Campus Child Care Center Has New Name, Accreditation
After years of operating parallel programs, the Child Development Laboratory and the AS Children’s Center joined forces in 2004 to provide child care services while meeting the research and observation needs of CSU, Chico child development majors. This year, the program metamorphosis was complete—with a new name and national accreditation of the new format.
The Child Development Laboratory was a project of the Child Development Program designed to provide students with child observation and student teaching experience. Children spent two hours at a time in the laboratory. The AS Children’s Center offered child care for longer periods, mainly to university student families.
Now, the two centers together offer a full-day teaching/learning laboratory for more than 100 university students each semester and stimulating care environments for 80–90 children from 8 weeks to 5 years old. The joint program is called the Associated Students Child Development Laboratory and was accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs in February of 2006.
“We consider all four of the laboratory’s rooms to be college classrooms as well as children’s classrooms,” said Judy Bordin, coordinator, Child Development Program.
The partnership has benefited both programs, said program director Susan Toussaint. Money has been saved through the efficiency and consolidation of the programs, and the number of students served has increased. There are more classrooms and more diversity among families and children.
Students also have the chance to observe a wider age range of children in a more “authentic” environment, learning about the pace of a child’s day in ways that were impossible during two-hour observation periods, added Bordin. “They are with children eight hours a week. Before, they were only with children four hours a week. They get to see naptimes, diapering in those classrooms where it’s appropriate …. The pace of the full-day program looks very different than a two-hour program.”
University students learn about the latest research in child development, and then get the chance to apply these theories in their interaction with the children. “The faculty are teaching the students who are working in the classrooms. It comes full circle,” said Bordin.
And the circle is closed when child development majors bring the skills honed at the AS Child Development Laboratory to the community through careers in child care, elementary teaching, or administration.
— Anna Harris, Public Affairs and Publications
Faculty and students interested in using the facilities for observation and research will soon be able to access the procedures online at www.csuchico.edu/chld or by contacting Professor Cindy Ratekin at firstname.lastname@example.org or x4934.