Karen and Tom Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education
Take the lead in early childhood education. Become a Rutledge Institute Scholar.
Applications for Fall 2024 are currently open.
The PennWest California Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education seeks to expand the preparation of high-quality early childhood professionals at all levels of education, increase the education of the current early childhood workforce, and train early childhood professionals for a variety of roles in early care and education. Additionally, the purpose is to break down cost barriers that often make higher education out of reach for those who work and care for young children as well as for those who are starting their college career and desire to teach the youngest of children. The Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education Scholarship at the university level will:
- educate and provide an experience-based pathway for both individuals employed in the early childhood profession teaching birth to age six, as well as those aiming to enter the early childhood field, to obtain degrees and advance the profession,
- attract, select, and retain more qualified staff for childcare centers,
- advocate for and meet the needs of young children, birth through age six, and the field of early childhood education.
Rutledge Scholars can earn early childhood credentials working toward one of the following programs:
- an associate degree in early childhood education,
- a bachelor’s degree in Grades PreK-4 with teaching certification, or
- a master’s degree in early childhood education.
Each program is unique to the degree level. The following information outlines the key components of each scholarship according to degree level:
Bachelor’s Degree Scholarship
This scholarship is an education honors program that focuses on enhancing scholars' knowledge and skills through a combination of authentic teaching experience, community building and leadership, and research. Bachelor’s degree scholars receive an annual scholarship for four years that covers the cost of tuition, academic fees, and on-campus housing, so long as scholars continue to meet program requirements.
As Bachelor’s Degree Scholar, you will:
- Gain teaching experience each semester. With faculty guidance you will work alongside teachers from The Village at the on-campus Rutledge Institute PreK Center. You’ll also develop teaching skills through fieldwork embedded in the PreK-4 program as well as an internship devoted to teaching children ages infant to age 6.
- Build a community. From Day One, you’ll be a part of a living learning community composed of your fellow Rutledge Institute Scholars to collaborate, co-teach, and study together.
- Stay on the leading edge. You’ll supplement your classroom studies and field work by participating in the University Honors Program, where you’ll learn best practices for research, explore innovations in teaching and learning, and conduct educational research to contribute to the field of education.
Associate Degree Scholarship
This scholarship is tailored for individuals eager to either kickstart their journey in early childhood education or gain credentials while employed in a certified childcare program. Associate degree scholars receive an annual scholarship for two years that covers the cost of tuition and academic fees, so long as scholars continue to meet program requirements.
As an Associate’s Degree Scholar, you will:
- Gain teaching experience each semester. You will be equipped with essential knowledge and skills through coursework and required
work hours at the Rutledge Institute PreK and The Village. This program is perfect
for applicants working at least 30 hours a week in early childhood education. Additionally,
with faculty guidance you will develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions through
fieldwork embedded in the associate’s program, with a focus on teaching children ages
infant to age 6.
- Have the opportunity to advance your credentials. This scholarship serves as a stepping-stone for applicants interested in early childhood education who may aspire to pursue a bachelor's degree with teaching certification. It provides a supportive pathway for those who prefer taking gradual steps towards their academic and professional goals. Associate Scholars may transfer associate degree in early childhood education credits to PennWest’s PreK-4 bachelor’s teacher certification program if desired and approved after successful completion of the two-year associate degree program.
Master’s Degree Scholarship
This scholarship is for current early childhood educators seeking an advanced level of education and training in early childhood education while employed in a certified childcare program. Master’s degree scholars receive an annual scholarship for up to two and a half years that covers the cost of tuition and academic fees, so long as scholars continue to meet program requirements.
As a Master’s Degree Scholar, you will:
- Gain a variety of learning experiences. You will gain various learning experiences, including field-based experiential learning, coursework, and digital multimedia experiences, all in a 100% online program to enable you to work full time. Note, this program does not lead to initial teacher certification.
- Have the opportunity to advance your credentials. You can choose to add the PA Director Credential that prepares you with the knowledge and skills needed to lead an early childhood center.
- Stay on the leading edge. Through specific coursework, you’ll learn best practices for research, explore innovations in teaching and learning, and conduct educational research to contribute to the field of education.
Note: All scholars pay for their own meal plan, parking fees, and books as applicable.
The Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education Center
The Rutledge Institute Early Education Center serves local families by providing free, state-of-the-art early childhood care and education. The Institute is operated by The Village and its teachers, assisted by Rutledge Institute Scholars who are studying Early Childhood Education at PennWest California.
Rutledge Institute Scholar Requirements and Application
What is required to become a Rutledge Institute Scholar?
Applicants for any of the scholarship types must meet PennWest California’s admissions standards, as well as the academic requirements, and nonacademic professional disposition requirements.
Candidates will be selected based on a variety of criteria specific to the scholarship type. Initial pre-screening criteria for all scholarships include:
- Acceptance to PennWest through general admission.
- Completed Rutledge Institute application form.
- Letters of recommendation from three non-relatives (e.g., employer, teacher, guidance counselor, etc.) who have professional interactions with the applicant.
Each scholarship type (associate, bachelor’s, master’s) has additional criteria that applicants must meet. See the Scholarship Eligibility Requirements and Conditions Chart for details.
How to Apply
Applicants must first meet the initial university admissions criteria:
- Apply to PennWest California through Admissions and be accepted to the University.
- Be an incoming student.
- Major in one of the following degree programs:
- Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education,
- Bachelor’s Degree in Grades PreK-4 with teaching certification, or
- Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.
To be considered for candidacy in the Rutledge Institute, applicants must also meet the Decision Point #1: Initial Pre-screening Criteria according to the scholarship type.
See the Application Steps and Checklist for a detailed explanation of how to apply.
If you meet the criteria described above, CONGRATULATIONS!
Here are your next steps once you have applied and have been accepted to PennWest California:
- Please complete the Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education Application.
- Email the application along with the following required documents to the scholarship program director at RutledgeProgram-Cal@pennwest.eduby November 15th. Candidates who meet this deadline will receive first consideration for the upcoming fall semester.
- Send this Microsoft Form link to those who have agreed to recommend you: https://forms.office.com/r/KVDraZg2qb
- Once your references click this link, they will complete the form and submit the finished product directly to us. The form includes a survey of candidate attributes as well as a field for writing the recommendation letter.
- Please scan and upload all application documents into one single PDF fileand email them to RutledgeProgram-Cal@pennwest.edu. If you need assistance with scanning and uploading, please see the instructions below.
Scanning methods (e.g., computer scanner, Adobe Scan App, Cam Scanner App)
- Organizer your paperwork in order.
- Scan into one single PDF file.
- Email it as an attachment to your own email, review it to ensure it turned out well, then attach it to your application email
- Rename the PDF file as follows: Your Last Name and First Name, Fall [Year] RI Application
After review of your application, you will be informed of your candidacy and the next steps in the process, which will include a writing sample and an interview.