Paladin’s Early Childhood Education Program Welcomes Purdue University Northwest Students
Paladin, a non-profit organization that hosts Head Start of LaPorte County, Imagination Station (Michigan City) and Early Childhood Programs at Bethany Church (La Porte), is pleased to announce its partnership with Purdue University Northwest (PNW). The partnership will offer aspiring human service professionals interested in working with children the opportunity to complete their practicum in one of Paladin’s high-quality childcare facilities.
According to a 2023 childcare feasibility study by the Michigan City Economic Development Corp (EDMC), “…there is an overwhelming need for quality early childhood education programs.” A recent study provided by the Center for Workforce Innovations (CWI) estimates that “600 seats of high-quality and affordable care are needed in Michigan City, IN.” Brighter Futures Indiana’s website alerts us to “…a meager and dwindling supply of qualified early childhood education (ECE) educators.” Paladin hopes to play a role in the solution by partnering with universities like PNW, to provide pathways to degree and certification and to help create a pipeline from college to career.
Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) Human Development and Family Science undergraduate program prepares students for human services roles with children and their families. Students’ curricula focus on children’s development, education and behavior, as well as family dynamics, law and ethics. PNW helps students working in the Human Development and Family Science field seamlessly transition their existing work responsibilities to practicum experience. This helps students and families maintain consistent relationships with each other while also addressing local shortages in child care services.
Experiential learning at these sites is invaluable to the future impact these students will provide because they must recall key course concepts as they navigate different family relationships.
“It is always great to partner with a new site for the Human Development and Family Science field experience courses,” said Patricia Rodda, lecturer of Human Development and Family Science at Purdue Northwest. “We look forward to the mentoring our students will receive from this partnership. Experiential learning at these sites is invaluable to the future impact these students will provide because they must recall key course concepts as they navigate different family relationships. PNW students are trained to be caring, professional and accessible resources for families, as well as nurture the growth of Northwest Indiana’s children.”
Paladin’s Early Childhood Programs already operate at a very high standard that meet or exceeds federal and state guidelines. All lead teachers must have at least an associate or bachelor’s degree in child development or early childhood education. The programs are also accredited with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), have achieved Levels 3 and 4 (Paladin’s Head Start and Imagination Station, respectively) on the Paths to QUALITY™, and accepts CCDF and On My Way Pre-K Vouchers.
Steve Hobby, President and CEO of Paladin, says, “We can serve more children but have waitlists due to the workforce shortage in education. The partnership with PNW will be beneficial to staff, students and the community.”
As the premier metropolitan university of Northwest Indiana, Purdue University Northwest delivers transformative and impactful change for the region. PNW’s high-quality academics prepare students to apply college classroom lessons into direct action through participation in community partnerships and more.
PNW’s Human Development and Family Studies undergraduate program is a Certified Family Life Educator-approved program by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). NCFR’s certification authenticates that PNW Human Development and Family Studies students are adequately trained in core Family Life Education principles to deliver quality and holistic service to families through their practice.