Students can now be assured that their coursework in early childhood education classes at Allan Hancock College can be seamlessly transferred and accepted at other community colleges in California.  The college was recently notified that its curriculum and coursework outlines for eight courses had been reviewed, aligned and approved by the Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP), a statewide collaborative effort by faculty leaders from the California Community Colleges (CCC) and California State University (CSU) systems.

“We are delighted that CAP has determined that the basic eight courses taken by our students for their certification in early childhood education are fully aligned with the highest standards,” said Allan Hancock College’s ECS Program Coordinator, Judith Dal Porto.

With support from California Community College Early Childhood Educators (CCCECE), alignment project members and colleagues began discussions in early 2005.  Motivated by impending legislation that would provide preschool for all of California’s four-year-olds, faculty took the initiative to work on a shared core of courses for entry level professionals.  These discussions led to a formal recommendation in 2008 supported by several hundred faculty to develop coursework that maintained the unique qualities of the early care and education profession while improving the teaching and care practices for young children in California.

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) field now accepts the CAP ‘Core 8’ as the necessary foundational coursework for a teacher of young children.  These eight courses include: Child Growth and Development; The Child, Family and Community; Principles and Practices in ECE; Introduction to Curriculum; Children’s Health, Safety, and Nutrition; Teaching in a Diverse Society; Observation and Assessment in ECE; and a Practicum/Field Experience course.  These lower-division courses are intended to fulfill one portion of an ECE program of study.  With additional coursework, both at lower-division and upper-division levels, it prepares the student for in-depth coursework toward a degree.

To meet alignment standards, the college’s ECS faculty reviewed all of the curricula for their core coursework to determine whether it matched the recommendations of CAP.  Individual course worksheets were submitted, along with information indicating how this coursework fits into an ECE degree.  A review team of six California ECE faculty reviewed this submission and determined it met the required criteria.  To date, more than 40 California community colleges have been approved for alignment, with a total of 103 campuses agreeing to participate in this process.

Community college faculty collaborated with CSU faculty to develop the eight evidence-based, lower-division courses to facilitate students’ ease of movement between community colleges without loss of credits.  This work has created a clearly defined career pathway and support for students pursuing degrees and certificates in Early Childhood Education in California.

CAP is funded through the California Department of Education, Quality Improvement Projects and is administered by the Child Development Training Consortium.  For more information about the Curriculum Alignment Project, please go to www.childdevelopment.org and click the CAP tab.

For information about the Allan Hancock College early childhood studies program, contact Dal Porto at (805) 922-6966 ext. 3381 or jdalporto@hancockcollege.edu.