The Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), through its Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organization, has granted Cabrini University $195,408 to fund tuition for early childhood education (ECE) professionals in the area. The grant comes as part of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s initiative to increase statewide credentialing of preschool educators and further professionalize ECE.
“Cabrini has been steadily infusing early childhood education principles and strategies across our Education curriculum and we are grateful for PHMC’s support in bolstering these efforts,” said Thomas Conway, EdD, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and project director for the grant.
Cabrini is offering five new early childhood education (ECE) courses during the 2020-21 academic year, created with funding from a Preschool Development Grant awarded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in late 2019. The Preschool Development Grant helped Cabrini create and design these courses, while PHMC’s recent grant will be used to oversee the fulfillment of these courses, expand access pathways for preschool educators, and ensure student success.
Two of the five courses—Infant and Toddler Development and Infant and Toddler Early intervention—were introduced during the first summer 2020 semester. The remaining courses, Trauma and its Implications for Early Educator Providers; Connecting Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Pedagogy to Early Childhood Education; and Universal Design for Learning within Early Childhood Education, will be rolled out this fall.
“Many of the students who enrolled in our ECE courses this summer were first-generation college students who progressed immensely during the accelerated summer semester,” said Kris Bowman, EdD, an early childhood consultant and instructor of the ECE courses. “These students are also picking up essential technology skills on their way to becoming early childhood education experts.”
In developing the courses, a team of Education faculty and staff worked with representatives from Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and the Children’s School—a laboratory school for Cabrini ECE majors—to more closely align the Teacher Education PreK–4 program with ECE knowledge, skills, and pedagogy. The grant has enabled curriculum revisions that will ensure a smooth pathway for MCCC Education students to complete their teaching degrees at Cabrini and is providing students with professional development opportunities to work with infants and toddlers at the Children’s School.
“We are honored to take part in this initiative to improve early childhood education in Pennsylvania,” said Conway.
In a press release about the grant, PA Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera spoke to the importance of children learning from educators who have access to coursework and degrees grounded in the most recent research around children’s learning and development.
“This grant program builds on the Commonwealth’s commitment to increase the number of high-quality, effective professionals in our early childhood programs, ultimately benefiting children and families for years to come.”