Rowan University’s on-campus childcare facility is offering free evening care to qualifying student parents. Qualifying students must attend classes on Rowan’s Glassboro campus along with a FAFSA on file that shows they are eligible for a Pell Grant.
Children must be between the ages of 2.5 and 6 years old, as well as be fully potty trained. To qualify, undergraduate parents must earn six credits per semester and graduate parents must earn three per semester. Care is provided from 5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. The evening care program is in its second year of operation, and due to class schedule changes, no students are currently enrolled in the program.
Leah Walker, director and lead teacher of the Early Childhood Demonstration Center, said the evening program allows parents greater access to the evening classes that may be offered at limited times throughout the academic year, specifically those only offered on weekdays.
“When I originally transferred, I was intending to take some evening classes, and I ended up switching up my schedule. But Leah Walker, who runs the ECDC, she has made sure that there is the option of evening care for any students who actually need it,” said April Casey, an English major with children who use daytime care. “And I don’t personally, but it’s definitely an absolutely fantastic option that any student can just like as long as you apply, the funding is there.”
Casey also detailed the study night for students who are parents that the center held in the fall semester of 2022 At this event, any student parent, even those who do not have their children enrolled in the center, could drop off their children for a few hours of free care to allow for uninterrupted study time.
The Early Childhood Demonstration Center received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The facility, located in James Hall, is part of Rowan’s Family-Friendly Campus Initiative, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School grant. The initiative provides a variety of programs and resources for student parents on campus.
“I think that it provides greater access to all students. Parents tend to be excluded sometimes from the narrative. They’re a smaller percentage of the student population. As a non-traditional student, universities aren’t always set up to accommodate student parents,” Walker said.
Walker also said that while many other colleges and universities in New Jersey offer childcare to students, Rowan’s Early Childhood Demonstration Center’s national accreditation and how well-established it is in the community sets it apart from the childcare providers of other universities.
Director of the Family Friendly Campus Initiative Hannah Kye said the center hopes to expand access to care by creating more flexible scheduling programs in the future.
“Part of our goal as the Family-Friendly Campus Initiative is to make sure that faculty staff and students see parenting students as part of the fabric of the university community. Oftentimes, it’s not known whether somebody has children, so making sure that we’re inclusive and welcoming of different family situations,” Kye said.
Priority enrollment for the center’s preschool program, which offers two different classrooms for children three to six years of age, begins on Feb. 18. Applications, with attached financial aid information and course schedules, can be sent to the Director of CCAMPIS Child Care Programming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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