Teachers Continue Learning: College Supports for Early Care and Education Students

To build a culturally and linguistically diverse and well-prepared workforce, F5AC strives to develop innovative strategies that will help college students earn their Child Development Permit (or advance to a higher level), obtain a degree, or transfer to a 4-year institution. 


Why is this important?


The Alameda County ECE workforce does not reflect the diversity of children they serve. 


In addition, beginning in 2013, Head Start and Early Head Start programs will require that all providers have AA or BA degrees. 


Nationally, fewer than 11% of community college students obtain a degree in 3 years. In Alameda County, only 5% of early childhood education college students in the Corps AA degree program obtained their AA degree in 3 years. 


Many Alameda County early childhood education students are “non-traditional” students, who face additional challenges to completing their degrees.  Additional supports provided for non-traditional students to improve their retention and graduation rates may include: student cohorts, advising, tutoring, access to technology, financial support, and accommodations to the students’ work schedules.






“Non-traditional” students have 4 or more of the following characteristics:

Source: Martha Zaslow et al., “Toward the Identification of Features of Effective Professional Development for Early Childhood Educators: Literature Review,” US Department of Education, 2010, p. 22.


Result 1

Cohorts for ECE students who are English  language learners


Cohorts offer support to groups of students with jointly scheduled classes, monthly meetings, tutoring and other targeted services. Courses are often thematically linked and offer an integrated curriculum to help students see connections between disciplines.


To enhance the diversity of the ECE workforce, Chabot, Las Positas and Merritt Colleges offer cohorts for English language learners.  Each college utilizes different strategies to address the challenges specific to the college’s student population.  


Las Positas and Chabot Colleges “English Language Learner Cohorts” share the goal that students complete 4 core early childhood development classes in Spanish with supplemental ESL support leading to an Associate Teacher Permit.  At Chabot College, students can take additional units for an early childhood development major with bilingual tutoring support.   Las Positas College provides free textbooks and helps students access campus supports such as counseling services, financial aid, and ESL assistance.


Merritt College’s “Emerging Teacher Program" (ETP) helps working students who are advanced English language learners complete general education courses by providing academic counseling, peer support, cohort meetings, weekend classes and tutoring.

Detail 1: Academic Achievement in English Language Learner Cohorts [more]

92% (36 of 39) of Chabot College English language learners completed the Prenatal to Early Childhood Development course with a “C” or better


84% (32 of 38) of Chabot College English language learners completed the Early Childhood Development Principles and Practices course with a “C” or better


Between 5-10% of Chabot College English language learners withdraw from or complete a course with an “F” each semester


The “most helpful” supports identified by the 62 students enrolled in English language learner cohorts at Chabot and Las Positas were: weekend classes and ESL classes   


Cohort Student Voice:

“I can now apply [what I have learned] to my family, job or personal life, for example, Erikson’s theory, ecological model and attachment.”

Detail 2: Degree Achievement in Cohorts [more]

Since 2005, 62% of 75 students enrolled in the Merritt College Emerging Teacher Program successfully obtained AA degrees in 3 years


Cohort Student Voice:

 “I learned how to do a lesson plan and incorporate what I learned, like how to set-up interest areas... I am more sensitive to children’s needs.”

Result 2

Scholarships and stipends for earning AA and Bachelors degrees


Working students enrolled in the CSU East Bay “BA in Early Childhood Development Cohort” received  scholarships,  flexibly located and scheduled classes, tutoring and cohort meetings. Graduates of the first cohort program agreed to participate in a longitudinal 5-county study that is examining outcomes of these efforts to inform policy and program planning.


The Corps AA Degree program provides stipends for students in addition to one-on-one student advising, support with developing student education plans, assistance with Child Development Permits applications, tutoring, counseling and career advising.

Detail 1: BA Degree Achievement [more]

28 of 33 students at CSU East Bay obtained BA degrees


Student interviews were conducted with 102 graduates of 5 county BA degree programs:

  • 88% (88 of 101) students agreed the cohort helped them access this level of education and succeed when otherwise they would not
  • 75% (75 of 102) of students reported that course work improved their ability to teach children skills related to language, literacy and social interaction


Cohort Student Voice:

"Working towards a BA had a positive impact…on my own family, but also gave me new confidence to have positive and professional interactions with my peers, parents and children at work. I find myself referencing journal articles and text books to initiate a conversation and have a deeper understanding about children's interactions. I use more effective conflict resolution strategies when the opportunities [arise] with children and parents.”

Detail 2: ECE Students Get First or Higher Level Child Development Permit [more]

In the Corps AA program:

  • 51 students obtained a Child Development Permit for the first time over a four-year period
  • 29% (160 of 555) of students who already held a Permit moved to a higher Permit level


Result 3

New opportunities at Cal State University East Bay and community colleges offer flexibility and variety for ECE Students

Cohort Student Voice:

"This [cohort] program has helped me in many ways - the support from fellow students…and taking care of our needs with special services like a private tutor for our math class. The knowledge I am gaining makes me proud… At my work when the parents have a question, I can confidently answer them and parents see me with respect. Even my Director and the people I work with say, ‘How can you take so many classes? I would never do that.’ I smile and walk away thinking teaching is my passion and I love to teach and learn."





Detail 1: Supporting Masters Degree Cohorts [more]

CSU EB Department of Teacher Education now offers a Masters level cohort in Early Childhood Development.

  • 9 of 23 students enrolled in this program are graduates of the CSU East Bay “BA in Early Childhood Development Cohort”
  • 4 faculty members agreed to ongoing observations of 3 ECE classrooms (infant, toddler and preschool) hosted by cohort students as part of their own training

Detail 2: Applying Units Across Colleges [more]

Statewide efforts on articulation enable students to take classes that count towards a degree at any community college and ensure students are eligible to transfer to a 4-year institution


  • Each of 4 Alameda County community colleges submitted documentation to the statewide Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) and worked on college reciprocity agreements
  • Chabot and Las Positas Colleges students can receive credit for 8 core courses, taken at either college, toward the AA Degree

Detail 3: New BA Degree in Early Childhood [more]

Human Development faculty at CSU East Bay approved a proposal for a BA degree in Early Childhood and is seeking funding. Only one other CSU campus offers a BA degree program in Early Childhood Studies.

Cohorts for ECE students who are English language learners
Scholarships and stipends for earning AA and Bachelors degrees
New opportunities at Cal State University East Bay and community colleges offer flexibility and variety for ECE Students

This Annual Report's Main Sections: