22 local women earn ECE certificates
Amber Giles, an early childhood education instructor, was thrilled with the energy and enthusiasm she found recently among a large group of Quincy women participating in her class.
“These were amazing students,” Giles said. “They did exactly what they are told to do. They just wanted to learn. They have a hunger for knowledge.”
Last month, 22 students from Quincy completed an intense, four-month early childhood education course offered in town through Wenatchee Valley College.
Students enrolled in the program were required by the state to earn a high school diploma, GED, or childhood development associate credential by 2017, said Nancy Spurgeon, coordinator of the WVC program. The Quincy cohort completed the 12 college credits necessary to obtain a state Early Childhood Initial Certificate.
“Winter-quarter students spent 50 hours in class time in the evenings after working all day with children,” Spurgeon said. “Many of them had their own children and husbands that had to make adjustments so they could go to school.”
For the practicum time, students had to complete 60 hours of practice teaching and be observed by the ECE instructor. They also had to volunteer eight hours in an elementary school setting, eight hours in a Head Start program and eight hours in a child care that they did not own, Spurgeon said.
Students took the courses to supplement the training required to run a home daycare. The state requires 30 hours of training to operate a home daycare, Giles said. The four-month course was 150 hours of college-level education.
“With this course they move up the ladder of the childhood education program,” Giles said. “It gives them more clout. They get paid more.”
Some of the students in the group had to overcome language barriers. Students worked hard to overcome these obstacles, putting in extra time to catch up with the college-level vocabulary, Giles said. Some students also were unfamiliar with computers, which was difficult when writing research papers, she added.
“They spent 10 times the amount of time on their research papers.” Giles said. “The learning curve was challenged.”
For Giles, she was amazed by the group’s work ethic and thirst for learning. Although the classwork was difficult, students came up with great presentations using props, dramatizations and information from the Internet, said Giles, who traveled from Othello to Quincy to teach the classes.
Elena Avalos of Quincy participated in the program, which required two evening classes and a Saturday class each week. Scholarships paid for many of the students’ tuition and books.
“We were very happy for this opportunity. We learned a lot. This is one more step forward,” Avalos said. “I would like to thank all of the schools for allowing us to do our observations.”
— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor