Officials with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College officially announced on Wednesday, July 14, a partnership between the two institutions that will benefit NMCC students preparing for jobs as Head Start teachers and early childhood educators and help them to meet new state requirements for teaching in their field.
Recent state requirements have increased the qualifications for preschool teachers. Educators who teach children from birth to age 5 - and who earn their Maine teaching endorsement after July 1, 2009 - must have or be working toward a Bachelor's degree in order to teach. Right now, NMCC offers an Associate's degree program in Early Childhood Education, but there are no colleges or universities in northern Maine that offer a four-year Early Childhood Education degree.The partnership between UMPI and NMCC will create a pathway for NMCC students in the Early Childhood Education program so that, upon graduation, they can transition seamlessly into UMPI's Elementary Education Bachelor's degree program. Officials have worked for the past year to develop a new Early Childhood Education concentration within UMPI's Elementary Education degree program that will allow these students to meet the state requirements.