Early child care and education programs at WSU merge

Effective July 1, two Washington State University programs providing early childhood education services will merge. The WSU Children’s Center (CC) and the Department of Human Development’s Child Development Program (CDP) will become a single unit under the administration of the Department of Human Development in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd initiated the program merger to provide an academic home for the CC and take advantage of the potential quality-of-care enhancements such a home can provide.

A FAQs page for parents may be found at https://childrenscenter.wsu.edu/merger-faqs/.

The CC has provided full-day child care from infancy through school age to student, staff and faculty families for over 40 years. The center has operated under the direction of WSU Student Affairs with a service/outreach mission – providing child care to university-affiliated families.

The CDP has operated for nearly 85 years. It has provided a half-day educational program for preschool aged children in families affiliated with the university and non-university-affiliated families. The CDP’s mission addresses teaching, research and outreach.

“Service to families will continue with this merger, and the teaching and research activities at the Children’s Center will be expanded,” said Brenda Boyd, executive director of the center and WSU associate professor of human development.

By joining forces, Boyd said, the early childhood educators heading up the merged program will take advantage of new opportunities to enhance the quality of programming provided to children and families. The two programs have been housed in the same building since 2000.

There is no plan to change the classroom configuration and staffing model in place at the CC. The classroom used by the CDP half-day preschool program will become a full-day classroom for preschool aged children and will be open to community members as well as university-affiliated families. Half-day enrollment opportunities will be offered to those families currently served by the CDP and on the CDP waiting list.

Human development faculty who have staffed the CDP will be added to the CC administrative team. This change will create a critical mass of administrators who can support the teaching staff at the center, providing them with professional development opportunities, supervision and coaching.

Funding from the university will allow for full-time front desk staffing to increase customer service and enhance security, in addition to increasing the administrative and teacher support capacity.

“This merger represents an exciting time of growth and development for the WSU Children’s Center,” Boyd said. “It’s important to note that this growth will occur in the context of maintaining a stable experience for the children and families served by the Children’s Center.”