About T.E.A.C.H.


What is T.E.A.C.H.?

Brain research shows that 90% of a child’s brain develops before the age of five. Yet, early childhood educators typically have little formal education beyond high school and earn very low wages. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Pennsylvania Scholarship Program offers early learning professionals a debt-free college education, supporting them while they work to become stronger teachers and earn thriving wages. In addition to significant financial support, T.E.A.C.H. provides each participant a counselor to help them navigate challenges in their personal life, career or at school and achieve their goals.
T.E.A.C.H. is a shared investment between the scholarship recipient, the employer and T.E.A.C.H. funders. Employers pay a portion of tuition, provide paid release time for classes and coursework and issue a stipend or raise at the end of each program year. In return, T.E.A.C.H. scholars commit to working for their employer at least one year after graduation, creating a more stable workforce

Who are T.E.A.C.H. Scholars?

Nearly all T.E.A.C.H. scholars are women and almost half are women of color. Many are raising children on their own. Half are first-generation college students who, in turn, inspire their own children to go to college. By building a more educated early childhood workforce, T.E.A.C.H. raises the quality of care and education that scholars provide to children in their care—setting the next generation on a path for future learning and success.

What is the impact of T.E.A.C.H.?

Children benefit most from T.E.A.C.H. High-quality early childhood education is directly linked to children’s long-term success in school and in life. Having an educated teacher has been shown to directly impact the quality of education that very young children receive, leading to enhanced school readiness and academic performance from elementary school through college. More than 45,000 children in Pennsylvania are enrolled in sponsoring child care programs and benefit from T.E.A.C.H. each year. Over 80% of sponsoring programs enroll children on subsidies—extending the impact of highly educated, fairly compensated teachers to some of the most at-risk children in Pennsylvania.

Child care professionals benefit by increasing their knowledge and compensation. In turn, they experience professional growth and job satisfaction. Each year, T.E.A.C.H. supports nearly 1,000 early learning professionals to earn higher degrees while continuing to work in the field and increase their wages. Last year, T.E.A.C.H. scholar wages increased by 12%.

Child care programs benefit from having staff members who are more knowledgeable about best practices in early childhood education and who have made a commitment to the field. This translates to higher quality programs for young children. Participating center directors report reduced staff turnover, which helps improve program quality and marketability. Last year 93% of T.E.A.C.H. participants remained with their employers, far above the national retention rate of 60-70%.

The 5 C's of T.E.A.C.H.

  1. Comprehensive Scholarship – Provides significant financial support for tuition, fees, books, travel and paid release time.
  2. College Education – Requires that participants complete a specified number of credit hours each scholarship year.
  3. Compensation – Provides a raise or bonus upon successful completion of required credits hours each year.
  4. Commitment – Requires scholarship participants to remain employed with their sponsoring child care program for a specified period of time upon receipt of their compensation.   
  5. Counselor – Provides a liaison within each T.E.A.C.H. Administrative home to support scholarship participants and help ensure their success.

History of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Program

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Program began in North Carolina in July 1990 to address the crisis of early learning teachers leaving the field in droves for better paying jobs. Over the next decade, T.E.A.C.H. expanded to dozens of states across the country. To learn more about the history of T.E.A.C.H., the T.E.a.c.H. National Center's website here

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Pennsylvania awarded its first scholarships in September 1998, using private and business collaboration dollars to pilot the program in four regions of the state. In early 1999, through support from the Department of Public Welfare (now Department of Human Services), T.E.A.C.H. expanded to offer scholarships statewide. Currently, T.E.A.C.H. receives funding from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and Pennsylvania’s Department of Education (PDE).  T.E.A.C.H. has since awarded more than 7,800 scholarships to early childhood professionals across the Commonwealth.