Why Our Early Childhood Program Is Great For You!

DCTC logo 2-C horizChoosing a college is an exciting first step on your path toward a rewarding career.  Naturally, we believe there is no better choice than the ECYD program at Dakota County Technical College.  Some of the things that set our program apart from others are:

  • Small class sizes;10049-04223lw
  • Convenient scheduling including full-time, part-time and online options;
  • A two-day per week structured pathway to ensure completion of our highest award in 2 years;
  • Transfer options to many four-year institutions;
  • Affordable tuition and fees; and
  • A hands-on approach to education that involves students in active learning of best practices.

girl_drawWe work closely with early childhood programs to understand what employers are looking for and to ensure that our students are well prepared for work in schools, child care centers, hospitals, Head Start, and a wide variety of other programs related to children and families.  We are confident that you will find our classes to be active learning experiences that challenge you and hone your skills for a rewarding career working with children.

Use the contact information below to visit our Facebook page or to begin a conversation with either of the program instructors.

ECYD Instructors

Dawn Prof Pic 2015

Sharon Prof Pic 2015

Dawn Braa                                                               Sharon Bergen
651.423.8315                                                           651.423.8398
dawn.braa@dctc.edu                                                sharon.bergen@dctc.edu



NOW ENROLLING FOR FALL! Although our early childhood courses are filling, there’s still room for YOU! Options include enrolling in the Early Childhood & Youth Development or Child Life Assistant degree programs, taking a few courses, or enrolling in just one course. CLICK HERE for fall course information. (Note that some courses have pre-requisites)

We look forward to meeting you, in person or online. *If you’ve already begun your educational journey, some of your previous courses may transfer in.

Admissions information: http://www.dctc.edu/admissions/
Transfer  information: http://www.dctc.edu/admissions/transfer-to-dctc/

SkillsUSA Nationals 2015 Update

I just realized that I didn’t post an update about SkillsUSA Nationals! I posted (many) updates and pics via the SkillsUSA Facebook page, but none here. I apologize!

Joy went down to represent herself, DCTC, and our Early Childhood program. She really didn’t know what to expect as this was her first Skills Nationals experience. She put on a brave face, was a fierce competitor, and managed to do it all with a smile. I was super impressed! Although she had hoped to get a medal on stage (who doesn’t?), she placed 5th which is still a huge accomplishment. I’ve included a few pictures from our trip below. Way to go Joy…we’re super proud of you!!


MomEnough_logo_notagFUN, EASY TIPS FOR PARENTS

Gustafson,Ron_other“For 30 years early childhood educator Ron Gustafson has been engaging children in music, both in the classroom and from a stage as part of the popular Teddy Bear Band. Today he brings his knowledge and experience to Mom Enough in a unique discussion and demonstration of fun, simple ways you can use music to build your child’s language skills and emerging literacy. Guitar in hand, Ron plays snippets of familiar songs, then wraps up the show with a Teddy Bear Band recording of one of his original songs. Turn up the volume and invite your child to “Jump Around!” (By the way, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed June 28, 2015 Teddy Bear Band Day!)” -ME

To listen to this great message, TUNE IN HERE 


Mondays with MomEnough: MEALTIMES (7/6/15)



Fishel,Anne_book“If you’re like many parents, getting your family members to the table for regular mealtimes isn’t always easy. But this Mom Enough guest has spent much of her career studying why family dinner is so important, why it happens so seldom, and how parents can overcome barriers and make the most out of a family dinner. Dr. Anne Fishel is director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, associate clinical professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School and author of Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids. Her innovative ideas and inspiring family dinner tips had Marti & Erin so excited they say they will listen to this interview once a month to remind themselves of the many fun and powerful ways to transform mealtime rituals in their households!” -ME
Click to TUNE IN HERE!

MomEnough 2

Happy 4th of July!

4th July Kids Pic

Source: blog.beliefnet.com





Sanford,Matthew_hsMatthew Sanford was a strong, healthy young man when a devastating accident turned his world upside down. Paraplegic and suffering unimaginable loss, Matthew couldn’t have known what a rich and productive life lay before him. But 33 years later, Matthew is father of a 15-year-old son, a sought-after public speaker and teacher of yoga to people of all abilities. He is founder of the nonprofit Mind Body Solutions and acclaimed author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence. In this Mom Enough show, listen to Matthew’s inspiring story and learn how you and your family can benefit from Matthew’s simple tips for mindful parenting and a mindful life.” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE


SkillsUSA Nationals Conference/Competition 2015

On Monday morning, many from MN will be on our way down to Louisville, Kentucky for the National SkillsUSA Conference and Competition. Students from various MN high schools and colleges will be competing this week against others across the nation.

SkillsUSA-logoLet me back up – Dakota County Technical College did well at the SkillsUSA State Competition (MN). I’m so very proud of all of the students at DCTC involved in Skills. I’m especially proud of the students in our Early Childhood program that chose to compete this year. The students that place first at the state competition are invited to compete at the national competition. For many, many years, the national competition was help in Kansas City, MO. This year the competition will take place in  Louisville, KY. Check out this VIDEO about the SkillsUSA National Conference!

That brings us to the present… there are 6 of us from DCTC (students and advisors) on our way to Nationals! We are looking forward to the adventure ahead (but not the 14 hr. bus ride!) The students have been diligently preparing for this week. They’re ready to continue to work hard and to show their perseverance, talent, skills, creativity, and professionalism. After their competitions are completed, there may even be some time for FUN20150412_120205 - Copy

Even though you’re not in attendance with us, you can follow our progress. (Please do!) Follow along on our Facebook page. You can also watch the awards ceremony LIVE on Friday, June 26th beginning at 6 p.m. (CDT) at THIS WEBSITE. Our program competition is called Early Childhood Education. Good luck Joy!!


UPDATE: Joy placed 5th in the nation in her competition. Way to go Joy! We’re very proud of your accomplishment!

NAEYC Professional Development Institute: Day 2 and 3 Recap

naeycpdiDay 2 for me at the conference was fantastic. Again the networking was invaluable! It was ACCESS day for technical and community college programs and instead of trying to run all over to various sessions, we were in the same room from 8-5:30pm. Breakfast was provided by Cengage. (Thank you!)

We began the day by discussing Read more »

NAEYC Professional Development Institute: Day 1 Recap

naeycpdiWe’re in New Orleans, LA for the NAEYC PDI. “NAEYC’s National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development is designed for all early childhood professionals, including leaders who prepare, mentor, and support early childhood professionals, as well as program administrators, teacher educators, trainers, teachers, preschool teachers, and researchers. The theme for the 2015 Institute is The Early Childhood Profession We All Want: What Will It Take to Get Us There?” -NAEYC Read more »

Career Crossings: 6/5/15

career crossing

This edition of Career Crossings includes MN opportunities from Bright Horizons (Varied), Nanny (Rosemount), Kinderhaus Montessori School (St. Paul), Behavioral Dimensions (St. Louis Park), Kindercare (Rosemount), ABC & Toy Zone (Rochester), and the Ventures Program (Northfield). Read more »

Child Life Specialist Position (MO)

University of Missouri Women's and Children's Hospital exterior photosThere is a 30 hr/week Child Life Specialist position open at MU Women and Children’s Hospital. This position is every other weekend Inpt/ED + float position during the week. See the link below for more information.


2nd Annual Career Fair- Results

On May 5th, DCTC’s Early Childhood and Youth Development program held its 2nd Annual Early Childhood and Child Life Career Fair. Over thirty industry partners filled DCTC’s Dakota Room and a solid turn out of students made for great networking and a buzz of excitement throughout the evening. 

Students had a wonderful opportunity to network with industry professionals, learn about career options and, in many cases, secure a placement for practicum, field experience, or even Read more »

Child Life Specialist Position (MN)

med_93939Hennepin County Medical Center, a Level I Trauma Center in Downtown Minneapolis, MN has a casual (on-call) position working primarily days 6:30am-1:30pm, no weekends. This position will cover a maternity leave in the months of July, August, and September, working about 56 hours per pay period and will maintain a casual status after the maternity leave ends.
For more information and to apply for this position, please CLICK HERE

Important News About Your eFolioMN Portfolio

DCTC ECYD students- you may have received an email like the one below…  please note that you are not required to pay this subscription fee as part of your class work. You should download and save any documents that you have on EFolio MN in your account if you are not planning to subscribe. Read more »

Fall Early Childhood Courses @ DCTC (2015)

_116aCourses we’re offering this coming fall semester (Aug-Dec)…perhaps you are interested.
Options range from enrolling in our entire early childhood program down to just one class. 

*Introduction to Early Childhood Careers (On Campus & Online)
Only 4 spaces remaining (On Campus)
Only 9 spaces remaining (Online)
*Child Growth and Development (On Campus & Online)
Only 4 spaces remaining (On Campus)
Only 7 spaces remaining (Online)
*Health, Safety, and Nutrition (On Campus & Online)
Only 4 spaces remaining (On Campus)
Only 5 spaces remaining (Online)
*Observation and Assessment (On Campus)
*Curriculum Planning (On Campus)
Only 1 space remaining 
*Children with Differing Abilities (On Campus & Hybrid)
Only 4 spaces remaining (On Campus)
Only 2 spaces remaining (Online)
*Creative Development Experiences (On Campus)
Only 7 spaces remaining 

Apply/register today to reserve your space in class!

Dawn Braa, dawn.braa@dctc.edu, 651.423.8315
Sharon Bergen, sharon.bergen@dctc.edu, 651.423.8398

Child Life Course @ DCTC Fall 2015

medical-play-materials-e1412695748870Are you in need of one child life class, taught by a CCLS, that meets the 6 requirements put forth by the CLC? We offer such a class at Dakota County Technical College! I have included the steps for what you will need to do to register for our fall semester online child life course- ECYD 2900 Introduction to the Child Life Profession: History and Practice (3cr). This course meets the 6 required components required by the Child Life Council and is taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist. Read more »

National Association for Family Child Care Conference


Mondays with ME: Silent Running- Autism (5/11/15)



Schneider,Robyn_book“This Mom Enough guest is Robyn Schneider, whose twin sons were diagnosed at 21 months with autism spectrum disorder. As if the boys’ severe behavior problems and lack of communication skills weren’t challenge enough, Robyn’s husband had MS and, subsequently, Robyn was diagnosed with breast cancer. But through it all, running together became an oasis of peace and accomplishment for the family, as told in Silent Running, a new book Robyn wrote with Minnesota author Kate Hopper. Whatever challenge you face, this story of resilience will make you think in new ways about how to cope and thrive.” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE 


Book Giveaway! What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

rae picaThis month’s guest speaker, Rae Pica, is sponsoring this month’s giveaway. If you missed her blog feature yesterday, click HERE to access it.

Rae Pica knows what she’s talking about. With over 35 years in the field of education, she’s realized that what’s missing from our approach to schooling is an understanding of the connection between how children develop and how they learn.

what ifIn this collection, Pica keeps children front and center as she provides thought-provoking commentary and actionable insights on topics such as the Common Core, the self-esteem movement, and standardized testing. You’ll find

  • 29 short essays on topics critical to best practice in child development and education
  • Opinions of experts supported by research and anecdotal evidence
  • Real-life stories shared by teachers and parents
  • References to related articles and interviews with experts

Enter below for a chance to win. Each task you do is another entry for yourself in the drawing! Complete the task and then click that you did it. Tweeting on Twitter and sharing on Facebook can be done DAILY. Other entries are once per giveaway.

*NOTE* This giveaway runs from 5/5/15 until 5/13/15 (Ending @ 12:00am EST).


By entering the giveaway, you give permission to share your email address (winner only) with the vendor for contact purposes (shipment of product).

Guest Speaker: What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

what ifWhat IF Everybody Understood Child Development? It seems a simple and slightly obvious question to ask, but the answer is more complicated than you might think. Rae Pica, education consultant and author, is at it again, doing what she does best, using her passion and research to push the envelope by asking tough questions and speaking her mind.

What If Everybody Understood Child Development? has been referred to as a pocket-sized powerhouse of educational philosophy, sure to inspire conversations.

“What a pleasure to read common sense wisdom about what young children need!”
Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education
New York University

“This amazing book does far more than chase down the myths about how to ensure that children are successful. If offers real, research-backed practical strategies every teacher and parent can use. It belongs on every desk for quick and handy use!”
Eric Jensen, Director
Jensen Learning, Maunaloa, HI
rae pica
“Rae Pica has a deep understanding of childhood development and she has delved into every facet of it so that educators, parents, and policymakers will come to that understanding, too. This book needs to not just be on everyone’s shelves, but open in everyone’s hands.”
Peter DeWitt, Author/Consultant and Former K-5 Principal

Rae Pica knows what she’s talking about. With over 35 years in the field of education, she’s realized that what’s missing from our approach to schooling is an understanding of the connection between how children develop and how they learn. In this collection, Pica keeps children front and center as she provides thought-provoking commentary and actionable insights on topics such as the Common Core, the self-esteem movement, and standardized testing. You’ll find

  • 29 short essays on topics critical to best practice in child development and education
  • Opinions of experts supported by research and anecdotal evidence
  • Real-life stories shared by teachers and parents
  • References to related articles and interviews with experts

Rae and DawnI have been looking forward to this book for nearly a year. I appreciate Rae’s tenacity for the early childhood field and speaking up about best practice for children. Unlike in generations past, we have multitudes of research to guide our decisions. Let’s not flounder in past practices simply because “it’s what we’ve always done.” We know better! Let’s stand united together for the betterment of education for young children. Let’s use research, passion, and our voices to send a unified message. We need to push for policies and implement practices that really reflect how children learn and grow. After all, WE are the experts in the field!

TUNE IN to my interview with Rae where you’ll gain inside access about the book, including a brief book teaser.

Did I mention there’s a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY?! Come back tomorrow (to this blog) for your chance to win this book!

Planning to attend NAEYC’s upcoming PDI conference? Rae will be presenting on Sunday, June 7th at 10:30am! Her session is titled Why Does Sitting Equal Learning?

More about Rae Pica…
Rae has been an education consultant, specializing in the development and education of the whole child and children’s physical activity, since 1980. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the founder and director of Moving & Learning (now Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting) and the author of 19 books, including the text Experiences in Movement and Music (in its 5th edition), the award-winning Great Games for Young Children and Jump into Literacy, and A Running Start: How Play, Physical Activity, and Free Time Create a Successful Child, written for the parents of children birth to age five. Her latest book is What If Everybody Understood Child Development? (Corwin Press, June 2015).

Additionally, Rae has contributed to numerous other publications, including George Morrison’s Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education, and Beginnings and Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood Education by Ann Gordon and Kate Brown. She has been a columnist for Young ChildrenEducation.com, and Teaching Elementary Physical Education, and currently blogs for Huffington Post Education.

From 1985 to 1989 Rae was co-creator and host of “Move for a Minute,” produced by New Hampshire Public Television and broadcast nationwide, most often between Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Known for her lively and informative workshop and keynote presentations, Rae has shared her expertise with such groups as 

  • Sesame Street Research Department, 
  • Head Start Bureau, 
  • Centers for Disease Control, 
  • President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 
  • Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues
  • Gymboree, 
  • Hasbro,
  • Mattel,
  • Nike, and 
  • state health departments throughout the country. 

Rae served on the task force of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (now SHAPE America) that created national guidelines for early childhood physical activity, is a member of several advisory boards, and serves on the executive committee of the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International.

In addition, Rae is co-founder of the BAM Radio Network, the world’s largest online education radio network, where she currently hosts Studentcentricity, interviewing experts in education, child development, play research, the neurosciences and more.