Producing Home-Grown Preschool Teachers

Erin Smolinski (Jerusalem-Morton Grove IL) is one of a growing number of preschool teachers who gained valuable training for her ministry without ever leaving her hometown.

Erin completed the 11 short courses in MLC’s Early Childhood Educator Series and then applied for and received her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

While it’s always best that teachers have their college degree in early childhood education, the Early Childhood Educator courses are an excellent first step for those who do not have a degree. And while some may opt for a community college’s courses, we boldly assert that MLC’s courses are better. “Our courses are more comprehensive than those offered at community college,” says Dr. John Meyer DMLC ’87, director of graduate studies and continuing education, “and they do much more than prepare you to teach. They also
prepare you to share the gospel in your classroom.”

MLC has also earned the prestigious CDA Gold Standard from the Council for Professional Recognition. The Gold Standard was given to a small handful of institutions across the country, signifying that their programs provide the highest quality instruction to prepare students for their CDA exam and their teaching careers.

In addition to its high quality, this series of courses checks off three important boxes for participants: It’s convenient, practical, and affordable.

CONVENIENT: Of the 11 courses in the series, almost all of which are 1-credit, seven are offered online, and the other four are offered on location. All you need to do is invite us to come, and we will send an MLC professor to your school or congregation to conduct the courses for you—just as we did for Jerusalem-Morton Grove.

PRACTICAL: Erin instantly appreciated the practicality of the courses. “I’ve been able to add new ideas and lessons to my classroom repertoire immediately—including hearing from other teachers about how to incorporate Bible lessons into everything in the classroom.”

Telling Bible stories happens to be her favorite part of teaching, especially since many students are from non-member families.

AFFORDABLE: MLC’s undergrad per-credit rate is only $310, and when you apply to take the 11 courses of the Early Educator Series, we send you the two textbooks for the series free of charge. As always, our goal is not to make money. It’s to make teachers. And that means keeping our rates as low as possible.

Erin understands that her continuing education doesn’t benefit her alone—or even her students. It sends an important message to the parents as well. “The ability to let parents know I’ve taken all these classes and have this credential will show them how much we care about their preschoolers,” she says. “Many parents in this area are looking for professional training and the utmost in care for their children, and I believe the MLC Educator Series has helped me achieve that.”

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Spring 2018 issue.