Skilled teachers are an essential component of a high-quality early learning setting for infants and toddlers, but only 17% of Colorado’s early childhood workforce currently hold a bachelor’s degree.
To help increase participation in higher education, a new University of Colorado pilot program is breaking down barriers and expanding access to higher education for many dedicated teachers already in the workforce.
The “place-based” bachelor’s degree program is being held on-site in three child care programs with twenty early childhood educators participating in the first cohort. With 70% of students in the cohort working in infant and toddler classrooms, professors are able to tailor content in current classes to their needs. Grant funding allows teachers free enrollment in six credits per semester and provides credit for prior learning, as well as regular coaching and feedback from teams of faculty and field-based coaches. The program is expected to reduce turnover and ensure continuity of care while improving classroom quality – a true win for both babies and the workforce.