November 20, 2017

PORTSMOUTH — Ten area preschools and child care centers are partnering with Great Bay Community College’s early childhood education program to provide mentorship and workplace training opportunities for students and deepen connections between current providers and educators in the field.

The 10 preschool programs have been invited to become formal internship sites for GBCC students who are training to become early childhood educators. The partnership will offer a stronger connection between what students learn in their classroom and the skills they need in the workplace. Potential mentors and child care center directors met with GBCC faculty Nov. 1 to launch the partnership at a Practicum Orientation for Community Mentors.

“This partnership helps ensure that GBCC students are trained to the high level that the community and schools expect while helping current teachers hone their mentorship skills and collaborate with other educators and the college,” said Anita Ward French, chairwoman of GBCC’s Education department. “This is an important enhancement to our programs because it provides more consistency within Practicum sites while exposing all involved to the highest quality early childhood education practices.”

Participating schools include: Great Bay Kids & Co. in Exeter and at Pease International Tradeport; Little Tree Education in Dover and Madbury; Live & Learn Early Learning Center in Lee; Nurture and Nature Children’s Center in Newfields; Robin’s Childs Place Early Childhood Education Center in Hampton Falls; Seacoast Community School in Portsmouth; Farmington Child Care Center; and Stratham Circle Learning Center.

“Classroom teams gain valuable insight into their strengths and opportunities for improvement through resources available to educational programs that assess the quality of the environment and interactions with children,” Ward French said. “By working together, we’re improving the level of education children receive and at the same time, connecting new teachers with experienced mentors who are excited to share their diverse experiences.”

The Nov. 1 orientation event kicked off a series of trainings that teach coaching and mentoring strategies to teachers from participating local preschools. The preschool teachers can then use their new mentoring skills and resources as they host students from GBCC who are making the transition to the early childhood profession. Funding for the development of this program and materials is made possible in part through the Carl Perkins Grant.

GBCC offers a two-year, 61-credit early childhood education associate in science degree designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to create a positive learning environment for young children. In addition to the associate degree, GBCC offers a 23-credit certificate in early childhood education and a 29-credit advanced certificate in early childhood education. These certificates can be completed on a full- or part-time basis and courses are offered during the day, evening, and online to support working students and reduce travel time. For more information about early childhood education programs at GBCC, visit

To learn more about enrolling in the early childhood education program, email Ward French at [email protected].

Original Story: Seacoastonline/Portsmouth Herald –