Lane students who have preschool-aged children can take advantage of the Lane Child and Family Center, located in the south corner of Main Campus in the Family Village. Several different programs make preschool and childcare free or more affordable for qualified applicants, so parents have more options for continuing their education while making sure their children are in a nationally-accredited program.
The preschool uses a child-centered curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy.
“We really delve into the interests of the child and then teachers build curriculum around that. We offer lots of stimulating provocations in the classroom so that children can really use their environment to really learn and explore and do research,” Sue Norton, Management Coordinator for the Child and Family and Education Department said.
The classrooms are filled with hands-on activities provided to invite hands-on exploration, like baskets of dried plant life, cushioned reading corners, climbing structures, blocks and clay. In addition to the standard playground equipment and bike path, the outdoor section has been landscaped to feature nature exploration with hills, rocks, sandbox, trees and shrubs to play around.
Norton described several programs that Lane students have available to help cover the costs of childcare at the LCFC. The Seed Campus Grant pays 75 percent of child care costs and provides parent education. Students can qualify for the Seed Campus Grant by being Pell Grant eligible, maintaining a 2.0 GPA and being enrolled full time at LCC. Any parents involved with LCFC can participate in co-op, working at the preschool to reduce child care payments and learn about early childhood education.
The LCFC is a lab school for the Early Childhood Education program at Lane, which means many ECE students are doing their practicums at the center. This leads to a lower child-to-parent ratio, which Norton claims is unusual for preschools.
The center is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and provides care for children from two and a half through 5 years old. Options are available for full or part-day, and full or part-week. For children too young or too old for the center, the center offers a resource called Quality Care Connections, which helps connect parents with qualified childcare, and also helps local childcare businesses get licensed.
Head Start is next door, which provides preschool for low-income families. According to Norton, some children go to Head Start for part of the day and the LCFC for the remainder. The LCFC also has parenting educational materials and resource connections for parents.
The LCFC has been providing Lane students with childcare for 50 years. According to their web page, they have a National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation and are rated 5 stars by Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.
For more information on the Lane Child and Family Center and other resources at the Family Village, go to https://www.lanecc.edu/cfe/lcfc or call 541-463-5517.