under the auspices of the Montelores Early Childhood Council, people working in licensed child care in Montezuma or Dolores counties who were TANF eligible, lawfully present in the United States, and a parent or legal guardian of a dependent child under the age of 18, could apply for the stipend after successfully completing approved early childhood education college courses.
The stipends were first awarded for enrollment in the spring 2010 semester and ended with the spring 2011 semester for a total of four semesters. Participants affiliated with the Montelores Early Childhood Council earned from $200 up to $1,500 over the course of the project for their efforts. The total amount awarded to 19 workers in the region was $12,850. Statewide, $357,850 was awarded over the course of the project to eligible child care workers.
Child care workers who are well-trained and participate in professional development opportunities better understand the needs of the children and families they serve and provide higher quality services. Because many families depend on child care while working, it is very important to the community to have a well-trained child care workforce. Young children whose care needs can be met during the critical early years of birth to age 5 are more ready for kindergarten and are more likely to succeed in school and in life.
Congratulations and kudos to all the child care workers who participated in the Stipend Project and to all those who work so hard to increase their skills and knowledge by pursuing professional development!
Barbara Dodds is the project administrator for the Early Childhood Professional Training Project funded by the Temple Buell Foundation of Denver. The project is based at the Durango Adult Education Center but serves all child care providers in Southwest Colorado. The project is in its 12th year of serving the professional development needs of child care providers. Barbara can be reached at 259-2094 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info about the project, visitwww.durangoaec.org/earlychildhood.htm.