Preparing Paraprofessionals for Early Childhood Education – Project P²ECE funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, is a partnership of the Paraprofessional Resource and Research (PAR²A) Center at the University of Colorado Denver with the University of Northern Colorado and the Early Childhood Education State-wide Community College Faculty coalition funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U. S. Department of Education. The project addresses the critical need for well prepared paraprofessionals and teaching assistants who are equipped with competencies and skills to provide instructional support to each and every child in a variety of preschool settings that include local school districts, Head Start and community based preschool (3-5 years) programs. It is important to note that the scope of this project is not limited to paraprofessionals, the resources are useful for early childhood workforce development.
The project reviews and redesigns courses of the existing Early Childhood Education certificates as well as Associates of Arts degree program at Colorado community colleges by incorporating standard-based and evidenced-based special education content and practices. The project also puts systems in place for the delivery of the redesigned coursework as well as its articulation agreements for the transfer of enhanced curriculum into four-year special education degree programs.
The objectives that accomplish the overall project goals are:
- To expand the existing course competencies in Early Childhood Education certificate as well as Associates of Arts degree program at the Colorado Community College System to include the state and national personnel preparation standards established by the Colorado Department of Education, Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Early Childhood, and National Association for Education of Young Children.
- To review and redesign the existing ECE certificate and Associates of Arts degree in the Colorado Community College System by incorporating early childhood special education knowledge and skills competencies created under Objective 1. Click here to view some of the coaching and revision tools used to achieve this objective.
- To train community college faculty and practicum supervisors to implement the redesigned coursework.
- To train and provide support to project coaches who supervise practicum in the field.
- To deliver the redesigned curriculum as a pilot at two community colleges.
- To collaborate with the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Statewide Community College Faculty coalition to implement and sustain the redesigned program and articulate it with the existing Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) programs in four year colleges and universities.