The San Joaquin Delta College Child Development Center provides an all-day preschool program for children between the ages of 18 months to five years.
“Our priority for our enrollment is for Delta students,” said Child Development Center Director Nancy Cook. “We are looking for families that are demonstrating the need for full day services.”
The care program is for parents who are also students, full time or part time.
The program does take children whose parents’ attend other schools including University of the Pacific, California State University, Stanislaus, California State University, Sacramento and University of California, Davis, but those are usually parents who attended Delta previously and then transferred.
Similar to college classes, the center has a wait list that can, if empty, accept people from the community to enroll.
The enrollment process works the same time as the college.
After a parent registers for classes, they bring their papers to the center and together, the center and the parent can work together to figure out their needs and how long the child needs to stay.
Usually the children are at the center between six and a half to eight hours, according to Cook.
The child development center provides an educational program, where the children learn through specific curriculum.
Here’s how the curriculum works: The center has eight classrooms, two of them occupied by toddlers and six of them are occupied by children from ages three to five.
Each classroom has a daily schedule and is based on what the children’s needs are. The schedule is made up of indoor and outdoor time, small groups and learning centers.
In each of the classrooms, the children choose what they want to learn.
For example, if the topic is pets, and the children want to learn about cats but the teacher likes dogs, they’ll find something that relates to both.
No matter the subject, the teachers always find a way to dive into the children’s interests, but still make sure that they’re learning at an academic level proper for their age.
In the care program, there’s a system called a “teaching pyramid” where the center teaches students about feelings. The center teaches children what to do if they’re feeling sad or mad.
“We are safe. We are friendly. We are respectful,” is the motto.
“We are way more than babysitting,” said Cook.
The center also does developmental assessments in all of the children.
According to Cook, the center builds a portfolio for each of the children. The center records the things done and the things said and sometimes include writing samples.
The center uses these portfolios when meeting with parents. Throughout the course of the year, the care works with the parents and tells them information about their child and what they can do with their child at home.
“Our goal is early intervention,” said Cook. “The children, if they need extra help, they can get the early on. So they can stay with their peers and be successful when they go into regular school.”
There are about 54 people employed at the center, half of them being staff and fully qualified teachers, and the other half being Federal Work Study students and volunteers.
On Tuesdays and Thursday, an Early childhood practicum class meets in the conference room in the center. These students plan activities for the children and sometimes join the children in the classroom.
The center operates Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.