T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood National

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Project: A National Effort

An effective, economical and practical way for the early childhood workforce to get the education it needs and wants

“We have received T.E.A.C.H. scholarship funding for six employees over the past eight years. The difference between employees receiving college education and those attending in-service training shows in the quality of care they provide. While training is useful and informative, it does not culminate in the transformation of people into capable, confident, serious professionals the way the college experience does. We have to move beyond the minimal standards of care addressed by licensing. Our families deserve well rounded experiences for the children they place in our care and those children’s future depends on it.”

Center director and T.E.A.C.H. sponsor


T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® is a comprehensive scholarship program that provides the early childhood workforce with access to education. By promoting higher education, the program is helping to establish a well-qualified, fairly compensated and stable workforce for this nation’s children. T.E.A.C.H. also creates new and diverse advocates who are necessary to support long-lasting policy changes. From higher education institution capacity building to individual educational goals, T.E.A.C.H. can be a change agent in every state.


T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Core Values and Guiding Principles

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project holds true to a set of fundamental core values. These values are born out of an original set of four basic principles that were established when T.E.A.C.H. was founded and implemented as a small pilot project in 1990. These values still hold true today. Knowledge and understanding developed through years of implementation and growth has led to the development of not only these values, but also a set of guiding principles that define the character and culture of T.E.A.C.H. They are enduring qualities and shared convictions that we bring to our profession and are a fundamental strength of our work.

Simply, our T.E.A.C.H. core values require us to:

  • Develop and provide resources to increase the education, compensation and retention of the early education workforce.
  • Build partnerships for professional development.
  • Reach the diversity of the field.
  • Use and strengthen existing higher education systems.
  • Increase collaboration through formation of a state-level advisory committee.
  • Collect, analyze and share data.
  • Create educational pathways.
  • Strengthen the early childhood infrastructure within states.
  • Work to deliver high-quality, outcome-focused services.
  • Think system, not program as we grow and develop workforce initiatives.
  • Advocate for increased compensation for the early childhood workforce.
  • Be accountable to funders, T.E.A.C.H. customers, the workforce, policymakers, and higher education systems.

For the complete Core Values and Guiding Principles document, click here.

T.E.A.C.H. is unlike any other scholarship opportunity. T.E.A.C.H. scholarships provide access to education so that participants can take coursework leading to Associate and Bachelor’s degrees, credentials and licensure in early childhood education or child development. States develop scholarship models to address the specific needs of their workforce.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Accomplishments

Affecting outcomes for two decades

“What makes the work of T.E.A.C.H. stand out from others working in the field is that the work is at once systemic – it seeks to change the way in which early childhood educators are perceived in society, as well as works with governments to demonstrate the importance of investing in this workforce; and at the same time changes lives of low income women and children. While changing perceptions and government investments at the macro level, T.E.A.C.H. is able to work on the ground with early childhood educators – increasing their skills, making them more effective educators of children, while assisting in increasing the incomes of low income women.”


T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® has emerged as an effective national strategy helping address the need for a well-qualified, fairly compensated and stable workforce. The program provides the opportunity for a diverse population of adult learners already working in the early childhood field to take coursework to increase their knowledge and skills and to give them access to a college diploma.

Data collection is critical to the success and expansion of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project. Through systematic data collection it is easy to see the important contribution T.E.A.C.H. is making to the early childhood field. Each year data from all T.E.A.C.H. state projects is collected, collated and analyzed, and a national report is produced that highlights the collective accomplishments of all T.E.A.C.H. states.

2013-14 T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Participant Outcomes
and Demographics


Funding and Support for T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®

  • $25.6 million funded T.E.A.C.H. Projects in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
  • 8,289 child care, prekindergarten and Head Start employers sponsored T.E.A.C.H. recipients; of these 24% were family child care homes.


  • 15,622 recipients were awarded scholarships.
  • 94,458 credit hours were completed.
  • 3.21 GPA was earned on average for recipients on Associate degree scholarships.
  • 3.46 GPA was earned on average for recipients on Bachelor’s degree scholarships.
  • 62% of recipients worked toward a two- or four-year degree.

Colleges and Universities

  • 318 two-year and 165 four-year higher education institutions provided college courses and benefitted from enrollment.



Diversity of T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipients

  • 44% of recipients were people of color.
  • 13% of recipients were Latina/Hispanic.
  • 51% of T.E.A.C.H. recipients come from families with no college graduates.
  • 54% of T.E.A.C.H. recipients began T.E.A.C.H. with only a high school diploma.

Diversity of Program Auspices and Children Served

  • 15% of recipients worked with children in publicly funded Prekindergarten programs.
  • 10% of recipients worked with the Head Start population.
  • 44% of recipients worked with children under two years of age.*
  • 60% of recipients worked with three and four-year olds.*

    *Some worked with both age groups



Average Annual Credit Hours Completed by Degree Scholarship Recipients

  • 13.31 — Average credit hours completed for recipients on Associate degree scholarships.
  • 14.9 — Average credit hours completed for recipients on Bachelor ‘s degree scholarships.

Average Increases in Recipient Wages for Degree Scholarship Recipients

  • 8.1% — Average annual wage increase for recipients on Associate degree scholarships.
  • 8.2% — Average annual wage increase for recipients on Bachelor’s degree scholarships.

Average Turnover Rates in States with Associate and/or Bachelor Degree Scholarships

  • 6.2% — Average turnover rate for recipients on Associate degree scholarships.
  • 4.1% — Average turnover rate for recipients on Bachelor’s degree scholarships.





Organizational capacity building
T.E.A.C.H. is helping build the capacity, both organizationally and financially, of organizations that serve the early childhood workforce.

  • From an initial $23,100 investment in North Carolina in 1990, T.E.A.C.H., as of 2009, has leveraged over $200,000 million. These funds help statewide organizations build their capacity to administer programs and build the advocacy base for the field.
  • From one state T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project in North Carolina in 1990, T.E.A.C.H. Projects, as of 2013, are up and running in 23 states and the District of Columbia.



Higher education program capacity building
Each year T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Projects all across the nation are helping build the capacity of higher education institutions to meet the need for flexible education options for the early childhood workforce. As scholarship dollars in the form of tuition payments are directed to these institutions, early childhood degree programs see a marked increase in their student populations, and they are able to hire additional faculty and grow their infrastructure with resources from long-term student investments.



Long-term systemic change
Scholarship support is facilitating long-term systemic change in states by helping to create access to higher education that was not available prior to T.E.A.C.H. Improvements have been made in higher education including more course offerings; more colleges with early childhood degree programs; more courses offered in times, places and modalities to more effectively reach the workforce; and better articulation agreements.

A 2009 survey of 18 T.E.A.C.H. projects demonstrates the impact of the model on higher education capacity.

  • 94% of respondents indicated a rise in the availability of two-year degree programs.
  • 93% indicated a rise in the availability of four-year degree programs.
  • 89% reported offering a bachelor’s degree scholarship option. No T.E.A.C.H. Project offered a bachelor’s degree scholarship when they first implemented T.E.A.C.H. in their state.
  • 66% reported that 75% or more of the four-year degree programs in their state now have an articulation agreement with a two-year program; an increase of 22.5% since inception.



Professional development systems gains
T.E.A.C.H. states are seeing gains in their state’s professional development systems, including improvements in regulatory standards for the education and continuing professional development of the workforce.

  • 61% of the 18 T.E.A.C.H. Projects surveyed in 2009 reported stronger workforce education standards linked to systems or standards such as tiered facility licensing systems and subsidy reimbursements.
  • 28% reported implementing additional compensation initiatives since the project’s inception.

Education Matters…for children and for the adults who care for them

For children
For children to flourish and grow in early childhood programs they must have consistent nurturing relationships with caring adults who are responsive to their unique needs. Learning does not happen for children in the absence of these relationships, and it is the adults in their classrooms who are the role models that help them make sense of the world around them. For children to thrive and benefit from rich language environments as well as challenging and varied learning experiences, they must have teachers who are active learners themselves.

For the women in the field
Education has an enormous affect on the lifelong earnings of women and the future of their own children. Most women in the early childhood workforce have children of their own, and maternal education and stable family income are closely linked to a child’s overall educational success. As a woman’s education level increases, there is a direct correlation to moving out of poverty. So, as higher education has become the foundational norm for most professional workforces, this must be encouraged for the early care and education workforce as well.

– T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project and Child Care
WAGE$® Annual Program Report