Evening Childcare Finally Opens After Decades Of Planning


Bruna Vila Artigues, News Editor

Over the last 20 years, Central Connecticut has failed to establish a child care facility for their students, faculty and staff. While this year will mark the opening of an new after-school and evening care program for the community to use, it could last shorter than expected.

Although the additional childcare program has been helpful for those using it, with eight children enrolled in the program, it still has not secured a permanent position into the university.

“The program is applied for our students [faculty and staff as well] at CCSU that have children and may have classes in the evening, or may need to do some work, or may have to attend any university activities,” Talhaht Mannan, the Early Learning Program (ELP) director, explained. “It is making CCSU programs more accessible to them this way.”

Fiona Pearson, the board director and chairperson of the Social Science Department at CCSU, was ambitious enough to apply and receive a grant to fund the program. However, being state-funded also means that the organization must rely on an outside source for funding in order to make it work.

“We would like to advertise it every semester, but it all depends on the funds.” Mannan said. “This year the funds come up in June and then we’ll see if we have the funds for next year to offer it again.”

While this is the child care center’s first year back in a long time, the program has been years in the making awaiting to take action.

In 2000, the CCSU Master Plan called for the “creation of a new day care facility with surrounding play area and landscaping.” At that time, the university did not provide day care drop-in services. However, it was affiliated with an off-campus facility called the Early Learning Program (ELP), a pre-school program for CCSU parents with children ages three to five.

Eight years later, the Committee for the Concerns of Women Child Care Subcommittee realized that the plan had never come into fruition and, throughout the year, they worked to create a proposal for on-campus child care services. Other universities in the state had already adopted family-friendly policies by then.

After surveying nearly 500 people, the committee found that 48 percent of the respondents had “missed an on-campus event or class due to lack of child care,” and 80 percent “claimed to know people on campus who could use an on-campus child care service.”

Therefore, the committee realized that “CCSU [did] not currently provide adequate support for childcare needs,” and that the Early Learning Program associated with the university lacked space, funding and accommodations for older kids.

Come 2011, CCSU still had yet to implement any changes. The committee continued to recommend CCSU to “develop initiatives and increase access to child care resources that ultimately promote a ‘family friendly’ culture on campus.” A year later, they finally submitted a “Proposal to Create a Pilot Child Care Drop-In Center.”

This year, eight years after the proposal and two decades after the first plan, it has finally happened. Nearly a month ago, the Early Learning Program, now licensed for children ages three to 14, adopted an evening childcare with a max capacity of 12 kids.

For the time being, the evening childcare is in service from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every week day and consists of two classrooms run by co-teacher modules – meaning two teachers in each classroom.

People can sign up for specific days following an enrollment application and an interview by the board president. Individuals must be either enrolled as a CCSU student, faculty or staff, be in good academic standing and exhibit a need for the program to qualify for the services.

To apply or contact the Early Learning Program, visit their office at 1285 East Street or their website: https://www.ccsu.edu/earlylearningprogram/