Child care could cost less on campus

Saddleback College has students of all walks of life, including students with young children. Though it may be beneficial to some, many people are unaware of the child care center in front of the golf range in the corner of campus.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 26 percent of college students have children. To make dramatic increases in the number of students with postsecondary credentials, which the president has identified as a crucial step in strengthening the U.S. economy, we must make supports such as child care available to student parents.

This is a step Saddleback has already taken on campus. The development center offers priority as well as a 20 percent discount to Saddleback students enrolled in six or more semester units.

“We also have student scholarships that can aid in helping to reduce their child care costs,” said child care development director Lisa Cavallaro. “So it makes it very affordable for students and also very convenient because they are right on campus.”

Once the students enrolled, the remaining slots are open for the faculty and community residents. The center has several learning opportunities for their preschool and toddler kids throughout the day.

The preschool program has been open for over three decades and is for those the age of 3 up until Kindergarten and are toilet trained. Dramatic play, helps the child learn the difference between fantasy and reality. The science center teaches the value of exploring, observing details and discovery.

Art and outdoor activities, movement and music, language and literature as well sand box are just a few of the other learning centers available for preschool children. The younger ones have a slightly different set-up.

The toddler program is for children 18-30 months old and has been open since Jan. 2010. According to the Child Development Center, the toddler curriculum is relationship based. Toddlers develop close bonds with their caregivers giving them a sense of security and self-esteem.

The preschool program has one teacher to every six kids, whereas the toddler program, is more intimate with more one on one and small group interaction. The Centers for Disease and Prevention stated the early years of a child’s life are very important for his or her health and development. Choosing care that shares this same value may be beneficial to children.

Those students pursuing an early childhood education certificate from Saddleback are required to complete lab hours. The lab placement must be a supervised field experience in a setting that serves children ages 3-5. The child development center on campus can assist with that requirement.

“We also serve a dual purpose in that we provide an observation site for students who are taking classes at the college,” Cavallaro said. “Students who are in child development, psychology or a various of classes can complete their course assignments here.”

The toddler program is open Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 a.m. however, they do not allow drop offs between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. They offer care two, three or five full days a week and the monthly price ranges from $765-$1395.

The preschool program slightly differs, parents have the option of two, three or five days as well, but also the option of full or half days. The price ranges from $390-$1070 a month, with current Saddleback students eligible for a discount.

Children between the age of 2 ½ and 3 ½ that are not toilet trained have a monthly tuition of $485-$1275. The child development center can accommodate children 18 months old to those entering Kindergarten at various learning levels.

Continuing education and raising a family may be difficult, but affordable, convenient child care right on campus can make things easier.