After watching their children thrive and have fun in the Catholic Charities’ Head Start of Baltimore City preschool classes, seven women knew that they too wanted to be in the classroom – not as  volunteers, but as teachers. 

“These parents wanted to know more about early childhood education, and they repeatedly ask for our help in becoming trained,” said Erica Knox, M.S., education coordinator supervisor for Catholic Charities Head Start of Baltimore City. As a result, Catholic Charities partnered with the Community College of Baltimore County to offer a 90-hour classroom certification program for interested parents. By the end of May, seven completed the coursework and earned the state certification as childcare providers.

“These graduates are now qualified to work as assistant teachers in our Head Start or as an independent childcare provider,” said Program Director Mary Gunning. “In fact, we have already hired three of the graduates to work as substitute teachers.” 

The 90-hour coursework, which is approved by the Maryland State Department of Education, includes 45 hours of course work in child growth and development and another 45 hours studying activities for young children. The seven students met at the Sethlow Head Start in Cherry Hill. During those sessions, they organized a professional development portfolio and studied several topics including how to write a lesson plan and design and arrange a preschool classroom.

The graduates of the certificate program are eligible to continue their studies at the community college if they choose.  And according to Knox and Gunning, due to the popularity of the program, Catholic Charities’ Head Start may partner once again with CCBC to offer the training once again.