Happy Birthday to Child Care…singing two decades of praise
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Every child loves to sing the birthday song, and when Camosun’s Child Care Services holds their 20-year birthday party this spring, you can bet the voices will be brimming with boisterous enthusiasm! Since 1990, Child Care Services has been offering one of the most important support services for the adult learner: high quality, affordable and dependable child care. There are dozens of stories of how these “learn-through-play education centres” enable parents to pursue their own education dreams, but after twenty years, the stories start to turn full circle.
Welcoming the second generation
Karla Steeds, mom to 4-year-old Zachary, attended the Lansdowne facility during Child Care Services’ early days. For four years, Karla happily attended the toddler and preschool centres while her mom took a variety of business courses to develop her career and support her family. Now a child care mom herself, and a Camosun graduate, Karla is a confident parent and a proud supporter of child care on campus.
“I don’t remember many of the details from the old days. It seemed a lot smaller back then, but the feeling is still the same—especially nap time, when educators lie down with the children to comfort them. And some of the educators are the same, too!” says Steeds. Johanne Sherber was one of Karla’s caregivers, and when Karla returned with Zachary in her arms in 2007, there was a joyous but teary reunion. “I went, ohhh, is it time for me to go? I was feeling overwhelmed that I’d seen a generation pass by,” says Sherber. “But I LOVE what I do. We give continuity to students, allowing adult learners to approach education knowing their children are safe.”
Contributing to student success
Steeds agrees that excellent child care on campus was a huge contributor to her own success at college. “I’m a single parent, so even though I started as a part-time student, I still had Zachary in the full-time program. It would have been hard without that extra time to study. As a student you don’t have to stress about taking your child across town, and with the open door policy, I could pop by for lunch and feel confident and comfortable.”
Knowing Zachary was safe and happy helped Steeds become a knowledgeable parent and a successful student. She attended Camosun for two years, beginning with Upgrading in the School of Access, and then continuing with the 10-month Community Support and Education Assistant program. She now works for the Saanich school district as an education assistant.
“Camosun’s Child Care Services is definitely a great thing! It makes your life easier and it’s a wonderful, wonderful service.” Steeds says the saddest memory for her was when she had to say goodbye to Johanne and transfer Zachary back to the Interurban facility, but it’s a good kind of sad, and the door will always be open for them to come back to say hello...maybe even with a new generation. But that will have to wait for another couple of decades to pass!
Child Care Services at Camosun College—by the numbers
- Number of licensed child care facilities at Camosun: 2 (one at each campus)
- Number of children registered: 8 infants (newborn to 18 months), 16 toddlers (18 months to 3 years) and 40 preschoolers (3 to 5 years)
- Number of children cared for to date: more than 1,100
- Number of Camosun ELC grads employed: 12 of 16 educators
- Number of college students who complete observations and practicums: 75 – 120 annually
Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:12 pm