Athens, Ga. – Students majoring in child and family development or education, especially those who are bilingual, may be eligible for scholarships in a new birth-through-five emphasis developed by faculty in two University of Georgia colleges.
The new emphasis will certify graduates to work with both children from birth through age five and those with special needs, according Maria Souto-Manning, a co-director of the program and a faculty member in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
While the new emphasis is open to all rising juniors who have a 2.7 grade point average and have completed area A-F of the UGA curriculum prior to August 2008, the scholarship program is limited to those who agree to work in inclusive preschool or kindergarten classrooms or in early intervention programs upon graduation. Bilingual students will receive priority consideration
The deadline for applying for the program and scholarships is March 3. Scholarships of $2,200 per semester are available to 15 students and three waivers for out-of-state tuition stipends will be offered, said Cynthia Vail, an associate professor in the College of Education’s department of communication sciences and special education and director of the scholarship program funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant.
Enrollment in the first cohort will be limited to 30 students and is expected to draw 15 students from each college, according to Souto-Manning, an assistant professor of child and family development.
“Graduates of this emphasis will be prepared to teach in classrooms and programs that are both inclusive and developmentally appropriate,” said Souto-Manning, who noted that prior to the birth-through-five program’s beginning many college students who were interested in working with very young children tended to become certified in elementary education.
What very young children need in order to build their language literacy and numerary skills are very different from what a child who has begun school needs,” she said, adding that the birth-through-five certification is strongly supported by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a certifying organization for childcare programs noted for its high standards.
Students who are accepted into the program will spend part of each semester working with young children across the birth-through-five spectrum in addition to their regular classes, according to Souto-Manning.