More Goshen College students and faculty than ever are enrolling their children in GC’s Campus Center for Young Children.
While several college students and employees send their children to preschool on campus in a typical year, the number spiked this fall. Janet Couch, CCYC director, said that of 62 enrolled children, 13 of them have parents who are college students and 18 have parents who are faculty or staff, which means that 50 percent of CCYC’s enrollment is linked to the college.
“A majority of [the college students] are nontraditional students…childcare is important to them,” she said.
Yessica Hernandez Ponce, a first-year student and a parent, heard about CCYC from Goshen High School’s daycare. “First I made the decision to attend GC,” she said. “I then started to get more info on CCYC and get [my son] on the waitlist.”
CCYC operates in two locations—at College Mennonite Church on GC’s campus and Arbor Ridge in northern Goshen. CCYC, a non-profit licensed childcare facility that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, accepts children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old and emphasizes a play-based curriculum.
Adela Hufford, director of admissions, and her husband, Kyle Hufford, Five Core Media general manager, sent their son, Garrett, to CCYC for four years. They both agree that location was a large part of the reason they chose CCYC. “Initially it was due to convenience,” said Adela. “We stayed after the first year because of quality.”
The College Mennonite Church location is right on the college campus, so it’s accessible and comfortable for GC students and faculty. “We could drop him off and go straight to our jobs on campus,” she added. “That’s very appealing.”
Simelwe Dlova, a third-year student from South Africa, agrees. “I get to have [my daughter] close by so that when I have short days, I can get her early,” she said. Dlova’s daughter, Asiko, graduated from CCYC last spring, but still remains part of the community through CCYC’s after-school program for the college kindergarten. Dlova expressed gratitude for the service, saying that her class schedule would make it difficult for her pick up her daughter at the end of the regular school day.
Hernandez Ponce said, “Having access to on-campus childcare is huge to me. I would not be in college right now if I had no childcare.”
As an accredited program, CCYC develops curriculum that they feel is the most beneficial for children in their age group. As stated on the CCYC website, the philosophy is “based on the knowledge that children learn best when they have opportunities to explore their environment through hands-on, age and developmentally appropriate learning activities.”
Currently, only about 10 percent of eligible early education programs are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children nationally. CCYC teachers are all required to have at least an associate degree in early childhood education, and several of the teachers have a bachelor’s degree. Couch believes that the “quality of the program that is provided” is a large part of why so many faculty and students choose CCYC.
The Huffords said that their son benefited greatly from the curriculum. According to them, Garrett learned kindergarten-age material in the 4-year-old class at CCYC. Kyle said that CCYC “gave [his son] more structure and learning opportunities.”
Dlova also expressed satisfaction with the CCYC staff. “I would highly recommend CCYC to any college student parents because of how incredible the teachers are,” she said.
Kyle Hufford noted that one potential drawback of CCYC for students and faculty is tuition cost. “It’s not the cheapest,” he said. Tuition ranges from $60 per day to $155 per week, depending on the age of the child and the number of days required. However, Hufford also believes that CCYC’s flexibility makes it preferable to other less-expensive options. The Huffords were able to choose the days that their son would attend CCYC, and their tuition rates were adjusted accordingly, while in many childcare programs, parents are required to pay for a full week even if their child only attends part-time.
Couch is aware of the difficulties of students in particular affording the tuition fees, and says that CCYC does what they can to help. They have a “sliding fee scale” of tuition cost for qualifying parents, which means that a percentage of CCYC’s budget is set aside each year to provide a subsidy—there is no direct funding. Couch said that this fund is a priority that is worked into each year’s budget.
While CCYC’s status as a non-profit organization does not allow for direct discounts, Goshen College students and faculty along with members of College Mennonite Church have enrollment priority to ensure that CCYC is serving the Goshen community, said Couch. There is also a 10 percent tuition discount for a second child enrolled at CCYC.
This emphasis on community is what the many people love about CCYC, and now the community is starting to come full-circle. Andrew Snyder, currently a junior at Goshen College, is a CCYC graduate. “I have nothing but fond memories of CCYC,” he said. “My best memories are of recess and playing on the wooden boat that still exists today.”