(BPT) - Early childhood teachers and those who dedicate their careers to the first years of childhood - the time in life with the most brain development - have been lauded as essential, even heroes, since the start of the pandemic. As frontline workers, they've stepped up to support the development of our youngest learners during a tumultuous time.
Recognizing this ongoing need to care for teachers and caregivers, Bright Horizons, one of the world's largest providers of high-quality child care, continues to support these educators with vital benefits and resources to help them grow professionally. Bright Horizons is offering all of its teachers the opportunity to earn early education degrees absolutely free. The Horizons Teacher Degree Program is a first-of-its-kind program that allows all full-time employees in Bright Horizons' early education and child care centers to earn an associate and bachelor's degree in early childhood education at no cost to them, covering all out-of-pocket expenses, including tuition, fees and books.
The Horizons Teacher Degree Program supports aspiring teachers from across the country, and, in some cases, the world.
Kelsey Campbell, now a full-time educator at Bright Horizons' Clever Kids Learning Center in Lakewood, Colorado, was one of the first infants to attend the center in 1998. As an adult, she rejoined the center in 2013 as a part-time educator and shortly thereafter began earning her associate degree in Early Childhood Education from University of Arizona Global Campus in February 2021. She is working toward her bachelor's degree - all for free through the Horizons Teacher Degree Program.
'Getting my degree represents a lot to me,' says Campbell. 'It represents my future, opening up more career opportunities that I wouldn't have if I didn't have a degree.'
Meanwhile, Sidra Azam moved from Pakistan to the United States at 19 years old. She began working in child care part-time and quickly fell in love with the field of early childhood education. She is the Lead Educator for the infant and toddler program at Bright Horizons at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, California.
Azam opted into the Horizons Teacher Degree Program, attending the University of Arizona Global Campus' Early Education Administration program, one of five higher education institutions that supports the Horizons Teacher Degree Program. Azam recently graduated from the program with her bachelor's degree in early education administration and is the first person in her family to earn a degree.
'Growing up, higher education wasn't given much importance in my family, especially for women,' says Azam. 'Throughout my life, my education took a back seat due to family responsibilities until I was introduced to the Horizons Teacher Degree Program.'
Learn more about the Horizons Teacher Degree Program at careers.brighthorizons.com.