The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Linda Ware, owner of Lynn's Play Pen

Kathy Campbell and Shanaé Anderson, teachers



Pre-school students benefit from Early SUCCESS teacher training

Kathy Campbell was the only Hamilton County public school Pre-K teacher to attend formal training for early childhood educators through Strategies for Urban Child Care, Education, Support and Services (Early SUCCESS), an early childhood educator professional development grant from the U.S. Dept of Education. Campbell said she was glad she attended, and she learned a lot.

“I think many of my colleagues with early education degrees did not believe this training would offer much they did not already know. I feel that if I attend a workshop or training session and come away with two good ideas, my attendance was worthwhile. Project Manager Kerry Hofer and everyone involved did a wonderful job, and I have been able to incorporate so much into my curriculum so that learning is more interesting for the students,” Campbell said.

Campbell’s learning tools include stuffed garden gloves on broomsticks. These clever homemade inventions are really transition tools to help students learn to tell time.

“Time is a difficult concept to convey to four year old students. This method allows one child in my classroom to hold the numbered glove to remind students they have five minutes or less left at an activity center. The other glove is used to point to the clock when we discuss telling time,” Campbell said.

The Early SUCCESS grant, secured by the UTC Children’s Center, an early childhood program operated by the Department of Human Ecology, College of Health Education and Professional Studies, has provided 8,500 hours of training in literacy, language, and social skills development to Hamilton County early childcare providers. Applicants came from early childhood centers where at least half of the children are living in low-income homes. Most participants teach children age 30 months to five years. To evaluate the teaching skills administered through the grant, students’ progress was assessed to determine the quality of the training prior to and post teacher training.

“We have trained 137 participants comprised of 114 teachers and 23 directors from 43 different settings,” said Kerry Hofer, Project Manger. The early educators completed the training of 80 hours of professional development at no cost, and were rewarded with $1,000 worth of books and other literacy and language development resources for there classrooms. The money is given during the course of the training so teachers can begin to purchase materials they are learning to use.

At Lynn’s Play Pen, teacher Shanaé Anderson incorporates a different theme for each month.

“We have talked about zoo animals, the ocean, and transportation,” Anderson said. “The children are also learning their names with name puzzles. We cut up the letters of their names, and let them match the letters to their names written on paper.”

The participants have also begun to read to their young students more. Anderson has started a lending library through the help of Early SUCCESS, and the students enjoy having their parents read to them at home. Cassandra Tanner, owner, director and teacher of Quality Learning Center in the Brainerd Area, says her students, age 2 1/2-5 years want to read all the time. “ I have had one parent tell me it the only way her daughter will calm down is when they read a book,” Tanner said.

Early SUCCESS has also provided

  • $113,024 in books and materials to the classrooms of participating teachers; $15,079 in books to the libraries of participating settings.
  • $16,600 in books to parents who have attended our workshops at Neighborhood Reading Centers.
  • $9,426 in books to 12 participating Neighborhood Reading Centers throughout Hamilton County.
  • $10,200 in books and materials to the Child Care Resource & Referral Center.
  • $6,800 in books and materials to the grant's two model sites of the UTC Children's Center.

“Although we have not been able to find funding to continue our project with another group of trainees, we have received a no-cost extension of our grant until October 2005,” Hofer said. “During this period, we will complete all data collection and analysis, continue to distribute our monthly newsletter to all training participants, and continue to work with Neighborhood Reading Centers,” Hofer said.

In addition, representatives from Early SUCCESS will present at the 2004 Capital Area Association for the Education of Young Children ( CAAEYC) and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Conferences in October and November and the IRA Conference in May 2005.