By Amanda Rico
Ka La staff writer
It is not daycare. It’s childcare.
“We don’t take care of the days, but the children,” says Linda Buck, coordinator of the Early Childhood Education Program at Honolulu Community College and an advocate for early childcare throughout the community.
The early childhood education field is certainly a topic of interest lately. Society is becoming more and more aware of the impact education has at an early age. This year Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has proposed increasing state funding for preschools so that all children can experience their benefits. The community is recognizing that early childcare is a lot more than just babysitting. It is about teaching our future generations, and the ECE program at HonCC understands that.
The program at HonCC is open to anyone who has met the English 22 requirement. Throughout the ECE program, you will gain knowledge on how to work with children and their families. Everything connects through the one source, which is the child, and by just starting off and taking the first ED courses this is apparent.
The ECE program is designed on a continuum, where each class leads into the next, and certificates and degrees prepare you for learning at the next level. All classes are applied toward the certificate and AS degree, and these can be used toward a bachelor of arts degree in social sciences and early childhood education at UH-West Oahu. Beyond the bachelor’s degree, UH-Manoa offers a master’s degree in the ECE field. So HonCC has proved a good starting point for many looking to advance into different degrees.
“The teachers are very knowledgeable and experienced; they expose their students on up-
to-date teacher media in early childhood,” said a former HonCC ECE student with a masters in the field.
Buck also has a sense of pride when she speaks about the faculty. “They’re an amazing group of people, and all are highly qualified with experience. They know what it takes to work in the early childhood field,” she said. Getting into the field comes with big and growing responsibility as society understands more about the development of younger children.
“It’s important to really think about young children and ask if you’re really curious about how children learn and what they’re doing. It’s more than just liking children; it’s really about respecting children as whole human beings from the moment they are born,” Buck said.
Two different AS degrees are offered at HonCC; one in the preschool option and another in the infant/toddler option. The AS degrees require 62-63 total credits. Both have the same basic structure but change as the last courses in the sequence become more specific.
The AS degree also requires 12 to 13 general education credits. The AS degree gives you the opportunity to get a bachelor’s in social sciences with a concentration in early childhood education.
The program also offers several certificate programs. Online ED courses are available to anyone interested in the distant education option. The ECE program also offers the PACE program created 20 years ago; it is a program for anyone in the community looking to get into the ECE field. Students can take these courses, which can be converted to college credits if they choose to go on to a certificate or degree. Classes of PACE are in Kapolei, Kailua and central Oahu.
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