With the helping hand of the United State’s Department of Education, parents may qualify to receive financial assistance with childcare.
The Helping Hands grant program, Child Care Access Means Parents in School, reduces childcare costs for Pell Grant recipients and low-income students. The grants are only available for use at the Early Childhood Center on the CSU campus.
“It’s nice. We feel fortunate that there’s a federal grant program,” said Linda Carlson, assistant director of ECC. “It’s nice to offer preschool to all incomes. Sometimes people see preschool as a luxury.”
The ECC is a laboratory preschool for CSU’s human development and family studies program. Its central focus is to promote children’s positive self-concept and to respect the unique differences in each child.
The center offers an educational experience for children involving physical, social, emotional and intellectual opportunities to learn.
The center also serves a multicultural clientele and explores this aspect of their students within lessons.
“I just feel (the curriculum at ECC) gets them ready for the real world,” Carlson said.
The center serves children 2 1/2 to 6 years old and is open to the public.
According to the center’s Web site (www.cahs.colostate.edu/hdfs/ECC/centerearlychild.htm) the purpose of the center is threefold:
– To involve graduate and undergraduate students in observation and teaching of young children.
– To serve the needs of young children and their families through providing an enriched learning environment.
– And to provide available subjects for research conducted by faculty members and students.
The ECC’s staff includes teachers that are also university employees. With the high ratio (one teacher to every six children) the center hopes to better enrich children’s preschool experience.
“The unusually high ratio enables the center to provide more one-on-one interaction, ensuring high quality education,” according to the center’s Web site.
Carlson expands on the benefits of the ratio between students and adults.
“The ratios we have let us spend more time with the children,” Carlson said.
The ECC received national recognition in 2001 when profiled in the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers’ newsletter. The ECC director, Ruth McBride, was also named Director of the Year by the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers in 2001.
To receive a grant the child must be enrolled at the center and then parents must fill out a Free Application for Student Aid online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or at CSU’s Student Financial Services.
For more information on the grant program or ECC contact Ruth McBride, at 491-7082 or on the web at www.cahs.colostate.edu/hdfs/ECC/centerearlychild.htm.