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BAS in Early Childhood Education - NSC
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  Anne Garrett, Manager Early Childhood Education BAS Degree
  North Seattle College, WA





North Seattle College (NSC), in collaboration with Seattle Central College, launched a new Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education (BAS ECE) in January 2016 at the same time that it launched an Integrated Basic Education Skills (I-BEST) program, becoming the first in the state and beyond to offer a full basic skills to baccalaureate pathway for ECE professionals. This degree has been successful in closing a critical and nearly universal workforce education gap that has long impacted ECE professionals and the children and families they serve. Our purpose in nominating this program is to bring a national spotlight to the unprecedented momentum the program has spawned throughout the state of Washington, so that other states might be similarly inspired to strengthen their communities through improved pathways for ECE professionals.

Research shows that children—especially those from low-income families—benefit from high quality early childhood education that includes well-compensated teachers with bachelor’s degrees (Whitebook 2003). As a result, city, state, and national policy is working to professionalize the field, with an increasing requirement that Lead Teachers of children ages 0-5 hold Bachelor’s Degrees. Such teachers have traditionally held Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) degrees, which do not articulate well to university baccalaureate degrees. Our primary purpose as a program has been to enable AAS-T recipients to attain baccalaureate status without experiencing a significant loss of credits. This is essential to sustaining the diversity of the workforce as it professionalizes, ensuring that children and families can identify with the educators working with them. While eighty-four percent of K-12 teachers are Caucasian, between one-third to one-half of ECE teachers are people of color (Whitebook 2014). As part of one of the most diverse college districts in the Pacific Northwest, North Seattle College is uniquely qualified to respond to the call to maintain the multiculturalism within the field.

This new program completes an ECE pathway that spans from basic education through baccalaureate degree. Students may begin in the I-BEST ECE Program, which enables students to earn their basic state certificate in ECE while also learning English language skills and then proceed through a series of three state-approved stackable certificates leading to the AAS-T and ultimately the BAS degree in ECE. All classes accommodate the needs of working students through evening and weekend scheduling and hybrid course offerings. Extensive navigation and scholarship assistance puts this innovative pathway within reach of students—often low-income—working in the ECE field.

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