The Family Learning Center halls echo with sounds of children – the laughter, the crying and everything else. The FLCT is Tyler Junior College’s lab school and is where Child and Family Development Program students do most of their observing and interacting with children.

The CDEC program, based on TJC’s West Campus, is devoted to children and training students in how to work with children in different environments, both inside and outside of a classroom.

“Our goal is to train and prepare students for child development and early childhood professions,” said Lynn Sitton, the department chair of Child Development.

Students in the course are learning how to become teachers that work with children from birth to 5 years old, or learning how to own and operate their own child care facility.

READ 0303 is the prerequisite to enrolling in any CDEC course and is of upmost importance to Mrs. Sitton

“People that work with children should be able to read and teach children how to read,” said Sitton.

Of course there are other requirements and classes involved and that is where Sitton and her instructors really come into play for the first time.

Students who choose to work with children inside the classroom have several certificates to choose from; Certificate of Proficiency, Infant and Toddler Caregiver Certificate, Preschool Teaching Certificate, and Administrator’s Credential. All certificates are Texas Higher Education Assessment waived, meaning students can earn college credit prior to passing the THEA.

As this year’s crop of freshmen already know, the THEA test exists to test certain reading, writing, and math skills of incoming freshmen that have been deemed required to succeed in college level courses.

Even though in the state of Texas anyone can train in one day to work in a child care facility, students are still signing up for classes to receive multiple certificates. According to Sitton, the profession is finally recognizing these certificates and therefore increasing pay to those with credentials.

Students planning to work with children outside the classroom, have the option to earn an Associate in Applied Science Degree from TJC. With two more years of classes, students can earn a Bachelors in Applied Science degree, or a BAAS, from Stephen F. Austin State University.

This is possible because SFA and TJC have an articulation agreement that allows students to take lower level course at TJC and upper level courses at SFA, according to one of Sitton’s childhood development handouts.

Students that choose this route will complete 56 hours at TJC, all of which are transferrable to SFA, where they will complete the remaining 64 hours of their degree. Once that degree is completed, students can go into several careers, including; Child Life Specialist, Court Appointed Special Advocate, Forensic Interviewer, and Adult Protective Services among many others according to SFA’s brochure.

Kay Baker is Sitton’s right hand “lady” and Director of the FLTC and handles the staff, equipment, and general upkeep of the place among other things. Her duties at the FLTC are important, but the real story is her mindset that many of her fellow co-workers share.

“Every day a child is happy is a success story. For us that success story occurs Monday through Friday,” said Baker

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