Valley provides a safe center for children of students.
By Yesenia Burgara, Staff Writer
Children are helping teachers cut strawberries picked from their garden. A rainbow dragon they painted hangs from the ceiling in one room. There are fish, chickens and other pets, all cared for by the kids. From a tiny house, one apron-wearing child emerges with a small pot. “Teacher try my soup,” he says, and the teacher asks, “What kind of soup it is?”
This is Valley College.
No, there hasn’t been some “Freaky Friday”-like accident; toddlers haven’t taken over the campus. This is the daycare for students’ children housed at the Child Development Center (CDC).
Going back to school can be difficult for parents because it can be tricky trying to figure out a safe environment to leave your children while at school or working.
In July 2010, Los Angeles Valley College opened their new CDC after 25 years of being in the bungalows.
The nature-based program provides three playgrounds. The playgrounds feature orange, apple and other fruit trees; beds with strawberries, tomatoes, plants and flowers, which are all watered and cared for by children and teachers. The children are also exposed to music, books, sand toys, a small house, comfortable seating, bikes, swings, hills to run over, climbing structure and even a mud area — with teachers spread around the playground in designated areas to make sure all children are safe at all times.
The CDC has six classrooms with teacher to child ratios ranging from one-to-four and one-to-six. The daytime preschool program is provided from Monday – Friday 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also provide an after school program for children in kindergarten up to 13 years of age, from Monday to Thursday till 10 p.m. and Friday till 5 p.m. There is a wait list, therefor it is important that parents apply in advance. Hourly rates ranging from 75 cents to $2.50 for daytimes and $3-$10 for evenings; financial assistance is available to parents who qualify. The center welcomes and encourages visits and parent participation as well.
Olga Senchushkinais parent of three, who attends Valley with an undecided major, explained how the program has helped her financially and also gives her time to study and do homework. “I am very glad my child comes here, he is happy here, when he is on vacation, he asks when do we go to school, and why he isn’t going.”