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Free Program for Early Learning and Child Care Providers

For Immediate Release

February 28, 2014

Open House
Learn how to enroll in the Early Achievers Program
Tuesday, March 4
5:30 - 7:30 pm

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Home & Family Life Building, Room 129
Lower Columbia College
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The benefits of early learning programs for young children have received growing support on both state and national levels over the past decade.

Now child care providers and educators can receive college training at no cost from Lower Columbia College as part of Washington's Early Achievers program.

An Open House will be held Tuesday, March 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the LCC Home and Family Life Building, Room 129, to share information about the program and how to enroll.

This is the second year that LCC has participated in the grant program that covers the cost of tuition, books and other support services for current child care providers who wish to gain additional training and college credentials in the Early Childhood Education field. Participants can earn initial certification, a state credential, a short-term certificate or an associate degree in Early Childhood Education.

Kari Johnson, Director of the Rose Valley Friends Church Childcare Center, started her degree in Early Childhood Education 10 years ago. The Early Achievers program is making it possible for her to finish this year. Not being bound by finances has made this an option for many child care providers. Several members of her staff at Rose Valley are also returning to LCC to take classes.

"This is a great opportunity to better ourselves as educators and to make our center better," Johnson said. The longtime educator sees both demand and expectations growing for quality child care.

Jessica Scruggs works with Johnson at Rose Valley and enrolled in the program this year.

"I feel that every day I am becoming a better teacher based on the tools and information I have received through the program," she says.

She hopes to complete a certificate and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education; then to continue studies towards a Bachelor's degree in Human Development.

"I would definitely recommend this program to anyone working with children in any capacity," Scruggs adds. "The support from the teachers and advisors is amazing. This is an ever-changing field and it is so important for children to have quality, educated teachers who understand how children develop to guide them through this crucial time in their lives!"

Brenda Gorans loves her job at Rose Valley but is excited about earning her degree.

"This program will help me learn to be the best possible pre-kindergarten and preschool teacher I can be and there are so many more opportunities for people with a degree," Gorans said. "It’s free college. How can you pass up that opportunity?"

Sally Reinke attended LCC for a year right after high school. She's back taking advantage of the Early Achievers program to build upon her current job as a pre-kindergarten teacher and complete an Associate's degree.

To accommodate work schedules, courses are offered days, evenings and online, and students participate in observation experiences at their own centers and other sites. Centers and family home providers who participate in the Early Achiever's program earn quality level ratings which are then posted on the State Department of Early Learning website. The rating system enables providers to demonstrate their commitment to providing quality care and education for young children.

For more information

Sue Groth, Director of College Relations & Marketing, Lower Columbia College, 360.442.2110, sgroth@lowercolumbia.edu