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Highland’s Early Childhood Education receives Technical Assistance Credential

Highland Community College’s Early Childhood Education program has been approved as an entitled institution for the Gateways to Opportunity Technical Assistance Credential Level through 2023.


Students in the Early Childhood Education program at the college have the opportunity to qualify for state-recognized credentials as they take courses or complete a degree through Highland. The college is among a select group of institutions in Illinois to receive this credential. The credentials reflect multiple professional standards, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS). The faculty at Highland has worked diligently to align their courses with the Gateways to Opportunity competencies.


“Our program was one of five to initially pilot the Technical Assistance Credential, and I am delighted that we were approved as an entitled institution for the credential,” said Melissa Johnson, coordinator for Early Childhood Education. “Students pursuing a TA credential will have additional opportunities open to them to provide relationship-based professional development (RBPD) within the field of early childhood. These are especially exciting times because state agencies are exploring ways to formally document and utilize RBPD toward training requirements.”


The credential entitles Highland to further goals for graduating students to prepare them for relationship-based professional development, coaching, mentoring, and technical assistance. Gateways to Opportunity, Illinois Professional Development System, is designed to provide guidance, support, and recognition to practitioners who serve children and families. It is administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) on behalf of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).


For more information on the Early Childhood Education program at Highland Community College, visit