FROM:���������� Stephen T. Hulbert, Chancellor
����������������������� Western Montana College of The University of Montana
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM
WMC-UM has been offering early childhood coursework at off-campus sites for over 14 years.� The recent interest in early childhood education and the federal mandate that 50% of teachers in Head Start classrooms have a minimum of an associate degree in Early Childhood has created an increased demand for the program.� Students are typically place-bound women who have spent many years working in the field of early childhood.� Many are first generation college students and for many this is their first experience with college coursework.�
Students can obtain the WMC-UM 24-credit early childhood core in Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Havre, Butte, Helena, and Dillon.� This core of early childhood coursework can be used to meet the training requirement for a CDA (Child Development Associate), a national credential awarded by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.� These credits also form the professional core of courses required for an AAS in Early Childhood Education (ECE).� If the student has a degree in Elementary Education, this core can be applied toward a minor in ECE resulting in an endorsement on their teaching certificate. This semester there are 160
students taking the early childhood core off-campus.
A recent grant from DPHHS has allowed the ECE program to develop a new model (EC Rural) for students who do not have access to higher education.� This model combines intensives and self-study.� Research on the outcomes for student in this model versus the one-night-a-week model employed at the other sites is being conducted.�� Due to the seamless nature of the program, coordination with other higher education institutions, and the unique delivery model, the WMC-UM ECE program is one of six programs in the nation being highlighted in a book published by the Council for Early
Childhood Professional Recognition.