Child Care Center accepts grandkids

In the past, the College’s Child Care Center was only available to the children of students, faculty, staff, alumni and Ewing residents. As of August, however, the center is open to grandchildren as well.

The center was in danger of closing last year due to low enrollment. Because bids for a new center were too high, the College had to come up with a way to spark interest in the center.

A questionnaire concerning different aspects of the center was distributed and reviewed, and a child-care committee that met in August chose to allow the community’s grandchildren into the program.

“Grandchildren had not been allowed in the past simply because no one thought of it,” Connie Danser, coordinator of the center, said.

Although the addition of grandchildren has reportedly made people more aware of the center’s services, it has not yet yielded much response.

Currently, there is only one grandchild enrolled in the program. Declan Wollert, age four, is the grandson of Kathy Wollert, a 1975 graduate of the College and Ewing resident.

Wollert and her grandson are both pleased with the center’s revision after only two months of Declan’s enrollment. “He absolutely loves it,” Wollert said. “Declan actually cried yesterday because he had to go to the doctor instead.”

Like many others who use the facility, Wollert believes the center is very beneficial. “I think it provides a good program for socialization and learning,” she said. “It also allows (Declan) to be around other children and adults as well.”

Danser, who has 30 years of experience in the child-care field, believes the center’s program is effective primarily because of its multi-faceted objective.

“The Child Care Center serves more than one purpose,” Danser said. “It also allows for students to fulfill their class requirements.”

The staff, in addition to Danser, consists of a part-time teacher as well as six to eight student workers provided by the Student Finance Board, most of whom are education majors.

Danser says she enjoys having the students at the center because they bring “vitality and enthusiasm to the program.”

The size of the center also makes it a successful program, Danser said. Because it is reasonably small, the staff is able to give full attention to each child. The children also have an easier time adapting to the new environment when they interact with the same people each time they come in. “No child gets lost here,” Danser said.

The center’s expectations for an increase in the rate of enrollment may soon be met. Despite the lack in numbers, many people support the idea of grandchildren at the center.

“A lot of people are living longer these days,” Steph Herrick, freshman open options major, said. “It’s a good thing that grandparents are spending more time with their grandchildren.”

Robert C. Cole, professor of journalism, also agrees on the validity of the addition.

“I’ve never needed to use a sitter for my grandchildren,” he said, “But I think it’s a good idea because a lot of (faculty and staff) here have them.”

The center is open Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is located in Forcina Hall, room 159. Services are available year round, closing two weeks in August and on College holidays.