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Registration Open for Career-Enhancing Early Childhood Studies Classes at Allan Hancock College

Learning how to interact with children is one of the many benefits to taking early childhood studies classes at Allan Hancock College.
Learning how to interact with children is one of the many benefits to taking early childhood studies classes at Allan Hancock College. (Allan Hancock College photo)

Whether students plan to become teachers, police officers, counselors or parents, understanding and successfully interacting with children is essential, and luckily it is one of the many benefits available to students through Allan Hancock College’s early childhood studies (ECS) program. 

The program offers five degrees, five certificates and the opportunity for guaranteed transfers into the University of California and California State University systems.

Twenty early childhood studies classes are being offered during the upcoming spring semester at Hancock’s Santa Maria campus, Lompoc Valley Center and online.

Registration for spring 2016 term is under way, and classes begin the week of Jan. 25, 2016.

“There’s more to the early childhood studies program than taking care of or studying children,” said program coordinator and lead instructor, Judith Dal Porto. “We all interact with children and families at some point in our lives, so knowing the best ways to interact with children and how to help support their emotional and physical growth are going to help in any career.”

There is a mix of ECS classes being offered in the spring, ranging from entry-level to the more advanced courses.

Entry-level classes include ECS 100 (child growth and development), ECS 101 (child, family and community), ECS 102 (child health, safety and nutrition) and ECS 104 (principles and practices).

Other ECS courses offered range from ECS 106, the study of planning and facilitating early childhood curriculum, ECS 112, learning how to work with preschool-aged children with special needs, ECS 114, the study of perspectives on parent/child relationships, and ECS 130, which introduces students to concepts and issues to teaching in today’s public school system.

Four of the courses — ECS 100, ECS 101, ECS 102 and ECS 106 — are being offered in both Santa Maria and at the Lompoc Valley Center.

“Students responding to a survey specifically said they wanted more ECS classes offered in Lompoc. This is their opportunity to take key courses closer to home,” Dal Porto said.

Students may register online for classes through Jan. 24 at

The ECS program is designed to serve as a launching point for students interested in careers as teachers, social services workers, child psychologists and other related professions.

According to the Employment Development Department, child, family and school social workers in Santa Barbara County earned a median annual salary of $46,825 in 2015.

The department predicts the industry will experience a 16 percent increase in employment in Santa Barbara County and a 13 percent jump statewide through 2022.

Last month, the Orfalea Foundation awarded Hancock’s early childhood studies program and the Children’s Center Lab School a five-year $785,000 grant to continue providing innovative classrooms and curricula.

For more information about the ECS program, please email [email protected] or call 805.922.6966 x3935.

Gina Herlihy is a public affairs and publications technician at Allan Hancock College.


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