One current infant center at Fresno State is being expanded to make room for more children in an attempt to meet the growing needs of students and staff.
The Joyce M. Huggins Early Education Center and the Campus Children’s Center provide early education and child development services for Fresno State students and staff. Enrollment for the infant center starts as early as 3 months old to 18 months old, at which point they would graduate to the toddler center.
The Early Education Center is funded and mandated by the California Department of Education (CDE). Fees for enrollment are based on the number of days the child will be attending class as well as a sliding scale based on family and income size with the parents who have the greatest financial need being served first. However, most students do qualify for free or reduced rates.
Fresno State’s Program for Children has three sites on campus: the Campus Children and Infant Center, a preschool classroom and the Huggins Center, which is the center that is being expanded. The center offers quality education with a five out of five star rating from the Early Stars Quality Rating System, meaning it has the highest quality rated teachers. The master teacher is required to have four years of experience in a licensed facility with infant or toddler units.
President Joseph I. Castro has approved the funding to start construction and renovation for expanding the infant center. Currently, there are two infant classrooms with a three-child-to-one-adult ratio, but the demand greatly outweighs the current capacity. The goal is to have the new infant center open and ready for enrollment by fall 2019, but there is no date set in stone yet, says Brittney Randolph, program director of Programs for Children.
Randolph said that the purpose of the renovation is to expand availability for faculty and staff, although it has yet to be decided if the new center will be exclusive to staff and faculty or if students will be able to enroll their children into the center as well.
The Huggins Center is educational as it is a lab school, with student teachers who are training for childcare and teacher careers engaging with observation rooms that are available for those who do not have clearance to have direct contact with the children.
Before and after-school care is also offered (during the summer months only) ranging from ages 5-12 years old.
Correction: This article has been edited to correct the child to adult ratio in the infant classrooms. A previous version of this article also stated a master’s degree was needed for students working in the infant classroom. That has been corrected. In an earlier version, Joyce M. Huggins was misspelled.