If one was to pass by the 2300 building they may notice what looks to be children’s play structures peeking over the top of the fences that surround it and the faint sound of the laughter of children. But there is no need to be alarmed; it’s just the Early Childhood Development Center.
Yes, there are children there and yes they are playing. That’s not all that is happening there though. The mission for the program is to, “develop and enrich each child to his/her fullest potential through meaningful teacher-child relationships and engaging learning experiences.” This also seems to follow close to the Las Positas Colleges mission statement that “is an inclusive, learning-centered institution providing educational opportunities and support for students’ transfer, degree, basic skills, career-technical and retraining goals.”
The interesting part about the mission statement for the center is who created it. According to Corrina Calica, the program director for the center, the business plan along with the mission statement was revamped the beginning of April, 2013. Calica also spoke about how the mission statement was created. “The nice thing about our mission statement is that it was a collaborative effort. Our business plan was put together by parents, faculty, teachers, directors, community members. They all came up with the mission and vision statement for our school,” Calica says, “I like the fact that it wasn’t just teachers (creating it), it was a whole community of people from different walks of life and people of different backgrounds.”
The Child Development Center program opened back in October 2011 and had an enrollment of about 12 children, while today they have about 30. Today about 25 percent is student attendance; thirty percent is faculty and staff; and about forty-five percent is from the community. Due to the Title Twenty-Two law there has to be one teacher to so many children, so the program cannot enroll more children until they have more teachers but there is not enough money to hire more people yet. They have a ten-month school program that is closed for the major U.S. holidays, and have the option of having a two, three or five day attendance.
The program is open to students, faculty and staff of Las Positas as well as the community in the surrounding area. At the time because they are so new they cannot help out with financial aid, but they are working with Child Care Links that can help with the payments. “Child Care Links is an agency in Pleasanton, and they give out subsidies. Basically they pay for parents who are eligible, by making a kind of contract with them, and once I receive the contract from their agency Child care links pays for their tuition,” Calica said.
Even with the center wanting to be able to serve the community more they still help out the college as well. “We have several functions…we mirror the early childhood faculty teaching and theory in our classes. We implement the best practices that they teach, so what you see in lecture you should be able to see here.” Calica says, “We are also a laboratory as far as teaching teachers of young children, so a lot of our early childhood psychology or sociology or social science or sometimes nursing students come here and volunteer to do some (type) of semester work.”
Despite having been under threat of being shut down after their first eight months because of the cut backs, for they were the newest section, though the board had unanimously voted against the closing, the center had been closed for the summer but then did open back up again in the fall semester.