Early childhood education (ECE) professionals have increased access to Education degrees and professional credentials at Cabrini, thanks to a renewed grant from the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) totaling more than $204,400. The Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organization within PHMC has granted the use of these funds for tuition in Cabrini Education programs—part of a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania initiative to professionalize ECE and help preschool educators earn bachelor’s degrees.
“Cabrini is known throughout the region for its Education programs, and early childhood education has been a hallmark for our institution,” said Thomas Conway, EdD, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and project director for the grant. “We are immersed in the current research regarding infants and toddlers and we pride ourselves on bringing this pedagogy to the front in a more focused, hands-on way for students.”
Building on the previous iteration of the grant issued in 2020, this PHMC funding enables Cabrini to continue offering the University’s renowned Education coursework to preschool educators in the area, tuition-free. The funds also go toward removing technological barriers to degree completion, including the purchase of laptops for students as well as trainings for using the technology. These trainings also empower educators to teach and lead in both virtual and in-person classroom settings. The 2021 grant also supports expansion of Cabrini’s off-site coursework offerings, which makes degree pathways more flexible and accessible for working educators in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties.
“Our course, ECE 203: Connecting Pedagogy to Early Childhood Education, has impacted me in such a positive way as an early childhood educator,” said Talene Artinian, a local educator enrolled in the program. “This course allowed me to learn about the needs of our students and the importance of equity in our schools.”
Cabrini’s ECE program teaches the latest tactics and strategies for educators working with children under five years of age, a group of students often overlooked in traditional PreK‒4 degree programs, Conway said. Still, students earning PreK‒4 certificates at Cabrini can supplement their studies with the University’s ECE coursework.
Cabrini launched five new ECE courses in 2020, designed and facilitated by a team of Education faculty and staff, in collaboration with representatives from Montgomery County Community College and the Children’s School—a laboratory school for Cabrini ECE majors. This coursework has closely aligned the Teacher Education PreK–4 program with the latest ECE knowledge, skills, and pedagogy—attracting even master’s and doctoral students who wish to study best ECE practices.
“Teaching children and working with families are my passion and joy,” Artinian said. “I really hope for more courses in the future to expand on what we have learned [at Cabrini].”