January 12, 2024

Students on track to earn ECE Associate Teacher Certificate

Last fall, Nashua Community College and the YMCA of Greater Nashua partnered to offer Early Childhood Education (ECE) college classes at the YMCA in Merrimack, open to YMCA staff and the public. The YMCA offered on-site childcare, and Professor Lisa Furman, program coordinator for ECE at NCC, committed to teaching the course at the YMCA for the semester.

“One of our NCC goals is to make college more accessible to our community. Offering early childhood courses at the YMCA has provided a pathway for students to pursue their college education,” said Professor Furman.

The collaboration was a success, with 9 students comprising teens and adults completing the class and a mix of new and continuing students signing up for the next class in spring.  “This opportunity has made a positive impact on students,” she said.

The YMCA interviewed two of the students, adult learners and YMCA childcare staff Monica and Lynette, who thrived in the fall ECE course “Growth and Development of the Young Child.” Read their story below.

“The more knowledge early childhood educators have about children’s growth, development, and learning, the more impactful their interactions and lessons are with children, which leads to higher quality care, education, and support for families,” said Professor Furman.

“The early childhood education program of Nashua Community College is proud of its work with the YMCA of Merrimack, and we look forward to a continued partnership,” said Professor Furman. She said this spring, several of the same students are continuing and a few new students have joined.

“Early childhood education courses offered at the YMCA in Merrimack are open to all early childhood education professionals,” said Professor Furman.

“At least four of the current students will have earned their associate teacher certificate this term as they have decided to participate in the online course of ECE 103N along with their YMCA course. Others will have their associate teacher certificate at the end of the Fall 2024 semester.”

Grants and Scholarships

The State of New Hampshire continues to work to increase high-quality childcare for children and families. The State has several ECE grants available to community college students pursuing their degree in early childhood education:

ECE Gap Scholarship: This grant covers courses, fees, and books to students matriculated into an ECE certificate or degree. It will cover general education required courses as well, https://www.ccsnh.edu/ccsnh-ece-gap-scholarship-ece-gap/

  • Students must be matriculated into an ECE certificate or degree programs in the Community College System of NH to be eligible. (See ECE Program Info by College, ccsnh.edu)
  • Current employment in the field is not required.
  • The funds cover all certificate and degree required courses, including fees.
  • Students are not required to apply for FAFSA, but invited to as other assistance may be available.

Early Childhood Tuition Assistance (ECTA): Students can take two free ECE courses if they work at least 20 hours per week in the ECE field, https://ow.ly/NWCc50PVyiN

T.E.A.C.H. Program: The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood (Teacher Education & Compensation Helps) Initiative provides scholarships for ECE students who work at least 30 hrs/week in ECE, https://ow.ly/YibL50PVyl1

ECE Programs at NCC

Nashua Community College has Associate Teacher and Lead Teacher certificates, and a 2-year associate degree in ECE. See all the ECE pathways at: https://ow.ly/R3Ys50Qf1lQ

Learn More

To learn more about the Spring course offered at the YMCA and the NH ECE Grants, contact the NCC Admissions Team: [email protected], 603.578.8908