Early childhood leaders in Hamilton County aim to strengthen the early childhood system by supporting child care teachers. The Early Matters 2023-2024 Quality Matters Fund is offering tuition assistance, dedicated substitutes, and unique skills training for child care teachers. Learn more about each program below.


Musical instruments on the ground

Applications are now open for a second cohort of classroom residencies funded by QMF! 

This application is for child care teachers interested in hosting and working alongside one of ten UTC-Wolf Trap teaching artists in their classrooms. Teaching artists will work with teachers and students on integrating a new artform into their daily lesson plans.

Participating teachers can earn up to 20 professional development hours. Upon submission of a final project,  the lead classroom teacher receive a $250 participation stipend. Teachers will also receive $100 worth of supplies to build future lessons. 

To view a video to understand what teaching artists do in the classroom: Click HERE

Don’t miss this opportunity! 

“We used open ended questions to get the children thinking, which had them excited to answer questions I usually wouldn't get a response to.”
- 2023 UTC Wolf Trap Child Care Teacher

STEAM FELLOWS at Creative discovery museum


When young children start asking big questions earlier, they’ll have an easier time comprehending STEM concepts later in life. Interested in learning how to easily integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math into your child care and early learning classroom lessons? Then the STEAM Fellows cohort at Creative Discovery Museum might be for you. 

To view a video from a recent STEAM Fellows cohort, click HERE.


Details of the STEAM program for child care teachers: 
  • Attend monthly, full-day, in-person training sessions at the Creative Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga with your 9 other cohort members.
  • The program runs September 2024 – April 2025
  • If selected to be a part of the STEAM Fellows cohort, the training is free and lunch is provided.
  • Each month, participate in hands-on learning at the museum and then implement the concepts you’ve learned in your classroom and watch children bloom.
  • Teacher participants will earn at least 25 CEUs and the training is already approved by TrainTN / TNPAL.
  • Each month, participate in hands-on learning at the museum and then implement the concepts you’ve learned in your classroom and watch children bloom. You’ll receive materials and equipment to take back to your classroom to continue the discovery! 
  • The culmination of the cohort will be a final project using the information learned and materials provided by the program, to implement and study a STEAM concept in your classroom.
  • Priority will be given to child care provider/agency applicants serving economically disadvantaged children, children with disabilities, and children for him English is not the primary language spoken at home. 
  • Funding for this one-year program is made possible by a federal grant from the City of Chattanooga and Creative Discovery Museum. 
  • Questions can be emailed to olivia@chatt2.org 

College tuition last-dollar scholarships

Child reaching into piggy bank

Early Matters wants to help you take some college classes! Child care teachers with college credits in early childhood can get on the WAGE$ pay scale and earn MORE MONEY.  

Through the Quality Matters Fund, we are distributing ARPA funds from the City of Chattanooga to help child care teachers pay for up to $2,500 in early childhood college courses. Funds are first-come, first-served and can be used toward tuition and fees (not books and materials). 

Funds can also be used to cover your TECTA co-pay. Just fill out the application below.

It’s OK if you have failed a class previously. The only requirements are: 


  • You both live and work in Hamilton County, TN (at a licensed child care agency). 
  • You are interested in enrolling in early childhood education and development courses at Chattanooga State Community College or the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 
  • With your application, you must upload a signed copy of the COSIGNER AGREEMENT signed by your employer or another cosigner. This document states they will reimburse the Quality Matters Fund in the UNLIKELY event that you fail a course. (But we know you’re going to pass!)


Click the yellow button below to request tuition assistance for this semester or next!

Funds can be used for the Spring 2024 or Summer 2024 semesters, so there is a rolling deadline to apply for tuition assistance. However, please submit your application at least 5 days before the class registration deadline, to give our team enough time to process the paperwork.

Please be aware that it is your responsibility to apply to college as non-degree seeking and enroll in Early Childhood courses. The below table shows when college applications are due and when classes start. This video shows how to apply as non-degree seeking at Chattanooga State.

When you apply, you will get a response from both our staff and someone from the college where you've applied to enroll within 2-3 business days.

Key Dates for 2024 School Year

Chattanooga State Community College

University of Tennessee-Chattanooga


Spring 2024

Summer 2024

Spring 2024

Summer 2024

Class Registration Deadline

January 12th (1st session) March 8th (2nd session)

May 24th (10 week session)

May 24th (1st session)

June 28th (2nd session)

January 14th

May 17th (1st session)

June 28th (2nd session)

Classes Begin

March 11th

May 28th(10 week session)

May 28th (1st session)

July 2nd (2nd session)

January 8th

May 15th (1st session)

June 26th (2nd session)

Last day to add/drop classes

February 12th (1st session)

April 8th (second session)

No late registration

January 7th

May 17th (1st session)

June 28th (2nd session)

Final Grades Available

March 5th (1st session)

May 3rd (2nd session)

August 12th

May 7th

June 27th (1st session)

August 9th (2nd session)


Chattanooga State Summer 2024 Important Dates

Summer Schedule

For help filling out your application, watch our technical assistance video linked below. We have answered a lot of questions on the Frequently Asked Questions page. And you can still email any remaining questions to earlymatterschatt@gmail.com.


If you’ve never done college before and think you can’t – just know that we believe in you and there are many supports available to help you succeed! You deserve to be paid for the unique skills you have in nurturing the young minds in the classroom and this is one way to make that happen. 



If you have a love of nurturing the minds of our youngest residents, consider becoming a part-time support staff in one of our local child care programs. We are seeking 10 people to serve as a consistent presence in a local child care for one year, stepping in to sub in classrooms when the full-time teacher is sick, needs to take care of a sick child, or is attending training. You will be an integral part of helping a child care provider (and the children enrolled) thrive. 

Child care teachers interested in working for the dedicated substitute pilot should submit their resume or job history* to earlymatterschatt@gmail.com

Details of the dedicated substitute program:

  • Hours and Pay: 20-30 hours per week at $13 – $15 per hour, depending on education or certificates
  • Length of Position: One year
  • Training and Support Available: Teachers who join the pilot program will be a part of a 10-teacher cohort. The cohort will attend a paid, full-day training before starting at the child care agencies. The cohort will come back together once each quarter to attend professional development. 
  • Interview Process: Candidates will first be invited to short virtual interview. If selected to move on, we will connect you to a child care provider for an in-person interview. If the provider feels like you’d be a good fit, you can begin your background check and fingerprinting process as an employee. We will pay the provider directly for your time. 
  • For questions, please email earlymatterschatt@gmail.com and we will continue to post answers to commonly asked questions on this page. 

*Job history template can be downloaded HERE


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