Pennsylvania early learning professionals now have more options for furthering their education as part of a partnership with institutions of higher education. As part of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), Pennsylvania developed a mini-grant program to provide institutions of higher education (IHE) with financial resources to align their Early Childhood Education coursework for ECE professionals with the Core Knowledge Competencies (CKC). The third and final round of Pennsylvania’s RTT-ELC Course alignment grants to IHEs was completed in Spring 2018. In this round, the focus was on aligning coursework specific to the care of infants and toddlers with the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies and as well as with the ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies.
Eleven institutions receiving awards represented community colleges, private colleges and universities, private two-year colleges, state universities and state-related commonwealth universities. Awards ranged from $7,500 – $15,000. Seventy-four courses were aligned or developed, including undergraduate, graduate and workshop for credit courses. Several IHEs used innovative strategies such as collaborating with local training providers, developing a resource data base, and creating a handbook for cooperating teachers and students on the expectations of the practicum experience.