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River Valley Launches Early Childhood Education Program
Published Tuesday, October 24, 2017

River Valley Community College (RVCC) recently launched its new infant and toddler early childhood education certificate program.

The 18-credit program, which was designed to meet community and workforce needs, is available to full-time and part-time students. It’s composed of six courses, and is offered within RVCC’s Early Childhood Education program.

The unique program sets itself apart from other programs in NH by featuring an introduction to infant mental health course, where students study how children, aged birth to three years, develop socially and emotionally and how this serves as a foundation for their future wellness and learning. It was also created with input from key child development agencies in response to the increasing need for certified childhood educators.

“Our program is unique because of its focus on children from birth to age three, and their specific developmental needs,” says Kerry Belknap Morris, program director for Early Childhood Education at RVCC, and department chair of Business and Professional Studies. “In New Hampshire, we regularly hear from members of the community, our advisory committee students, and owners of early care and education centers, that there is a pressing need for this specialized type of early childhood educator.”

A myriad of state agencies and groups, including the NH Child Development Bureau and Spark NH, the state’s early childhood advisory council have launched initiatives that emphasize the need for high quality infant and toddler care. New Hampshire has 65,000 children age four or younger, but only about 58,000 spaces in the Granite state childcare program, according to Child Care Aware of America. Only 31 percent of those are licensed for infants and toddlers.

RVCC was led to establish the new certificate by these state-wide trends, along with evaluation from NH employers and the Early Childhood Education program’s advisory committee.

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