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Penn College Offers Credential for Early Childhood Director

Beginning with the Fall 2005 semester, Pennsylvania College of Technology will offer a nine-credit early childhood director competency credential.

After successfully completing the course work to earn the competency credential and completing a minimum of three to four years of documented work experience in the field, participants may apply to the state’s Pennsylvania Pathways child-care training system to earn a Director Core Certificate.

The state developed the certification program in response to business-and-industry needs, and Penn College was one of the first institutions approved to offer the required course work.

Penn College employees Nancy A. Grausam, assistant professor of early childhood education and a past president of Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children; and Karen Woland Payne, director of the Children’s Learning Center, were involved with planning the certificate requirements on the state level and were instrumental in implementing the competency credential at the college.

The nine credits needed to earn Penn College’s early childhood director competency credential consist of a three-credit course in early childhood program management, a three-credit course in early childhood director practicum and a three-credit elective course, which will be determined by the student and his or her adviser, based on education and work history.

Some students may qualify to earn three of the nine credits for life experience. The result is a program customized to meet individual needs, Grausam said.

The competency credential is designed to educate students in child growth and development; learning environment and curriculum; child assessment; communication; professionalism and leadership; health, safety and nutrition; and program organization and administration.

To be eligible to earn the competency credential, a student must have received an associate’s degree in early childhood education, child development or human services, though a student may take the required courses while pursuing an associate’s degree.

Interest in the competency credential at Penn College has come from two main groups, Payne said: people who are already directors of a child-care facility and Penn College’s current associate-degree students.

The benefit of earning the competency credential and, subsequently, the state Director Core Certificate, is increased status for an early care and education facility in the Keystone Stars program. Keystone Stars, administered by the state Department of Public Welfare, is a voluntary quality-improvement program. Participating facilities are rated according to several criteria, one of which is the staff’s training level. Child-care programs whose directors earn the state’s Director Core Certificate may earn a higher star rating, making them eligible for more state subsidies.

Funds are available for qualified applicants through PA Pathways to cover all or part of tuition costs for the credential. For further information,visit PA Pathways online. Funding assistance through Penn College’s Financial Aid Office may be available for the additional courses when combined with enrollment in an associate-degree major at the college.

Those who wish to pursue the competency credential may apply as nondegree students before the college’s Drop/Add Day on Aug. 15.

For more information about the early childhood director competency credential, call (570) 327-4761, visit on the Webor send e-mail to Payne or Grausam.