Childcare providers grow, develop essential skills through Washington Adventist University

This content is sponsored by Washington Adventist University.

Ordette Glass has been working as a childcare provider for nearly two decades, but even for a professional such as herself who has extensive experience in the real world, seeking additional education has the potential to significantly enhance her career and overall impact.

That is why Glass became a student at Washington Adventist University (WAU), a private university in Takoma Park, Maryland.

“The school as a whole is definitely supportive of our growth, our development and our learning,” Glass said. “Knowing that I could attend this university and acquire a bachelor’s degree and continue in the profession that I had already been in made it all worthwhile.”

Glass, who runs a childcare center in Maryland called Open Minds Early Learning Center, joined WAU’s program through which students earn a bachelor’s degree in the area of “early childhood care and education.”

It is a program designed for adult learners who want to advance their careers to the next level.

“The professors are very hands-on,” Glass said. “I’m learning how to improve in a lot of areas, including what kids need in terms of their growth and their development.”

WAU has been a leader in providing career-building degree programs for working professionals.

Its vision is to produce graduates who bring competence and moral leadership to their communities.

“The online program makes it extremely flexible where I don’t have to drive to the actual campus,” Glass said. “Just being able to access everything online is very convenient.”

What students can expect

Enrolling as a student in WAU’s early childhood care and education program offers a transformative experience, equipping students with the knowledge, skills and values essential for fostering the holistic development of young children.

The program stands out for its commitment to excellence, rooted in a unique combination of academic rigor, practical experience and a values-based approach.

“They’re going to get the knowledge they need to help them to grow,” said Carol Cogen, a program coordinator at WAU. “It will put them on another level, giving them additional tools to help them effectively communicate and manage their own business.”

Courses cover a range of relevant topics, including early literacy, social-emotional development and inclusive education.

It not only reinforces theoretical concepts but also allows students to develop essential teaching skills, classroom management techniques and the ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of working with kids.

“Because it is online, students do not have to rush to get to a classroom or rush to get to campus,” Cogen explained. “They don’t have to sit at their computer at a specific time to do this either, so there’s a lot of flexibility.”

Faculty members, experienced educators and researchers in the field play a crucial role in shaping the learning experience.

They are dedicated to mentoring students, supporting critical thinking and providing guidance on the latest innovations in early childhood education.

Based on the expertise that students receive, “they will have an opportunity to obtain further professional credibility,” according to Joyce Johnson, dean of WAU’s school of graduate and professional studies.

“In our program, you are actually receiving a degree that will open up a number of different career paths for you,” Johnson said. “In addition to working in a childcare setting, you may be able to work in an administrative role and possibly have a role in policymaking as it relates to education.”

Prioritizing faith

Founded in 1904, WAU is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers a Christian education to students of differing faiths.

It provides an unrivaled opportunity for learning, work, recreation, service and worship.

“We are passionate proponents when it comes to producing competent and moral leaders, and one way we do that is by integrating faith with learning,” Johnson said. “We are an institution that’s founded on faith, and our students have an opportunity to be inspired by principles that are positive.”

Faith plays a pivotal role in shaping people morally, spiritually and intellectually.

By prioritizing faith, WAU creates a space where students can explore their spiritual identities, allowing for personal growth and a deeper understanding of ethical principles.

Laurie Valcius, who runs a childcare center in Maryland called Abba’s House Childhood Learning Center, said her experience as a student in WAU’s early childhood care and education program showed her that “the professors really want to see their students succeed.”

“The professors are very spiritual,” Valcius said. “They are caring, attentive and they are there for you.”

Valcius said the program was particularly beneficial in helping her discover new and effective ways to care for children who have special needs, including those with autism.

“It’s been very informative,” said Valcius. “It’s definitely improved the quality of my childcare program that I currently operate within my own business.”

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