Early Childhood Education Success Stories

 

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Laura Roush

After a 12-year career as a paralegal, Laura decided to translate her passion for children into an early childhood career. She first opened a licensed family child care center in Longmont, which she ran successfully for 10 years until she moved to Fort Collins in 2004. She immediately re-opened Laura's Learn N Playcare. Laura says it’s important to her to enhance her knowledge as a business owner and child care provider through education. “I’ve always taken early childhood very seriously,” says Laura, whose business has been continually accredited by the National Association of Family Child Care since 1997 and earned a four-star Qualistar rating in 2008. “When I moved to Fort Collins, I discovered that I lived within walking distance of FRCC. I wanted to increase my early childhood education and immediately apply that knowledge in my work – and share that knowledge with families.” In 2012, Laura will graduate with her A.A.S. – but she says she will continue taking Early Childhood Education courses. “It is my goal to provide the highest quality environment possible for this young generation. For me, a degree in early childhood makes this goal achievable.”

 

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Ruth Lanciotti

After a few years of college at various schools in Maryland, her home state, Ruth married and started a family – and her children became her priority. She homeschooled all four from preschool through first grade, helped start a home school preschool, and eventually began working as a teacher assistant at a preschool. That’s when she decided to attend FRCC. “I’ve become such an advocate of Front Range these past five years,” says Ruth, who holds a Group Leader Certificate and is a few classes away from her A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education. “It has small classes, great instructors, and a really great Early Childhood Education program. For what I want, this degree is exactly perfect.” What Ruth wants is a degree to help her succeed in her early childhood education career – she’s now a kindergarten teacher’s assistant at a charter school – and the skills to help young children develop into successful students. “I think you get a better experience at Front Range than you do at other big four-year schools. Students in this program in particular draw on a lot of life experience, and that’s so important when you enter the classroom.” When she graduates from FRCC, Ruth says she’ll likely continue taking classes. “I’m a lifetime learner, and I always want to keep improving. Early childhood as a profession is always changing, so I’ll definitely keep a foot in Front Range’s door that way.”

 

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Linda Swedhin

Linda started college right after graduating from high school, but after two years, she met her husband and soon started a family. For several years, she ran a home day care, and later homeschooled her three children. Eventually, she taught at an English-as-a-Second-Language private school for 10 years. “It was an outstanding teaching experience,” Linda says. But always in the back of her mind was a desire to finish what she started. “I’d always wanted to get my bachelor’s degree. I knew I was talented at teaching, but for me, this was about reaching a goal.” In 2004, Linda learned about the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps early childhood scholarship (T.E.A.C.H.), and persuaded the owners of the preschool where she worked to support her academic endeavors. She enrolled at FRCC in 2004, and transferred to Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2009, earning the Mile High United Way LEARN scholarship. In May 2012, Linda will graduate with a B.A. in Human Development, Early Childhood track. Today, Linda is the assistant director of the Aspen Center for Childhood Development – a position she landed in 2007 after earning the Director Certificate at FRCC. “Front Range really helped me learn all that I could do in my career. I had great teachers who are very passionate about the field.” As for reaching a lifelong goal, Linda says she’s filled with pride. “I’m finally here. I feel like a real person with a degree.”

 

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Juliann VonLintel

Juliann’s mother passed away when she was in high school, and although she’d intended to go to college, she wasn’t prepared emotionally. Instead, she attended beauty school. After many years as a hairstylist, Juliann got the urge to go back to school – and took her first class at FRCC the same year her oldest daughter went off to college. “That first instructor I had inspired me,” she says. “So I took another class the next semester and another the next.” In 1998, Juliann graduated with an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education. She started teaching preschool part time. Eventually, Juliann transferred her FRCC credits to Regis University, where she earned a B.S. in Psychology. And later, she headed to the University of Colorado at Denver to get a master’s in Early Childhood Education, Special Education endorsement, in 2005. Today, Juliann teaches intensive needs students age three to five in Jefferson County Public Schools. She’s been there since 2004. “Every day is different. I try to figure out how I can make these kids’ world better, or how I can give them a new skill. I’m always on my toes and I love that.” Juliann also teaches ECE 260 Exceptional Child at FRCC. “When I was at FRCC, I never felt like I was just some person wandering the halls. I always felt someone cared about me. I think the success of the student is the very foundation of what FRCC does. I believed that as a student and I believe it as an instructor.”