By Michele Scheidecker
It’s the average age of the campus student population, boasts room for 45 children, and offers college-bound parents the chance of a lifetime.
Suffolk Kids’ Cottage Children’s Learning Centers provides parents with day-care for their children.
“Our mission is to provide child care so parents could get back into school,” said Director, Audrey Hopkins, of Suffolk Kids’ Cottage. The children learning center has been around for 22 years and is “one of the 11 in Suffolk County,” Hopkins said.
The centers are not-for-profit and licensed by the Department of Social Services under the auspices of the Suffolk County Community College Association and the Office of Student Services. They are supported through grants, SUNY fees, funds from the College fee, fund-raisers, and services provided to them by the college. The centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Each center is equipped with fire alarms and they meet the New York State building and fire codes and Health Department regulations. This information is according to the Day-care broshure. Director Hopkins is an early childhood major and enjoys managing the center.
“It is a small center but we can have up to eight infants, 12 toddlers, and 25 pre-schoolers at any time,” said Hopkins. “It is not difficult to manage the children because I have an educated staff that experienced early childhood education, often with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Early Childhood Education,” said Hopkins about her staff.
All staff members are required to have a criminal background check and are fingerprinted for clearance to work with the children. The staff teaches the children developmental needs such as physical, intellectual, social and emotional. They have a family-like atmosphere that is clean and safe. They also provide learning opportunities through multi-sensory learning that use carefully selected educational materials.
Most students are not aware that this program is available to them. The center is open from 7:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. Parents are welcomed to visit the center whenever they wish.
“Most students did not attend the student orientation and that is why they are not aware of us!” said Hopkins. The children’s learning center is a plus for families so that they are able to attend school and enhance the well-being of their child.