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More Education Urged for MN Child-Care Providers

There are calls for more education for those taking care of Minnesota's youngest children. Credit: skynesher.
There are calls for more education for those taking care of Minnesota's youngest children. Credit: skynesher.
August 12, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - As children across Minnesota prepare to head back to school, also heading back to class this fall will be some of those who play a critical role in educating the state's youngest kids.

With the importance of quality early childhood education for future success, said Valerie Peterson, director of financial support for Child Care Aware of Minnesota, there's been a call to increase the educational achievements of those providing child care.

"Recently, the National Academy of Sciences called for a strengthening of that early-childhood workforce, even going so far as to say all should have a bachelor's degree," she said. "That's quite a departure from where we are right now, where our family child-care providers are not required to have even a high school diploma."

According to the latest data, only 60 percent of Minnesota kindergartners demonstrate readiness for school.

With more training and education of child-care providers, those numbers can improve, said Peterson, but with an average salary of less than $23,000 a year, paying for classes can be a crunch. That's why Child Care Aware of Minnesota offers scholarships through its TEACH program.

"It can cover up to about 85 percent of the cost of books and tuition, and also builds in travel allowance and reimbursement for the cost of a substitute if that is required," she said. "Recipients are also eligible for pay raises and bonuses upon successful completion of their course work."

The TEACH scholarship program has been in place since 2002, and more than 100 providers in the state were awarded over this past year alone.

The National Academy of Sciences report is online at Information on the TEACH scholarship is at

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN