Sep 012003
Authors: Amy Resseguie

When Julie Keith was seeking child care for her son, 5-year old Tarryn, she initially had trouble finding a place that she felt shared her priorities regarding his education.

“Tarryn is very creative and expressive, with an amazing imagination, and bright,” said Keith, a third-year fine arts graduate student. “It’s hard to find day care that isn’t so white bread, one that allows him to be himself.”

Keith’s son now attends day care at the Early Childhood Center. The center, located on the CSU campus, 142 Gifford, is the laboratory school for the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

The ECC provides half-day and full-day child-care programs for children of CSU students, faculty and staff, ages 2 to 6 years old. Students in the HD&FS program work alongside licensed professionals in teaching the children.

According to the ECC’s Web site, the center works “to promote the physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth of each child … through provision of an enriched learning environment.”

Keith appreciates that the ECC’s approach to children’s education and development includes allowing the kids to develop their own personalities.

“(The ECC staff) are very sensitive and really well-educated. It’s really a wonderful thing to have people who are really grounded and perceptive working with my son,” Keith said. “I also like that they’re so close to the art building, so that I can go have lunch with Tarryn.”

The University Children’s Center, 501 W. Lake St., also offers child care for CSU students, faculty and staff. The UCC offers full-day, half-day and hourly programs for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old.

The programs include individualized care for infants and educational curriculum for toddlers, preschoolers and pre-kindergarten children.

“We use the Creative Curriculum, which includes lots of hands-on, sensory-based activities,” said Mary Hamilton, the center’s executive director.

Every week, a music therapist comes in to work with the children. The UCC also provides English as a Second Language lessons for international children, and there is a Spanish lesson for all of the preschool kids once a week.

“There is a unique multicultural flavor, with many countries represented,” Hamilton said. Children from around the world, including China, Japan, Morocco and India, attend the UCC.

The children also go on weekly field trips, depending on what they are learning that week, said Dawn Westerby-Smeltz, the on-site director of the center. The UCC also provides transportation to swimming lessons in the summer and to gymnastics lessons throughout the year.

Financial assistance is available for both the ECC and the UCC through the CCAMPIS/Helping Hands Grant, which is available to students who are eligible for a Pell Grant.

The Office of Women’s Programs and Studies also offers assistance in finding off-campus child care.


For more information:

Early Childhood Center: 491-7082

University Children’s Center: 491-2862

Office of Women’s Programs and Studies: 491-6384

The Women’s Center of Larimer County: 484-1902

– free child-care referrals and parent assistance

Association of Family Child Care Homes: 493-6411

– free child-care referrals for licensed family child-care homes

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