Two new toddler classrooms will expand affordable childcare for low-income students at Peninsula College, thanks to a $160,585 U.S. Department of Education Child Care Access Means Parents In School (C-CAMPIS) grant. This program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based child care services.
The ability to open the two classrooms will fill a critical gap in services for Peninsula College students with toddler age children, enabling childcare services for an additional 20 children, ages one to three, per school year. Fourteen of those spots will be reserved for children of PC students. For many students, particularly low-income students for whom travel to campus is a barrier to academic success, these on-campus childcare services can make the difference between those who complete a certificate or degree and those who don’t.
“Access to affordable childcare is an ongoing issue in our region for our students,” PC President Dr. Luke Robins said. “This grant will allow us to expand our child care offerings and remove a key barrier between students and success.”
Over 20 percent of PC students have children, and over 30 percent also work while attending classes. Washington is the sixth most expensive state in the U.S. for care of an infant in a childcare center. The yearly cost for an infant in a childcare center is more than 50 percent of the state median income for single mothers, and childcare is often a family’s second biggest expense after housing. Young families spend more annually on childcare than the average annual cost of state college tuition.
Peninsula College currently operates two preschool classrooms on the main campus that serve 34 students. At the time of the grant proposal submission, there were eight toddlers on the waiting list for the new toddler care classrooms, and the center director receives at least two calls per month from students seeking toddler care. In fact, full waitlists for both toddler classrooms were established when the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) re-opened in the new Allied Health/ECDC building in Fall 2017. The college at the time lacked funding to open the toddler rooms.
All existing and expanded childcare services would be housed in the college’s state-of-the-art Allied Health/ECDC Services Building. The 41,650 square foot, $25 million facility opened in May 2017 and centralizes all of the early childhood development programs on campus. The ECDC portion of the facility includes two 920 square foot preschool classrooms, and two 670 square foot infant/toddler classrooms in addition to an adjoining 6,000 square foot play yard. The cutting edge childcare facility features a fully secure entryway, storage for car seats and strollers, shared simple food prep area, partially heated floors, and a full-sized gourmet kitchen down the hallway for full meal preparation. The center also offers a direct exit to the outdoor play space that includes a covered area, tricycle path, musical instrument installations, outdoor bathroom, natural vegetation, play equipment, and protective play surfaces.
In the spring of 2019, PC’s Early Childhood Development Center received a Level 4 rating (out of five), recognizing achievement in a quality level of excellence, from the Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). QRIS is a voluntary program, intended to support quality improvements at all levels in Washington’s child care system.
The total cost of the Peninsula College C-CAMPIS Project is $205,006, with the US Department of Education funding 79% of total costs ($160,585), and Peninsula College contributing the remaining 21% ($44,421) of project costs through in-kind contributions.
For more information contact Christina Heistand at firstname.lastname@example.org.