New scholarship to help students pursue wide range of careers in early childhood development | ECTC

New scholarship to help students pursue wide range of careers in early childhood development

By Martha Page

As Elizabethtown Community and Technical College embarks upon the beginning of the fall 2021 semester, many students may be somewhat confused as to their specific career path. Today, there are so many professions from which to choose, causing this to be an overwhelming task for many individuals. A similar concern is seeking financial assistance to pursue that career choice.  

As professor and program coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) Department at ECTC, let me share some information about a career path that can be very rewarding.  

When students earn the IECE associate degree, they have additionally received various certificates and credentials that are necessary to be employed in the field of early childhood education. Most students continue their educational path and pursue the IECE bachelor’s degree with teacher certification.  Because Campbellsville University teaches the IECE bachelor’s degree classes at ECTC, most students earn the entire four-year degree at ECTC.

Some positions for IECE certified personnel include public kindergarten and preschool teacher, early childhood special educator (age birth to 5), developmental interventionist with children birth to 3 years, infant-toddler teacher, early childhood parent educator, home-based early childhood teacher, itinerant early childhood teacher, child care provider, Kentucky licensed credentialed trainer, and Head Start teacher/administrator just to name a few. As you can see, one can wear many career “hats” upon obtaining this degree.  

Additionally, there is great news for obtaining financial resources to fund this degree plan. Kentucky has recently been awarded over $763 Million specifically dedicated to the area of early childhood. As part of this funding, scholarship funds to pay tuition and associated expenses will be awarded for any student who wants to obtain their Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA), or the IECE associate or bachelor’s degree. Current early childhood directors or supervisors would be eligible for assistance for the master’s degree in early childhood education. The Division of Child Care will be paying for full-time tuition as grant funds are available between January 2022 and September 2024. Scholarship participants will be required to work at least 20 hours per week in an early childhood setting.

Those who are interested in the scholarship will need to contact local Child Care Aware Professional Development Coach Derby Akers at derby.akers@uky.edu or 859-813-4316. The deadline for applying for spring semester 2022 is Nov. 15, 2021.  

As a former public school kindergarten teacher of 34 years, I can attest to the excitement and joy that young children will bring into your lives as you nurture, love and support them as well as their families.

Research has proven that 90% of a child’s brain has been formed by 5 years of age; therefore, you are engaging with children during the most critical formative time of their life. It is a career that “keeps on giving” as you build the strong foundation that will ensure life-long success for these youngsters and future adults.

The educator John Dewey, has said, “Every teacher should realize the dignity of his calling.” If you feel the call to be an early childhood teacher, please contact me at mpage0003@kctcs.edu or 270-706-8499 so that I can assist you to begin the journey of this exciting career.  

Martha Page is Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator/Professor at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. She can be reached at mpage0003@kctcs.edu or 270-706-8499.