June 3, 2024

San Diego Mesa College’s Child Development and Education Program Empowers Future Educators

By Saisha Banks

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The Child Development and Education Program at San Diego Mesa College offers a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience to help shape the next generation of educators and childcare professionals.  


Whether aiming to work in childcare, teach, provide parent-child education, or become an administrator, Mesa College’s Child Development and Education Program helps educate students about children’s diverse physical, intellectual, social, and emotional needs, which is vital knowledge for working in a variety of child development roles. 


To further inspire future educators, the Child Development and Education Program has partnered with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). This collaboration encourages high school students to enroll in college level Child Development and Education classes at their local high schools, aiming to recruit those students transitioning from SDUSD to Mesa College and support them as they prepare to transfer after two years in the program.


Mesa College Teacher Education Program Coordinator Laurie Iunker emphasized the program's mission, stating, “The Teacher Education Program is designed to build a strong, supportive foundation for our future teachers. Our goal is to instill the mindset that education is not just simply imparting knowledge but empowering and inspiring the next generation to change the future for the better.”


Through hands-on internships at the on-campus Child Development Center, students can earn credits towards their child development permits while gaining invaluable real-world experience. Additionally, students with child development units have the opportunity to apply for employment at the center, further enhancing their skills and knowledge. 


To ensure equal access to education, Mesa College has partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education Workforce Investment Tuition Assistance Program. This program covers tuition, books, and technology, while also providing advice on child development and education pathways to help make education accessible to all students aspiring to work with children. 


The program also hosts monthly informational meetings where students can engage with counselors, instructors, mentors, admissions staff, and financial aid staff to gain insights into their educational journey. These sessions provide clarity on the early education and education credential and permit process, empowering students to navigate their academic and career paths. 


Recently, Mesa College hosted the San Diego County Office of Education Future Educators Summit, targeting high school and community college students who are aiming to enter the academic field. Faculty from the Child Development and Education Programs connected with students, sharing insights into enrollment processes and career pathways. The event invigorated students and parents, inspiring them to explore the various opportunities available in the field of education. 


Whether students have their own children that they wish to better understand or desire to meet the California licensing requirements to work in centers, schools, and homes as a teacher, administrator, or supervisor of children, Mesa College’s Child Development program will guide students toward personal and professional goals, defining the quality of tomorrow’s future while nurturing nurture society’s next politicians, teachers, and artists. 




About San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive community college committed to access, success, and equity. We honor those commitments as a diverse community of students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators who collaborate to foster scholarship, leadership, innovation, and excellence in an inclusive learning environment. By promoting student learning and achievement that leads to degrees and certificates, transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning, we empower our students to reach their educational goals and shape their future.  Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa College serves 30,000 students per year, 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and is one of 15 California community colleges offering a four-year baccalaureate degree. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution and a Military Friendly School, serving more than 3,500 veterans and their families.


For more information about San Diego Mesa College’s Child Development and Education Program, visit


Contact: Child Development Faculty and Department Chair, Ida Cross at

                Teacher Education Program Coordinator, Laurie Iunker at


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Tags: SDUSD, Teacher Education Pathways Program, Child Development

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