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The SRJC Children's Center has two major purposes: providing high quality child development and child-care services for children of student parents, and serving as a model demonstration site for students studying child development. Children enrolled in the program are between six months and five years of age. Students and Child Development instructors use the program in three different ways:
The Child Development Department educates a growing number of students to work with young children and families in a variety of roles and settings in the community.
To ensure a high quality program, we offer a well-planned, developmentally appropriate curriculum based on individual needs of children. We recognize and affirm each child's need to grow and develop at her/his own pace. In order to provide the most appropriate care, children are grouped developmentally. We have six classrooms: an infant room, three toddler rooms, and two preschool classrooms.
Our primary goal is to provide a high quality program for the children in our care. We offer a well rounded, comprehensive, child-centered curriculum prepared and presented by trained and caring staff in a safe and nurturing environment. Our play-oriented curriculum is based on a philosophy integrating respect for the child, positive guidance, and the development of self-esteem. Teaching and caregiving practices are based on the emerging abilities of the child. Our program addresses all the domains of childhood including the child’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development.
The center's curriculum is based on experiential activities incorporating each area of development. These activities include art, language arts, math, science, food experiences and large and small skills, as well as activities geared to develop and enhance self-esteem and promote an awareness and acceptance of diversity. A comprehensive nutrition program includes breakfasts, lunches, and snacks as an integral part of the curriculum.
The environment is designed to be child-centered and allow opportunities for children to choose among a variety of activities. These activities reflect children's interests and needs based on information gathered during observations and assessments. Children have an opportunity to choose independent activities and to participate in teacher-directed projects in both large and small groups. Staff encourages children to solve problems, ask questions, find answers, explore interesting materials, and develop curiosity, thus nurturing the development of thinking skills as well as building a base of knowledge.
Our goal for our staff is to provide a working environment that encourages and stimulates ongoing professional growth and training while providing adequate support to meet the demands of the position. We conduct staff training and weekly in-service meetings for feedback and discussion and annual opportunities for staff and program evaluation and planning.
For parents, our goal is to create a partnership that is a positive experience for the child and supportive of the whole family. We offer opportunities to improve and expand parenting skills through workshops and presentations, parent-teacher conferences, and encourage parents to participate in the center or in other ways which enhance or support the goals of the program. The diversity of the parent population is respected and is considered an enrichment of our program.
We strive to provide an educational experience for students in a high quality child-care setting by modeling appropriate teaching and discipline strategies in a child-centered environment. Students assume an active role in the center and take on increased responsibility as they acquire appropriate skills and experience.
For the community, we actively participate in issues that support children and families on a national, state, and local level. Additionally, we offer our center as a resource to the child-care community of Sonoma County.
The Children’s Center is operated on a nondiscriminatory basis according equal treatment and access to services without regard to ethnicity, race, color, ancestry, gender, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, national origin, medical conditions, veteran status, or political affiliation.
Our teachers have early childhood education permits, child development backgrounds, and experience with young children. Master teachers and student interns work with the children, as do college students who are in training at the centers. Student employees, child development students, and parent volunteers work with children and provide support services. Our administrative staff includes of the Dean, Early Childhood Education, who oversees the Child Development Department, and the Children's Centers Program Director, who oversees the Children's Center's programs, as well as a Site Supervisor.