Susan Toussaint

From 1976 to 2012, Susan Toussaint directed the Associated Students Child Development Lab. Housed in the Aymer J. Hamilton building, the lab is a place for student parents to receive quality child care while they attend classes.

As director, Toussaint prepared budgets and grants, developed programming, and oversaw the daily details of the lab. But her real focus was on the welfare and development of the children, their parents, and child development students. She often supported families in the program experiencing severe stress and guided the program through troubled financial times, making the case for continued funding so students with young children could pursue their education.

The lab grew exponentially through Toussaint’s 36 years of service. When she began, the center served children two to five years old; it now serves infants to five-year-olds. The facilities expanded from one room to four at Aymer J. Hamilton and include rooms and programs dedicated to specific age levels. Initially licensed for 37 children with a budget of $50,000, the program now accommodates 90 children with a budget of $800,000.

In 2004, the program partnered with CSU, Chico’s Child Development Program and became the official lab site for the University. This greatly increased the number of students from child development and related majors who worked in the lab to gain practical and research experience. The facility has served as a model for other university childcare programs.

Toussaint earned a master’s in human development in 2008 from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. She began teaching child development classes for Butte College in 1987 and continues to do so in retirement.