LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Lock Haven University has received a grant of $16,950.00 under the state’s Innovation Grant – Gate Opener Project. Dr. Denise Tyson, associate professor and department chair of PreK-4/Early Childhood Education will serve as coordinator for the project. Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
Tyson stressed the importance of early childhood education. “High quality early childhood programs make an impact on both children and their families,” she said. “Teachers and caregivers are always seeking the best practices and the most current research to help improve their programs. Education is always the key to success at any level.”
In recent years, Pennsylvania has made significant strides to increase the availability of quality programs for children prior to kindergarten and to assure that teachers in these programs are well qualified for the important work they do. Through creation of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) the state has been able to coordinate these efforts as they relate to Head Start, child care, and PreK Counts programs and teachers. It is becoming clear, however, that significant barriers exist for early childhood teachers who are in need of further formal education.
According to Tyson, “The Gate Opener Project provides an opportunity for grant recipients to develop ways of addressing these barriers within their home institutions and with other relevant organizations and institutions.”
Tyson pointed out that “The LHU proposal has a primary focus on accessibility but addresses several other identified barriers as well.” This grant will help provide early childhood teachers and practitioners with essential coursework to help them be successful at what they do. It will also provide a way for some to earn PreK-4 certification, which is now a state requirement in many early education programs.