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Wednesday, 04 January 2012 15:49

Great Plains College cuts cost of early childhood education classes

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Those interested in pursuing a career in early childhood education will be able to receive an education at a reduced cost this January, since Great Plains College will be offering six early childhood education courses at a subsidized rate.

Funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration was made available following the government’s allocation of 500 new child care spaces across Saskatchewan in the 2011-12 budget, allowing the college to cut the tuition for these courses in half.

“We’re very grateful for the Ministry’s generous assistance as we respond to increased demand in this growing industry,” said Karen Richmond, Swift Current Campus region manager in a press release.

Up to 75 of the new spaces were to be created directly within the Great Plains region, along with up to 110 more in Saskatoon, just 10 minutes south of the college’s Warman Campus, and around 25 available in Kindersley.

“Kindersley is set to open a new daycare this fall, and there is definitely a demand for trained workers in the area,” added Darlene Anton, program co-ordinator at the college's Kindersley Campus. “I am contacting as many child-care workers as I can, hoping to tap into the demographic of people who are looking for this type of training, so that they can take advantage of this.”

Courses in child guidance, health, safety and nutrition, child and adolescent development, the role of play, and other early childhood education fundamentals are being offered at Great Plains campuses in Kindersley, Swift Current, and Warman. ECE 106, ECE 142, and HUMD 183 meet the provincial government’s minimum requirements for Level 1 certification.

“The intent is to try to attract the people who want to get the entire certificate program, which is comprised of 13 modules and two practicums,” Anton explained. “If the demand exists, we will be able to continue offering these courses at a subsidized rate.”

Anton is especially excited to be able to offer a program like this at a rural facility, where many students are busy with families and are working full-time jobs already.

“For most of these students to go into Saskatoon or Swift Current to take classes, it's just not very feasible. They can take these classes at home, come in one night a week, and receive SIAST credits as if they were doing it right on campus,” she said. “It gives people an opportunity to further their education without sacrificing work time or family time.”

With employment opening up in the area within the coming year, the demand for certified child care workers is high. The subsidized rates at Great Plains College offers a unique opportunity for potential students to access required training at a much lower cost.

“The timing is right, and this is a great chance to pursue a career or an education in this field,” Anton added. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this to our students.”

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