20141009_180828First 5 is working to strengthen Contra Costa’s child care workforce by helping providers earn degrees in early childhood education. Last year, we supported 900 child care providers attending the county’s three community colleges by offering textbook loans, tutoring services, assistance for English Language Learners, and access to early childhood academic advisors. Read how this support helped one dedicated West County provider.

Iroda Mamasalieva came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2008. She immediately began taking adult school classes to learn English and to support her family. One year later she entered Contra Costa College and began pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. 

“I would like to express my deep appreciation to the First 5 Program for its help and support on my career growth and development.

As a new immigrant to the United States, with three children and an extremely low income I started taking college classes in 2009. At that time, I only took ESL (English as the Second Language) classes and I did not know which major to choose. Since I became a member of the First 5 program, I received a lot of help with my Educational Plan, free tutoring service, books/ supplies and much more. The Advisor of the First 5 program helped me to plan accordingly for all the classes that I had to take in order to graduate and succeed. Also, all of my course books were borrowed from the First 5 program so I did not have to spend a penny to buy or pay for the books and school supplies like other college students do.

Personally, I always had a fear of math classes. However, the one on one tutoring program helped me to successfully pass the Statistics class. Great English tutors also helped me with my English grammar and writing skills and I passed an English- 1C (Critical Thinking) course with a good grade. I was able to achieve my goals and graduate from the Contra Costa College as an Early Childhood Major.

In addition, I learned a lot and sharpened my skills by participating in MTP (My Teaching Partner), CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) programs and Reflective Practice Seminars. I learned how to manage the classroom and create a warm and nurturing environment for the children and their families. Especially, I loved participating in Reflective Practice Seminar every year because of its rich and well planned activities for the participants. Now I feel confident and well prepared for my new position in the early childhood field (which I just got).”

Iroda is in the process of transferring to a four-year college to earn her B.A. She is also working as a Head Teacher at the Early Learning Center at Contra Costa College.

Learn more about professional development opportunities and support for child care providers in Contra Costa County.