Scholarships for future early childhood educators

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A scholarship opportunity is open for the next 14 months for those interested in early childhood education degrees. The Arizona of Economic Security’s (DES) Division of Child Care has funded First Things First to award statewide bachelor degree scholarships with very few requirements to be eligible.

Interested individuals can attend a community college or university, anywhere in the state and online, with 100% tuition, books and fees paid for through June 2024. And, if they complete their degree within this time, they get an additional cash bonus. For a bachelor’s degree, an individual can get up to $2,000.

First Things First is Arizona’s early childhood agency, committed to the healthy development and learning of young children from birth to age 5. The agency helps improve the quality of child care and preschool for children and families in Arizona.

Ginger Sandweg, Senior Director of Early Learning at First Things First, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss how the scholarship program has expanded their bachelor’s program state-wide through the pandemic relief fund.

“Anyone who is working at a regulated child care facility, whether it is a family child care home, a center-based program, a school district program, you can access this scholarship,” Sandweg said.

The pandemic decimated the work force in early childhood education and is still currently impacting it. Sandweg said about 90% of early childhood providers are struggling and have open positions, and about 50% cannot find people to fill those positions.

“We know that 90% of brain development happens between birth and the age of 5 years old, so it is critical that we have providers that are caring and educating for children,” Sandweg said.

Learn more about the previous expansion of the scholarship program here.

Ginger Sandweg, Senior Director of Early Learning at First Things First

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