Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Early Childhood Education Initiative Receives Grant

Rio Salado College’s Early Childhood Education program has received a $311,000 grant from First Things First South Phoenix Region for its Arizona Center for Early Childhood Management (AZCECM) project.

“The goal of AZCECM is to advance the quality of care and education for Arizona’s children by enhancing the administrative skills of individuals who operate early childhood programs,” said Tina LeBaron, grants coordinator at Rio Salado.

There are two components to AZCECM: the Arizona Director’s Academy for center-based program administrators and the Family Child Care Management Academy for family child care providers.

As part of the grant, 30 childcare professionals are being recruited to participate in one of the academy programs.  Participants will receive tuition and book vouchers for the nine credits offered during the 12-month program, peer-to-peer mentoring, conference registrations and coaching services.

Coaches will work with participants to create an individual professional development plan to establish education and career goals.

Through the academies, participants will receive training in management practices, administration, leadership, and relationship-building skills.

“Effective management skills are a key component for the implementation of high quality, developmentally appropriate early care and education programs,” LeBaron said.

After the completion of the initial 12 months, participants will have the option of completing a certificate or degree through Rio Salado’s Early Childhood Education program.

For more information about the AZCECM project contact Rio Salado College at (480) 417-8580 or

First Things First
First Things First was created in 2006, when Arizona voters—through Proposition 203 ballot initiative—decided to set aside 80 cents from each pack of cigarettes sold in order to fund the expansion of education and health programs for children 5 years and younger.  Under the terms of the proposition, decisions about how to best use the funds are made on a per-region basis by 31 councils made up of local leaders. The statewide board—which has final approval of the councils’ recommendations—is responsible for ensuring that the funds are used on programs proven to work at improving outcomes for children.