Learning how to interact with children is one of the many benefits to taking early childhood studies classes at Allan Hancock College. Nineteen ECS classes are being offered this spring at the college. Classes begin the week of Jan. 23.
Learning how to interact with children is one of the many benefits to taking early childhood studies classes at Allan Hancock College. Nineteen ECS classes are being offered this spring at the college. Classes begin the week of Jan. 23.

Whether students plan to become a teacher, police officer, counselor or parent, understanding and successfully interacting with children is essential. It is one of the many benefits available to students through Allan Hancock College’s early childhood studies program, which offers six degrees, five certificates and the opportunity for guaranteed transfers into the University of California and California State University systems.

Nineteen early childhood studies courses are being offered during the spring 2017 semester at Hancock’s Santa Maria Campus, Lompoc Valley Center, and online. Classes begin the week of January 23. Registration for the spring term is under way and will remain open until the day before a specific class begins.

“We are offering our core classes that can be applied toward any of our degrees and certificates, as well as more specialized courses,” said program coordinator Thesa Roepke. “The department will also offer a new class that will benefit almost anyone working in early care and education.”

The ECS program is designed to serve as a launching pad for students interested in careers as teachers, social services workers, child psychologists and other related fields. Classes are also offered to people already in the field who are looking to advance their careers. According to the Employment Development Department, child, family and school social workers in California earned a median annual salary of $48,117 in 2016. The department predicts the industry will experience a 13 percent jump statewide through 2022.

The mix of ECS classes being offered this spring at Hancock range from entry-level to the more advanced courses. The entry-level classes include ECS 100 (Child Growth and Development), ECS 101 (Child, Family and Community), ECS 102 (Child Health, Safety & Nutrition), and ECS 104 (Principles and Practices). Two of the courses, ECS 100 and 104, are being offered in both Santa Maria and at the Lompoc Valley Center.

Other ECS courses offered range from ECS 105, where students learn the use of observation and assessment to document development; ECS 106, the study of planning and facilitating early childhood curriculum; ECS 113, learning how to work with children with special needs; ECS 114, the study of perspectives on parent/child relationships; and ECS 120, developing early childhood professionals into mentors and leaders. The new class, ECS 150, will help replace some weekend courses and allow students to fulfill specific supervisor requirements.

“ECS 120 and 150 have a lot to offer people focused on building leadership and supervisor skills,” said Roepke. “They both help present and future teachers, family childcare owners, and directors of early care and education programs because they satisfy the administrative units required for the Site Supervisor permit issued by the Commission on Teaching Credentialing.”

The college’s early childhood studies program and Orfalea Children’s Center Lab School received a significant boost last year from the Orfalea Foundation in the form of a five-year, $785,000 grant. The funding allows the program to continue providing innovative classrooms and curriculum, as well as expand the outdoor classroom project. The lab school provides care for children between three months and five years of age, most with parents who attend or work at Hancock. The on-campus lab school provides early childhood studies students with the invaluable opportunity of putting the practices they learn into action. Students assist credentialed staff and receive specialized training and quality interaction with children.

Spring classes begin the week of January 23. You may register online until the day before a specific class begins. The college is offering more than 1,000 spring classes. To register or to see a complete list of classes, select Class Search on the college’s homepage at www.hancockcollege.edu .

For more information about the ECS program, please email troepke@hancockcollege.edu or call (805) 922-6966 ext. 3436.