The Erikson Institute and Columbia College have received a $1 million grant from Irving B. and Joan W. Harris to create an early childhood teacher education program that includes two years of student teaching and mentor support during the first year of teaching.

The Columbia-Erikson program will prepare undergraduate students to teach in kindergarten through primary grades, in Head Start programs and in urban day care centers.

Twenty to 25 students are expected to enroll each year, with the grant funding scholarships and stipends and faculty salaries. A special effort will be made to recruit minority students.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, students will pursue a minor area of study in such areas as the arts, media, communications or technology.

Overall, the goal of the program is to restructure teacher education so that future teachers headed for urban schools receive more support.

“Teacher education must provide broad-based knowledge and real-life practice, combined with continual mentoring and consultation, even after graduation,” says Barbara Bowman, president of the Erikson Institute.”

For more information, contact the Education Studies Department of Columbia College at (312) 663-1600, ext. 5390.

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