With so many parents working and so many people living away from their family, there is a great need for qualified people to care for young children. This creates a huge need for child care professionals throughout L.A. County and that's where First 5 LA's Early Care and Education (ECE) High School Recruitment (HSR) Program comes in.
The HSR Program was started to encourage high school students to consider working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers at a child care facility. Additionally through this program First 5 LA's goal is to learn the best ways to inform, engage and prepare students for a career in ECE.
The First 5 LA ECE HSR Program funds five grantee organizations across L.A. County that work with local high schools and two- and four-year colleges or universities to introduce students to the ECE field.
In three simple steps, the HSR Program provides students with information about Early Care and Education and career choices in this field.
Step I: Get Started
Students receive general information on the HSR Program and the important role ECE providers play in a child's growth and development. Activities include:
- Receiving information and materials about the ECE field at career fairs and community events;
- Attending presentations about the ECE field in class or at assemblies; and
- Listening to child care experts speak at school events and club meetings.
Step II: Get Involved
High school students gain first-hand experience in working with young children and discover the benefits of an ECE focused college program. Activities include:
- Field trips to child care centers to participate in activities with young children (reading, creating learning games, etc.);
- Visiting Child Development Departments in colleges and universities; and
- Job-shadowing in ECE occupations.
Step III: Get Going
High school students receive career and college counseling. They also take child development classes to receive high school and college credit while learning more about jobs in early care and education. Students participate in at least one of the following activities:
- One semester of a supervised internship or workshop at a high quality child care or preschool center, with a time commitment of a 3-unit college course. (approximately 45 hours for the semester).
- Completion of a college-level Child Development course (during high school or immediately after graduation).
- Enrollment and successful completion of a semester-long (or longer) high school Child Development course or child care-related Regional Occupational Program (ROP) course.
- There are many ECE jobs available for people who like working with children.
- Almost 80,000 licensed child care spaces are needed, according to the 2006 Child Care Needs Assessment for L.A. County.
- Nationwide, more than 50 percent of the parents of children under the age of 5 are working and need some form of care for their children during the day.
- Ninety percent of a child's brain has developed by age 3. Therefore the quality of care a child receives during these early years can have a direct impact on his or her future success.
- There are many ECE jobs available depending on your interest and training. You can work either work at a licensed child care center or start your own child care business.