NORWICH – Morrisville State College’s Norwich Campus recently received approval from the State Education Department to offer an associate in applied science degree program in early childhood. This is the first program approved for the Norwich Campus that is not also available at Morrisville’s main campus.
The announcement comes on the heels of a year of growth for the Norwich Campus, which opened its new academic building, Roger W. Follett Hall, in June 2005 to accommodate the growing need for programs and services.
The college is accepting applications for admission to the early childhood program for the class entering this fall.
“We are pleased to be able to make this very important educational opportunity available to students,” Ted Nichols, dean of the Norwich Campus, said. “The program will prepare much needed and highly qualified early childhood professionals for employment in a variety of capacities throughout Chenango County.”
Students who complete the program will be prepared for careers as early childhood professionals dealing with children from birth to age five. Graduates will be eligible for employment in childcare centers, Head Start centers, private daycare and more.
“The program, designed to comply with the national standards outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), addresses the demand in the Chenango County area and nationally for childcare and child/family development organizations and the need for well-trained childcare professionals,” Nichols said.
“There are areas of our county that would truly benefit from having an early childhood program to support and develop the growth of quality childcare,” Donna Adams, executive director of the Chenango County Child Care Coordinating Council, said.
Adams said area agencies are not always able to meet the increasing demand for quality childcare services.
“The new program would encourage the development of more daycare centers and providers,” she said.
There are currently more than 20 childcare agencies and a number of private daycare centers in the Chenango County area.
A two-year degree is not required to fill all early childcare positions available at these agencies, but being in tune with the latest and best practices and having updated knowledge is important for anyone working in the field, Darlene Alexander, director of The Children’s Center in Norwich, said.
“State and federal regulations also mandate upgrading skills continuously and administering the latest standards,” Nichols said.
“People don’t always recognize the childcare profession as a career and they may not recognize the skills required to care for young children,” Alexander said. “I see a need in the area for more understanding of what quality care is.”
Alexander said it is often difficult to find early childcare professionals who have adequate training and the proper education necessary to ensure high-quality care is given to children...