Gratz now offers a nine-credit fast-track to an early childhood director credential. The degree is designed to take as little as six months to complete.
Hailee Sapp is big on ambition but short on time.
As assistant director at Creative Care, a childcare center in Norristown, Sapp works 12-hour days. That leaves little time for professional development, she said.
Then she learned about a nine-credit early childhood Director Credential program at Gratz College. The program, which launched in January, is entirely online and designed to help early childcare workers advance in their careers.
“I have worked in childcare for seven years,” Sapp said. “I always thought I wanted to be a teacher, but I work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I haven’t had time to go back to school.”
Sapp earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University and went straight to work. As her career progressed, she found she had less time to take courses in the traditional classroom setting.
She felt that Gratz’s online program was custom-made for her. She is one of five students enrolled in the program.
“I don’t have time to go to class,” said Sapp. “This program is the perfect option because I can immediately use what I learn. It helps me in my current position and with my future career.”
Sapp has aspirations of teaching in an elementary or middle school—particularly in a high-risk location. She’s getting her Director Credential as a stepping stone toward a master’s degree in education.
Gratz has tailored its Director Credential program to fit with its existing master’s in education program, which offers a concentration in early childhood education. The Director Credential requires three courses: Leadership and Advocacy, Issues in Supervision, and Creating a Practical Business Plan for your Early Childhood Program.
These credits can count toward the master’s degree, explained Jessica Whittemore, director of the Master of Arts program in education. Director Credential courses are offered in eight-week sessions and run year-round, allowing participants to complete coursework in six months.
“What’s very exciting about this program is that it’s a nine-credit program that will allow participants to move up the Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality Career Lattice,” said Whittemore. “Recently, early childcare has gone through so many changes. We know our population and the need for this program, especially in Philadelphia. We saw this need and wanted to fill it.”