Any given Saturday on every Mohave Community College campus you will find classrooms filled with people learning how to help shape next generation.
The students are part of a unique group taking part in the Child Development Associate Pathway. They learn the best methods and practices to educate young children and be prepared to take the certification exam through the CDA Council of Professional Recognition.
The CDA Pathway is part of a joint collaboration between MCC and the Association for Supportive Child Care, which is the professional development strategy partner for the First Things First early childhood development program in the La Paz-Mohave County Region.
First Things First is a statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten.
“This is a great community partnership that helps us prepare those who are helping shape the youngest learners, the next generation,” said MCC President Dr. Michael Kearns.
Students in the CDA Pathway classes at Mohave Community College are already working in the field of early childhood education, including as Head Start Assistants and other childcare workers.
“This class is great and I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity because I came here to learn how to help better educate the children at our preschool and what I’m learning here is already helping the kids,” said Kaytlin Nadolski, New Day North Preschool employee in Lake Havasu City.
Martha Castellanos works at the Smoketree Elementary Preschool and said the class opened her eyes to how a child’s brain developments, and the best ways to help the child learn.
“MCC is teaching me what I need to know for the benefit of the kids, so I can teach the children, our students, to be independent learners and be ahead of the game when they leave preschool,” said Castellanos.
Students in the MCC class also want to get the message out to parents about the importance of sending their children to preschools and day care programs that have Childhood Development Associate Certified staff members.
“It’s a very big deal to have teachers certified, not only for the knowledge they bring to help the young children learn, but it takes a very dedicated person to get their CDA to further their knowledge to want to help the children,” said Breanna Griffith, a teacher at New Day Preschool.
The LaPaz/Mohave County Regional Partnership Council recently won the statewide Eddie Basha Regional Partnership Excellence Award for Leadership and Service for its efforts to promote positive and lasting change on behalf of young children, and the MCC partnership was instrumental in that effort, according to Brandon Basha, eldest grandson in the Basha family.
“This partnership reinforces continuous professional development and education for early care professionals, and ensures the region’s young children have equal access to high quality child care no matter where they live in the region,” Basha said.
Eddie Basha was an iconic Arizona businessman, humanitarian and staunch advocate for public education who spent his life championing children and the communities that nurture them.
“The award is great recognition of the work MCC can do with community partners to ensure this type of education is available,” said Dr. Stephanie Dieringer, MCC associate dean.