06/17/13 — College will add courses for child care providers

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College will add courses for child care providers

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 17, 2013 1:46 PM

Child care providers who want to further their education, but who are finding it difficult to schedule classes, will soon have the option of Friday evening and Saturday courses.

"Wayne Community College has developed some weekend modules," said Jodi Baker, early childhood education instructor. "It's called 'Get a CLUE: Child Care Learning Units for Education,' but we have added some options for students who can't get out.

"They have the potential to earn two early childhood certificates in two semesters."

"And three in the two years if they do it in four semesters," added Sherry Granberry, another instructor in the program.

The new program, which starts in the fall, was made possible through a grant from the community college system. WCC was one of eight community colleges in the state to receive a portion of $333,699 from the Early Childhood Education Innovation Fund, developed through the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant awarded to the state.

WCC received $27,703 from the Early Childhood Education Innovation Fund Grant.

"The grant that we wrote had to be innovative, but also something that could be easily replicated," said Ms. Granberry.

Before even beginning the grant-writing process, though, she said the college did a survey to determine interest in an alternate schedule.

"We were hearing from students, 'I could finish this if you had classes that were after 6 o'clock,'" Ms. Granberry said.

Those in the profession are in a unique position, the women said. They often work out of their own homes so don't have substitutes or people to cover for them while they attend a class.

The CLUE option is also geared to those who may have put off getting an education or having to juggle families of their own.

The accelerated six-week program will not only benefit those wishing to finish up a degree, but could help residents from other areas.

"There are no other community colleges in the area that are doing this," Ms. Baker said. "It would be great for even surrounding communities. It's easy for them to get here on the weekend. They can take one, two or three (classes), whatever combination works for them."

"It's not an all-or-none thing," Ms. Granberry added.

The classes are proposed in sequence, but will likely be changed around in the future to accommodate students.

The important thing is acquiring an education, as that's what the state measures.

"The better educated they are, the better care the children get," Ms. Granberry said. "There are also incentives out there for the child care programs. They can raise their star ratings, which could increase their enrollment, increase their subsidy money."

The grant for the weekend modules runs through 2014, but officials are confident they will be able to sustain the program beyond that.

"We're hoping to have enough students to justify the extra money for an adjunct (professor)," Ms. Baker said. "It's kind of like seed money."

Fall registration begins July 15, with another opportunity in August. Financial aid is also available.

As with any program, though, the enrollment process requires completing all the necessary paperwork, placement testing and admissions interview in advance.

For more information on the early childhood or other programs, call 919-735-5151 or visit the website, www.waynecc.edu. During the summer months, the WCC campus is closed on Fridays.