Southeast Missouri State University
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REGENTS OKAY PLAN FOR UNIVERSITY CHILD ENRICHMENT CENTER TO PARTNER WITH COMMUNITY DAY CARE CENTER

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 27, 2003 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents approved a plan today for the University’s Child Enrichment Center (UCEC) to partner with the Community Day Center in an effort to provide more opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to have experiential learning opportunities.

Under the plan, the University’s Child Enrichment Center, which provides child care for children of students, faculty and staff, will partner with the Community Day Care Center and rent space in its facility at 1912 Broadway. The University’s Child Enrichment Center will relocate from its current site in the Scully Building.

The partnership is expected to decrease the waiting list for students, faculty and staff seeking child care through the University's Child Enrichment Center and will establish a structure for the University's Child Enrichment Center to be fiscally self-sufficient.

Dr. Shelba Branscum, faculty advisor to the University Child Enrichment Center, said the new partnership paves the way for more opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to have experiential learning opportunities in the areas of child development and early childhood studies.

“We have waiting lists every semester for experiential class placements for our University students,” said Dr. Paula King, chair of the Department of Human Environmental Studies. “This new partnership will provide so many more opportunities for our students to benefit in a hands-on setting.”

The UCEC provides experiential learning activities for undergraduate students in courses of child development, child care & guidance, early childhood education, communication disorders, nutrition, nursing, recreation, physical education and psychology programs, plus a training and research venue for graduate students in the master’s degree program in human environmental studies education. Branscum said more than 250 students each semester in child development, child care & guidance and early childhood education take required courses that involve observation and participation in one of the University’s child care centers.

“The University offers one of only two nationally accredited child care sites in southeast Missouri and serves as a model of quality, developmentally appropriate care,” Branscum said.

Under the partnership approved today, the University will lease space for the University’s Child Enrichment Center in the Community Day Care Center at 1912 Broadway, a facility owned by Janet and Lester Goodin. The University’s Child Enrichment Center will be relocated to the new location by mid-August.

“Everybody is excited about being able to move and expand the benefits to more people at the University,” Branscum said.

King said, “The University is particularly pleased to partner with the Community Day Care Center because Mrs. Goodin is one of few child care providers in this area who is in the process of seeking national accreditation for her programs.”

The UCEC was developed in 1998 as a pilot program to provide full-day drop-in and surround child care for children of students, faculty and staff in a controlled, developmentally appropriate environment that provides experiential learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of educational programs. The UCEC began at the request of representatives of students, staff, administrators and faculty organizations, and was approved by the Board of Regents in July 1998.

The UCEC, which includes the federally funded Early Head Start Program, has occupied a classroom for pre-schoolers on the second floor of the building and a second classroom for infants and toddlers on the first floor. Together, the classrooms are licensed for 32 children at one time. There is currently no room on campus for expansion, although demand has grown.

“We have a large waiting list,” Branscum said, adding that the list, at any time, generally has 60 to 80 names of children of students, faculty and staff on it. “We are excited to be doing something about the long wait list.”

The UCEC currently has 39 children enrolled in all of its classrooms. The UCEC serves about 35 families, 75 percent of which are students.

“This service to students is a significant recruitment and retention initiative for non-traditional students,” Branscum said.

In its new location, the University’s Child Enrichment Center (UCEC) will be licensed to accept eight infants, eight toddlers, 10 two-year-olds and 40 pre-school age children. In January, the Child Enrichment Center hopes to expand its space for additional two-year-olds.

Expansion of the center will provide better service to students and children, plus provide an opportunity for it to become more self-supporting, Branscum said.

 

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