Some corrections of last month’s article published in the Coast Report entitled “Home to OCC’s Youngest” written by the Views Editor, Justis Zimmerman.
The Harry & Grace Steele Children’s Center was founded in 1969, when Vietnam Vets were returning to community colleges on the GI Bill. In response, the Associated Students initially funded the Children’s Center. In the early 2000’s this mission of serving student parents came to include faculty and staff, and then community families.
The Center is licensed for 168 children. By design, the outdoor yards are large enough be licensed for 500 children. The outside environment includes gardens and animals in each yard. Children learn to care for and respect all living things by directly interacting with the plants and animals. Our philosophy encourages active contact with the natural environment towards developing a young child’s trust and understanding of the world. The center is home to two Nigerian baby goats that the preschool age children feed and take care of. The four preschool classrooms also take turns caring for their hand-raised chickens, collecting eggs each day to take home.
Because the Center operates under Title 5, CA Dept. of Education, the 11 full time lead staff members hold Teacher permits from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. A large number of support staff is needed to be in compliance with licensing child-to-teacher ratios. Applications for support staff, accepted on a continuing basis, include a DOJ background check, current negative TB test and clearance from the Dean of Students.
—Denise Devereaux, Child Care Center Supervisor