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Boeing Grant to Provide Funding for Professional Development for Early Childhood Professionals

Published: December 15, 2009

The Boeing Company has awarded CSULB a $35,000 grant for a project that will provide professional development for early childhood professionals (ECPs) who work for small early learning centers in the Long Beach area.

Awarded through the company’s Global Corporate Citizenship Program, the grant will be used to educate 30 ECPs about professionalism and ethical conduct in the workplace, especially as it relates to working with diverse populations. These ECPs will be recruited from at least five local centers, including Precious Lamb, Children Today, Long Beach Day Nursery, Young Horizons and the Alpert Jewish Community Center.

The project, titled “Professional Development Services to Long Beach Small Early Learning Center Teachers,” will begin Jan. 25 and end Aug. 30.

“These early childhood professionals have a significant impact on the learning and development of local 2-to-5-year-olds,” said Christina Nigrelli, a lecturer in the CSULB Family and Consumer Sciences Department and director of the project. “The goal of this project is to enhance the quality of instruction the children receive and help these teachers become more effective communicators and collaborators with parents and other early childhood professionals.”

Nigrelli noted that the project is needed because many local ECPs have limited opportunities to participate in professional development activities, especially those that count toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree.

“This teacher training is especially important because of the nationwide trend that is moving in the direction of requiring a bachelor’s degree for early childhood professionals,” Nigrelli pointed out. “Not only will the 30 participants have completed an appropriate college-level course to help make them better teachers, they will be provided information on how to continue their academic careers.”

The project will offer a college-credit course with units toward degree requirements. In addition, the professional development hours received through the project may be used by ECPs toward their child development permit issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

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Participants will take part in a college-level course (Family and Consumer Sciences 490—Special Topics: Professionalism and Ethical Conduct in Child Care) that is designed and implemented exclusively for them. Nigrelli will teach the class at CSULB next summer. The course will be offered on Saturdays to accommodate the busy schedules of the working professionals.

When the course is completed, an assessment of its impact will be conducted, including follow-up interviews with participants and center supervisors and a written evaluation by participants. “The assessments will help us to determine how effective the program was and will assist us in developing appropriate topics and content for the next phase of the project,” Nigrelli explained.

The Boeing Company supports the development of social, emotional and cognitive skills in children from birth to age 5 that are needed to succeed in school and life. Boeing has been actively involved in early childhood education in Long Beach since the 2002 implementation of the REACH Project. REACH–Readiness and Early Activities for Children from the Heart—was initiated to improve children’s readiness to enter kindergarten through improving their early learning experiences.

–Rick Gloady