Daycare initiatives in southeastern Iowa benefit from the money

Daycare initiatives in southeastern Iowa benefit from the money

“(Instructor Amy Drew) will have her students come in, do a class and be able to have that observation time right here when they’re here in the building,” Baker said. “It may be something simple like furniture in the classroom. You can have that discussion and you can show pictures, but in the end, you can walk out and say, ‘Hey, let’s walk down the hallway and see what furniture in a 2-year-old room looks like.’ ”  More:SCC rolls out new early childhood education degree Goal: Create a pipeline for future educators in southeast Iowa

“One of the positives we have in this building is we do have a full-time nurse,” Baker said. “She will work with the child care as well as the preschool.”  Just outside the library-turned-child care center is the nurse’s office, which has been staffed since the beginning of the year when Corse reopened for 4-year-old preschool. 

Four-year-old classrooms line the west side of the corridor, while room across the hall will be occupied by an older group of students enrolled in Southeastern Community College’s two-year Early Childhood Education program.  “A lot of our construction work is down this hallway, because this is where a majority of the child care rooms are,” Corse Principal Bryan Baker said on a recent walk-through of the building. “To try to maximize this space, we decided to just put 4s, 1s and 2s in here, and then 3s are close to their 3-year-old classrooms.”

“Most of the brain development happens by the age of 5, so if we can get children into quality centers that bring into the centers that nourish the brain, then we’re that much more ahead,” Michel said. “Otherwise, we’re doing remediation, which costs so much more than just putting the dollars up front in good, early childhood education. Learning through developmentally appropriate play is the important thing. … For every dollar you spend (on early education), some reports say $3 to $5 you’re saving in later remediation costs or even as adults.” More:Rainy weather slows progress on Des Moines County 99 bridge work Anne Michel, an early childhood consultant with Great Prairie Area Education Agency and a play coach with the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, said access to quality early education through developmentally appropriate play is vital to development and can actually save money.

The goal, Baker said, is to create a pipeline of future educators in southeast Iowa while providing quality child care and preschool programming that use the same curriculum to ensure continuity as children advance from preschool to kindergarten. Students who complete the Early Childhood Education program will be able to become paraeducators, child care professionals, child care managers or transfer to a four-year school such as Iowa Wesleyan to further their education. 

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