The PVCC Budget Development Steering Committee has made its decision to cut the $200,000 a year cost of running the Childhood Development Center from the college’s budget and to transition the facility to a Head Start-run and funded program.
Under the direction of Rosemary Hooper for the past five years, the center had become a prize winning model for early childhood care, influencing preschools in the community, including the one at my own church. Sadly, Hooper’s passion for children, the performance and influence of the center were not enough to offset the business decision to make the cut.
The good news?
College leaders took the time to seek an alternative to simply closing the doors. Now, parents are hoping that the quality delivery of care and the center’s mission will also be preserved.
Under Hooper, the program had created an environment aimed at engaging children, their parents and early childhood education students in learning. Early in her tenure, Hooper removed televisions and computers from the center, increasing opportunities for children to interact with each other and the physical world. She created 10 separate learning stations, integrating science, reading, writing and social problem solving.
The emphasis on learning is also integral to the Head Start mission, which defines its objectives as promoting school readiness through education, health, nutrition and social services.
Hooper’s passion for education and her direction of the Child Development Center has provided a rich legacy for the new management to build on. The center has fostered much goodwill in the PVCC community and beyond. If Head Start is wise and the program adequately flexible, new management will let the PVCC legacy inform the center’s future practices.