OCCC offers affordable child care

March 9, 2012 Latest Print Print

Chris James/Pioneer
Anthony and Keith, both age 4, are examining rocks in Julie Wray’s class on Feb. 3. Wray teaches one of the OCCC Child Development Center’s student scheduled classes.

For students with children, it’s a big deal, yet many don’t know it exists. OCCC offers first-class, low-cost child care to students, the only college in Oklahoma to do so.

Their number one goal is to help parents obtain education, said Dr. Barb Carter, assistant director of the Child Development Center and Lab School.

This child care program is different from most because it is designed to be flexible and affordable by breaking the day into five sessions: from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and from 7:30 p.m. to close.

Students only have to pay for the time their child is there and not for the whole day like most child care programs, Carter said. The low cost is only $7.50 per session with a $15 enrollment fee. The program does accept DHS assistance.

These sessions are available for children as young as six weeks up to 8 years. It makes it easier for parents to attend OCCC during the day or evening and even during the summer.

The Student Scheduled Child Care program is housed in the same building as the Child Development Center and Lab School, at 6500 S. Land Ave., about one mile north of campus.

However, they are different programs, Carter said.

The Child Development Center and Lab School is a full-day program and parents do not have to be OCCC students to enroll their child.

Student Scheduled Child Care program is only available to enrolled OCCC students.

The Student Scheduled Child Care Program has had great success since it opened, Carter said.

“In 2008 we had one student enrolled in the summer,” she said. “Last semester, which was the fall of 2011, we had 94 students enrolled.”

On Feb. 3, a classroom was filled with six children ranging in age from 1 to 4. The children seemed to be actively learning while also enjoying themselves.

The children choose the topics and focus on only that subject for a fair amount of time, Carter said. It helps them understand the concept more. On this day, the children were learning about different types of light.

They had glow sticks, transparent lights, different lighting in different parts of the classroom, and a glow-in-the-dark play table.

Three-year-old Joshua Musick has been enrolled in the Student Scheduled Child Care program since the summer of 2009.

“He loves it,” said Emily Musick, Joshua’s mother. “He has learned how to write and spell his first name, and now the teachers are teaching him how to write his last name.”

She said enrollment was easy.

“This program has been a tremendous help because I don’t have to worry about missing my night classes anymore,” Musick said.

College students have the opportunity to pursue their education goals without child care being a barrier, Carter said.

There are not any openings at this time but students who apply will be placed on a waiting list and will receive the next available opening.

For more information, contact Carter at 405-682-1611, ext. 7450, or bjcarter@occc.edu.

To contact Natalia Smith-Roberson, email onlineeditor@occc.edu.

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