Ashley Hayes works for a home-visiting program called Early Childhood Initiative, providing support for young children with mental health disorders. She’d been in the job for two years when she realized she didn’t know quite enough about this age group.
“I just wanted to better myself for the families I work with, so I could answer their questions without saying, ‘I’ll get back to you about that. I have to go look that up!’ I wanted to have all the knowledge I can to support the families the best I can.”
To develop the skills she needed, Hayes enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health. The one-year program trains students to evaluate and treat mental health disorders in infants and young children. Many of these students already work in the field and require a flexible program that allows them to stay in their jobs while continuing their education.
Hayes is one of them, and she appreciates that fact that classes are offered on evenings and weekends.
“The flexibility is important to me because I need to be able to focus on school and work equally,” she says. “I knew this program would be good for me because I would have the time to put all my effort into both work and class.”
Hayes also likes the chance to study with nationally recognized experts in a small-group setting.
“My instructors are effective teachers because they’re in the field,” she says. “They have personal stories that I love. I think it’s so valuable to have all these experiences around me that I can soak up.”
To hear Ashley’s story, watch the video above. For more information about the Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health, see here.