“Once a week on Wednesday afternoons, Berkeley City College professor Joya Chavarin travels to Oakland High School to teach a class of 11th and 12th grade students all about child growth and development—a college-level course. 

“It’s a subject that fascinates many of the students, who pepper Chavarin with questions about why their toddler cousin likes to bite or how babies learn multiple languages. The students are part of a new pre-apprenticeship program in Oakland Unified School District, training for careers in early childhood education—which generally refers to schooling within the first 8 years of life—a field that has struggled in recent years to attract teachers.

“On a recent Wednesday, Chavarin emphasized to her students—who, in the summer, will complete an internship in the field—how critical it is to have a positive attitude when working with toddlers and young children who are at a crucial age for development.”

“ ‘You, as a teacher, need to understand that you have an ethical responsibility to think about your interactions with [the children], because they need warm, secure, healthy interactions,’ said Chavarin, a Skyline High School graduate and the program coordinator for teacher preparation programs at Berkeley City College. ‘They’re learning about the world through us.’ ”

“Currently in its pilot year, the program enrolls 29 students from high schools across Oakland…”

“Early childhood teachers are hard to find. Oakland schools have a plan to ‘grow their own,’ ” by Ashley McBride, The Oaklandside, September 26, 2023