Last year the New Mexico state Legislature designated WNMU as the New Mexico Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education, providing both recognition and funding avenues for WNMU to continue the work of creating meaningful solutions to the challenges of early childhood development and educator training in New Mexico.
Best known for providing local residents with early childhood and family services for decades, the newly achieved legislative designation provides an opportunity for the center to expand its services and develop the standard for programs statewide.
“In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognized the potentially negative impact the move to remote learning and community lockdowns would have on the development of young children and stability of families,” said Cindy Martinez, Ed.D., director of NM Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education. “We worked to develop tools and information for early childhood educators and parents who were having to adapt to a fully online mode of education and care, nearly overnight,” continued Dr. Martinez.
First earning its national accreditation in 1992, the WNMU Child Development Center provides care and active research into best practices toward the development and implementation of critical services and culturally responsive teaching approaches.
Currently, the NM Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education at WNMU offers degrees ranging from Associate programs to master’s level study, providing a one-stop source for all levels of teacher education and training in New Mexico. Through the multitude of teaching specializations offered through the Center of Excellence, graduates are prepared day one for work both in and out of the classroom.
“Given the cultural, socioeconomic and regional diversity of our state, we believe educators need the tools to not only recognize there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, but WNMU is working to provide the tools and support to assure every child and family in New Mexico has the opportunity to succeed,” Martinez continued.
The future of the program will include the creation of a doctoral track that will provide a special focus on trauma-informed practices as well as the construction of a new facility near the WNMU main Silver City campus.
More about the NM Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Education at WNMU can be found here.