Early Childhood Educators needed: Searching for a career?

This year, Culpeper County will expand its early childhood programs. The expansion will create new teaching positions and the opportunity to train future educators for employment as substitute teachers in the public school system, before-and-after school childcare, church programs and other careers within the spectrum of early childhood education.

â??We are excited about the opportunity to grow a pool of early childhood substitutes that will benefit our community as well as our future expansion of Early Head Start. This project will allow individualized professional development geared to researched-based teaching strategies that can be applied immediately in the classroom. There will be opportunities for extensive professional development for all substitutes in the fields of classroom management, teaching strategies, fill-in activities, professionalism, technology, and special education,â? said Dorenda Pullen, Director of Early Childhood and Adolescent Programs for Culpeper Human Services.

Knowledge is power when it comes to finding high quality child care, this also holds true for teachers. Quality, affordable, flexible and reliable child care are essential to the success of many working families.

Thereâ??s a growing need for qualified childcare professionals in our community.

To meet this need an Early Head Start partnership program, offered through Culpeper Human Services will assist anyone interested in starting a career in child care. The training program will provide the essential certifications required to start a career in Early Childhood Education or to open a family child care business. Training for a Child Development Associate Credential or CDA will be offered.

The CDA is an Early Childhood Education certification that many child care employers look for when hiring new workers. Participation in training will also give applicants the opportunity to substitute for preschool programs in the community. It is a â??foot in the doorâ? to a rewarding career in early childhood education and child care.

�Finding quality child care can be challenging for working families. It is our goal to improve child care options and connect families with reliable and qualified child care providers. This program will be a great benefit to individuals interested in starting a career in child care that may lead to working in a child care center or opening their own Family Home Child Care program, � said Pat Henshaw, a child care subsidy manager for Culpeper Human Services.

An informational session is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Head Start office, located at 141 Old Fredericksburg Road, Culpeper, VA. 22701. The session is open to individuals or businesses focused on careers in Early Childhood Education. Call 540-727-1055 x415 to register for the session.

In addition, changes are coming in state regulations that lower the number of children a family home child care provider may keep without a license. Information and resources are available at the Culpeper Career Resource Center to help anyone interested in learning about the different types of childcare certifications and the steps to start and operate a Family Day Care. The Career Resource Center is located at 210 E. Stevens St. #300 Culpeper.

In recent years, childcare has evolved into a complementary element of early education. No longer is child care simply babysitting. Child care centers have transitioned into centers for early education. This trend is largely due to increased parental and school expectations.

National trends show that childcare centers are offering a more formalized early education curriculum with staff requiring increased training in early childhood education.

Marshall Conner is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at kelpiescot@gmail.com.