Student parents have options at ARC

By Natasha Honeywood and Ed Gebing

Campus Police and Child Development Center talk about parental options

Many parents have a hard time leaving their children in daycare.  For some, there is a fear of not being in their child’s reach.  ARC offers daycare at The Child Development Center, which is available to student parents who require childcare while attending class. The ages accepted are 2-5-year-olds for the spring and fall semesters, and 2 thru 10 in the summer.

Sergeant Michael Olson of the American River College campus police said, “there are less than 10 calls each semester,” in regards to children being on campus unattended.  “It is not a ‘problem’ due to the low occurrences for us, but it is a concern for the safety of the children,” said Sgt. Olson.  “If they are on campus without proper supervision, then we find their parent or guardian and speak to them about the policy, the danger unattended minors can face, [we] may issue them a criminal citation and/or refer them to student discipline.”

Campus police doesn’t keep stats on how often children are allowed into the classrooms, but Sgt. Olson says, “It is up to the instructors to speak to [the parents] and/or send a referral to student discipline.”

Danell Ward, Supervisor of The Child Development Center, wants parents to know if they don’t get into the program one semester, they should keep trying for the next.  The center doesn’t call it a waitlist, but an eligibility list. “We prefer to call it an eligibility list because it depends on the available hours and what the parents needs are,” said Ward.

Depending on the size of the family and household income, the facility can be very affordable, according to Ward.  “We are a state funded preschool,” he said.  “We are on a sliding scale, which is, again, based on the size of the family and their income. So it can vary from not a fee at all…up to $50.00 a month, which is the highest that we charge.”

Ward describes the program as a great benefit.  “Parents are more at ease knowing that their children are close by. It is flexible enough for the parents who only need child care two days a week or three days a week.”

ARC student Meagan Prudler has a 4-year-old son currently in the program. “It is right on campus.  They give me study time,” said Prudler.  “There is plenty for him to do, lots of toys and things that will help him learn.  I like the student teachers; they are a little more excited to work with the children.”