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BRATTLEBORO — In response to the critical shortage of early childhood educators and the inability to provide childcare programming to full capacity due to the staffing shortage, Early Education Services, an arm of the Windham Southeast School District, is offering a free Community College of Vermont 3-credit child development course in the spring 2022 semester to anyone from the Windham County area.

EES state and federal funds will sponsor this opportunity, with the goal of generating interest in the field of early childhood education and/or promoting an increased awareness of the stages of early childhood development in the community. Students who successfully pass the course will be eligible for hire as substitute or entry level teacher positions at EES. However, those who take the course are not required to apply for those positions.

According to EES Executive Director Debra J. Gass, “Those who are interested in the field of early childhood education could seize this opportunity to enter the field, as ‘the first door to open all others,’ while others may embrace it exclusively as a way to increase their knowledge about child development. Either way, this is a win-win benefit for our community.”

The hybrid course will run from February 12 through May 15, with four face-to-face sessions at EES’ 130 Birge St. site in Brattleboro, on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 12, March 19, April 30 and May 14, along with asynchronous online coursework. Kim Freeman, Early Childhood Education Instructor at the Windham Regional Career Center will teach the course. Participants will need to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated and wear masks during face-to-face sessions.

In this course, students will explore child development from conception through preadolescence. The course emphasizes physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral, and communication development of the child. Topics include developmental theories, research, applications, and assessment tools. Any required textbooks will be provided at no cost to students.

Class enrollment maximum is 15 students. First come first serve. Contact: Debra J. Gass for more information: