Distance Learning Program Highlighted in Washington

The University of Cincinnati Early Childhood Learning Community will be one of the programs highlighted Jan. 16 at a Washington, DC briefing that will be carried by satellite to thousands of teachers around the nation. The National Head Start Association and Council for Professional Recognition will release two studies on the effectiveness of its distance-learning course, "HeadsUp! Reading!," at a briefing that will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the headquarters of the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington, DC.

UC was the first higher education institution in the nation to offer the early literacy course for college credit to Head Start teachers through its Early Childhood Learning Community, says Lisa Holstrom, director of the ECLC. The National Head Start Association reports that more than 140 colleges around the nation are now providing the program through distance learning.

Holstrom says UC and Head Start worked together on the early planning stages of the program so that it would fit into the ECLC's distance learning associate degree program provided to Head Start teachers via satellite television and the Internet. "We saw the value and quality of the training that was being delivered, and UC added some additional assignments to boost the rigor of the curriculum," says Holstrom.

The Jan. 16 event will include the first broadcast of the course for 2003. Holstrom's presentation will center on how the distance-learning partnership has had a profound impact on Head Start teachers as well as the families they work with. In one case, Holstrom says a parent sought the help of a teacher in explaining a medical diagnosis involving her child. With the teacher's assistance, they were able to use the Internet to find more information on the child's illness. "The parent was so impressed with the technology that she used a tax refund to buy a computer for her house," says Holstrom.

UC's Early Childhood Learning Community, first launched in 2000, can provide an associate's degree to Head Start teachers in 48 states. As of 2003, Holstrom says there are 200 teachers in 36 states earning their degree through the ECLC.


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