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PCC staff tour Clark College’s Early Childhood Education Program and Facilities
Photos and Story by Gina Whitehill-Baziuk
Portland Community College will use a portion of the bond approved by voters in 2008 to improve and expand its Early Education and Family Studies Program on four of its campuses: Cascade, Rock Creek, Southeast Center and Sylvania. As a result, more PCC students can enroll in the program and take advantage of the on-campus childcare, which will be available to parents who take classes, teach or work at PCC. The toddler and preschool classrooms will in turn serve as classroom labs for PCC students working on their degrees or certificates in Early Childhood Studies.
To plan for these new and expanded programs and spaces, 28 PCC faculty and staff from PCC campuses and the Bond Program toured Clark College’s Early Childhood Education and Child and Family Services program in Vancouver, Washington, on Wednesday, August 31, 2011. Laurie Cornelius, the ECE and CFS Director, discussed how Clark College’s program has evolved since its establishment after WWII as a parent education center. The tour highlighted the ECE Program’s approach in designing creative and natural learning environments –indoor and outdoor. Currently the College has more than 115 students enrolled in the ECE program and 225 in its Child and Family Services program. For these students and families, the on-campus childcare and family center are working labs for instruction, observation and practicums.
The highlight of the morning was touring the College’s new ECE/CFS Center – the first of two phases. Building on its successful academic program and community support, Cornelius guided the PCC group through the new building with two preschool classrooms, a multi-purpose room, a resource center and fully-equipped kitchen.
“We did a lot of community visioning with our partners – Workforce Services, Headstart, facilities, faculty and instructional folks, to design our new facilities so they supported a learning environment for our children, students and families, as well as administrative space for our program staff and faculty,” Cornelius said.