Glendale Community College
Glendale Community College Child Development Center (CDC)
Glendale Community College was founded in 1927 and the Child Development Center (CDC) was established in 1990. Both the early childhood instructional program and the CDC are housed in the same building, creating a learning laboratory for college students who are studying child development. The facility is organized in clusters, grouped around the central lecture classroom. The intimate, homelike environment helps students, children and their families feel comfortable and safe.
The CDC has been accredited by the National Association for the Education for Young Children for 20 years and became a Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) demonstration program in 2008. The CDC serves community families and faculty in the day program and children of college students in the evening program. The CDC cares for 120 children from 5 months through 5 years of age, with approximately 23 children in the infant toddler program.
The center includes an observation room as well as an observation corridor both specially designed with monitors, microphones and windows to observe the indoor and outdoor learning environments. This system reduces the number of adults and interruptions in the classroom.
Infant and Toddler Classrooms:
The infant/toddler program includes 2 rooms: The Koalas, designed for 8 infants between the ages of 5 and 18 months; and the Dinosaurs designed for 12 toddlers between the ages of 18 and 36 months. Both rooms were renovated in August of 2008 to create the homelike, inviting, and intimate environments recommended by PITC. Specialized features include comfortable and child-sized furniture, muted earth-tone colors and natural lighting. Both infant/toddler rooms at the CDC have direct access to their own outdoor spaces. Each of these yards offer safe, appropriate challenges for the age group. Like the indoor rooms, the outdoor environments provide children with comfortable, intimate spaces, a variety of choices, and freedom to explore.
Infants: Koala Classroom
Older Toddlers: Dinosaurs
Easy movement between the indoor and outdoor spaces fosters health with access to fresh air and offers the infants and toddlers greater opportunities to explore.
Supporting Attachment: Primary & Continuity of Care in Action
The center’s systems of primary and continuity of care are designed to promote attachment. Children and teachers develop close caring relationships that strengthen over time. The program continually looks at ways they can provide opportunities to build trust and deepen understanding.
Individualized Care Connecting with Infants and Families needs
At the CDC there is an emphasis on establishing respectful, reciprocal relationships so that parents and staff view themselves as partners with important roles in the success of the child’s experience. Regular communication between infant care teachers and families over time allows each to share their observations, understanding and awareness of the child. Each child’s temperament and preferences are considered as infant care teachers plan for routines and activities based on the child’s individual interests and needs.
Routines are the Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers
Feeding and Meals
A calm, pleasant and unhurried atmosphere at family style meal times supports individualization, language development and socialization during meal times. As soon as the infants and toddlers are developmentally ready, they sit on their own in child-sized chairs and help serve themselves, and also help clean up. Hand washing before and after meals is also a routine that becomes an important part of the learning experience.
Greetings and Departures
Students and visitors can observe how families and children are warmly greeted in the program. Parents are encouraged to spend time in the classroom to get to know the teachers and other children, share information about their child’s current needs, daily routines, and the parent expectations. Learning that a parent will return is an important part of building trust. Caregivers help children say goodbye to their parent and remind them that their mom or dad will return at the end of their day.
Diapering and Toileting
Diapering and toileting provide an opportunity for one-on-one interactions that strengthen close relationships and emotional development. Whenever possible, diapering or toileting of infants and toddlers is done with the primary care teacher.
Sleeping and Napping
The infant care teachers read each child’s cues as they show signs of being tired and allow the child to set their own sleep schedule. Each classroom establishes an environment that provides a safe, comfortable, familiar place to sleep.
Small Groups Facilitate Active Exploration
The CDC’s indoor-outdoor approach helps the infant care teachers to meet the individual needs of the infants and toddlers because the learning environments can be organized into smaller group areas, some inside and some outside. Attractive and challenging interest areas are set up for the infants and toddlers to freely explore. Infant care teachers facilitate learning by observing what children are interested in as they engage in discoveries throughout the day and then acknowledging and expanding the activities.
Culturally Responsive Care
The CDC focuses on developing an ongoing connection between the program, the infant care teacher, and the infant’s family and culture with the goal of supporting each child’s developing identity. Connections begin to develop at the initial intake meeting when the family shares with the primary care teacher how routines occur at home. This way teachers can better understand the home environment and consider how the same routines might be supported in the CDC’s group setting. Efforts are made to match children and families with primary infant care teachers who speak the family’s home language. Daily communication and regular meetings and organized social events are conducted. Families are encouraged to participate in the classrooms and bring family artifacts and photos to display in the classroom for their children to see.
Inclusion of Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs are welcome at the CDC. The Director works closely with the staff to see what support the teachers need such as help with communicating with families and finding additional resources including community early intervention agencies, and a work schedule that allows attending therapy sessions with the child, transitional activities and/or IFSP meetings. The CDC makes accommodations as needed and as possible. In addition, the CDC is supported by Beginning Together, a collaborative partner of WestEd, Center for Child and Family Studies specifically trained in incorporating children with special needs and promoting appropriate inclusive practices.
“At the CDC, we are about relationship-based care as we responsively engage with each infant or toddler. We consider how we can get “in tune” with each infant or toddler and their family. We place the individual needs of infants and toddlers at the center of our decision-making. Visitors and students will notice the warmth of the infant care teachers through their nurturing interactions with the children and parents”. -Director