FAYETTEVILLE- It has often been said that early education is the real key to students’ success.
Cynthia Boomer of Clinton and Catherine Dines of Raeford certainly believe that to be true. Both work in childcare settings and both have a desire to advance their knowledge and skillset to maximize their effectiveness in the classroom.
To achieve their goals of obtaining their bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education, both Boomer and Dines have turned to the University of Mount Olive (UMO). They attend classes at the Partnership for Children’s Family Resource Center at 351 Wagoner Drive in Fayetteville.
Boomer, who has previously attended Sampson Community College and Wake Technical Community College, works in Raleigh as a teacher’s assistant at an educational center. She has had a passion for teaching from a young age.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “When I was old enough to babysit my siblings and cousins during the summer, I would play school with them.”
Dines, a lead teacher for preschool children, has also had a dream of teaching for many years. “I have been pursuing this goal of receiving my four-year degree since 1997,” she said.
Dines had previously attended Fayetteville Technical Community College and Sandhills Community College before enrolling at UMO.
“On two attempts I had to stop to help support my sons who were then enrolled in college,” she added. “Now it is my turn. I am excited, motivated, and determined to master my goal of completing the four-year degree program.”
The classes at UMO have allowed students like Boomer and Dines to gain skills that they can apply to their own classrooms. The ECE program is designed to provide graduates with the knowledge base needed to facilitate quality instruction in developmentally appropriate ways to the early childhood population. Classes meet every Monday evening from 6 to 10 PM at the Partnership for Children’s Family Resource Center at 351 Wagoner Drive in Fayetteville. Students entering the program with an associate’s degree can obtain their bachelor’s degree in about two years.
Students have the option of completing a non-licensure and a licensure program, depending upon their need. Currently the Partnership pays for one course and books for both the fall and spring semesters if a student meets Partnership requirements.
“Being enrolled at UMO has transformed my life in the classroom,” Dines said. “I have gained updated knowledge and information to help provide my students with quality skills.”
Boomer agreed, “Since I have enrolled at UMO, I have found that I really enjoy going to classes and being a student myself. The UMO staff is very friendly and helpful. I am a woman of faith, and to attend a faith-based Christian college is great.”
Education in the early stages of childhood paves the way for a child’s development in many aspects of their lives. It shapes their learning style, the way they interact with others, and the way they will grow to view the world around them. Dines described her part in early childhood education as “valuable,” while Boomer stated that “it means a great deal.”
Boomer, who wants to be the director of an educational program one day, is motivated by the positivity that she sees in the children. “I know that I am not only teaching them academically, but I am also showing them love and making a positive impact on their futures.”
“My motivation comes from my Savior, my spouse, my sons, and the need to help shape the lives of the children of the future,” said Dines, whose future goals include planning the curriculum for preschool-age children.
Although it has been hard at times to juggle work, family, and school, Dines and Boomer are thankful for the evening classes offered at UMO that allow them time to work toward their degrees.
“UMO has given me a hassle free environment to learn and train,” said Dines. “Because the classes are in the evening, I don’t have to leave work early.”
Boomer agreed, “Through this arrangement, I can get my degree and still work and manage all of my personal responsibilities.”
As for advice that they would offer other adults who want to return to school, Dines suggested that they “just go for it.” Boomer added, “We are never too old to learn. The more education we have, the more powerful we are.”
For more information about the ECE program with the University of Mount Olive and the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, Inc., contact Dr. Paul Rutter at Jrutter@umo.edu or call 919-658-7890.
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, and online. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.
UMO students taking courses towards their bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the Partnership for Children’s Family Resource Center at 351 Wagoner Drive in Fayetteville.
To achieve their goals of obtaining their bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education, both (L-R) Cynthia Boomer and Catherine Dines have turned to the University of Mount Olive (UMO). They attend classes at the Partnership for Children’s Family Resource Center at 351 Wagoner Drive in Fayetteville.