Released on May 14, 2015The Government of Saskatchewan has expanded its dual credit partnership with Saskatchewan Polytechnic to offer high school students three more courses that will be recognized as a credit toward both high school graduation and an Early Childhood Education certificate or diploma. The courses will be available province-wide to all Grade 11 and 12 students, including students in First Nations schools.
“Offering students alternative pathways to high school graduation reinforces our student first approach to education in this province,” Education Minister Don Morgan said. “Early childhood educators prepare young children for school and lifelong success. This partnership will give students the opportunity to start building a career in this important field while they complete high school.”
The dual credit initiative supports the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth by providing alternative credit options for high school completion by partnering with school boards, teachers, training institutions, business and industry.
“The new dual credit initiative is what northern community schools need as we continue to strive to increase the graduation rates and offer a smooth transition into post-secondary education” Valleyview School Principal Arlene Hansen said. “Our school embraces this kind of partnership. Our school daycare is available for our students to have the opportunity to experience career education in early childhood. As we begin to work as a team, our community benefits.”
Starting in September of the 2015-16 school year, students can receive high school credit for completing the Interpersonal Communications; Health, Safety and Nutrition; and Role of Play in Early Childhood Education courses. All three courses will be available through distance education options with Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“This new agreement will allow students interested in early childhood education to fast-track their career plans, while others can explore the field as a career path before finalizing their post-secondary plans,” Saskatchewan Polytechnic President and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia said. “Both scenarios contribute to a more efficient use of students’ time and will give employers earlier access to grads. We look forward to exploring dual credit opportunities in other areas of study for similar gains.”
The new dual credit courses will help address the unprecedented demand for child care and qualified early childhood educators created by Saskatchewan’s growing economy. By successfully completing all three courses, students will be eligible for the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Educator 1 certification, the entry level for allowing them to work full-time at one of the province’s 301 licensed child care centres. The early childhood educator dual credit courses are a result of the work of the Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Education, Regina Douglas Park MLA Russ Marchuk.
“This is an innovative approach to education that will support quality in our early learning centres, while engaging students with increased options for high school credits,” Marchuk said. “This will also shorten the length of time to complete post-secondary education, saving both time and money, allowing students to start their careers sooner.”
May is Early Childhood Education month in Saskatchewan and May 14 is recognized as Early Childhood Educator Appreciation day.
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