The Lane Child and Family Center began the year by earning the top five-star rating in Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Among many other qualifications, the QRIS guidelines require employees to be skilled in the childcare profession and be regularly observed in adult-child interactions to ensure that the best practices are being put into action.
The center is inspired by The Reggio Emilia Approach, which originated after World War II in villages of the same names in Italy. It focuses on preschool and primary education. Developed by teacher Loris Malaguzzi, the approach teaches children how to be useful in everyday life through a self-guided curriculum based on respect, responsibility and community.
The center promotes valuing the interests of each individual child, which helps create a healthier, more positive and better future. Children are given the opportunity to learn, discover, explore and develop on both emotional and intellectual levels using a wide variety of materials in a safe environment.
As part of this curriculum, each child is assessed and observed in order to find what interests him or her and to offer a more personal and meaningful experience. The creativity and curiosity of each child is encouraged.
Center management coordinator Sue Norton said that everyone at the center is involved. “The children are seen as the researcher,” she said. The adults are there to provide them with tools and answers. Staff comes up with activities that incorporate the children’s interests to further educate them in the topic studied by exploring with a hands-on curriculum.
Keeping the children engaged and learning in a manner that is appropriate to their development is part of the general approach of the center. The program allows for parents to be involved, teaching them about their child’s needs, wants and development through a safe and responsible program.
Accommodations are given to the children depending on their needs. “Not every child develops at the same age or rate so we build activities for the individual child,” Norton said.
The center hosted a “Little Free Library” open house on Thursday, Feb. 5. The library is located in the courtyard near Building 24. The ongoing program is free and is based on the simple concept: ‘Take a Book, Return a Book’. The library focuses on children’s interest and learning.
The center caters primarily to student parents, but also has openings year round for full or part-time care for other children in the local community. Scholarships are available for students to help with childcare costs.
The Child and Family Center is located in Building 24.