Week of the Young Child: SRJC Hosts Library Gallery to Promote Child Care Programs on Campus

Lily, 3, eats lunch in the Blue Room, one of two rooms for preschoolers at the Robert Call Children’s Center.

Lily, 3, eats lunch in the Blue Room, one of two rooms for preschoolers at the Robert Call Children’s Center.

Nashelly Chavez, Assistant News Editor

Colorful artwork made by children and toddlers decorated Santa Rosa Junior College’s Doyle Library April 14-20 in recognition of Week of the Young Child.

Week of the Young Child is a nationwide event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children aiming to draw attention to the needs of young children and their families.

Three student interns from the Robert Call Children’s Center coordinated the display, featuring artwork from children receiving childcare at the center. SRJC’s library homepage also had photographs and quotes from some of the young artists.

Jessica Anderson, Gloria Heredia and Amanda Zangara are advanced students in the Child Development Department taking the field experience class. Anderson and Heredia work with preschoolers, while Zangara works with toddlers.

Anderson said she and the other interns planned the display for several months and hope to educate the community about the work being done at the center. “We’re helping them [the children] for their years here, but really, we’re setting them up for the rest of their life,” Anderson said.

According to Anderson, the center provides teacher-led art activities but art supplies are available at all times for the children at the center. “They love it. Our group can paint up a storm,” Anderson said. “They’re learning fine motor skills that could help them develop their writing later.”

Heredia adds that the teachers at the center focus on educating and building relationships with parents as well as creating an environment representative of the diverse backgrounds of the classrooms. “The families are a huge part of the culture in the center here,” Heredia said.

Most of the center’s children are kids of SRJC students who receive subsidized funding for their childcare through the California State Department of Education and other programs. Many pay nothing or very little for the childcare.

Besides providing care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, the Child Development Center is the location for most of SRJC’s child development classes. Observation rooms located throughout the center show students real-world application of class instruction. The in-depth nature of the classes attracted Zangara to the program after looking at other schools before coming to SRJC.

“We’re really proud of our program. We have a reputation of being one of the best in the state,” said Dean of Early Childhood Education Joel Gordon.

According to John Elberly, the field experience teacher who works with interns at the Child Development Center, one room that previously served as a class for toddlers was closed due to budget cuts. Some field trips and presentations have been cut as well. The student interns created the SRJC Children’s Center Fund this semester to provide extra funding for the center.