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Toddlers Center Opens

The Center for Infants and Parents now has a companion program that serves toddlers. The new Center for Toddlers and Parents is for children from 2½ to 4 years of age and is open to families affiliated with Columbia University.

Leslie R. Williams, Professor of Education, said the Center could provide daycare for toddlers from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Center is a wonderful research and service opportunity for the College, said Williams, who is the faculty director of the program. Several of the charter members of the Center are children who participated in the daycare program at the Center for Infants and Parents.

Williams is excited about what faculty members and students will learn by spending the additional time with the children. "Very little is known about the continuity of experience on children," she said. "We're going to feed the information we gather back into the program."

The new Center has an observation room where students, faculty and parents can quietly watch the children interact and play, she said.

Williams has asked the Financial Priorities Committee to recommend allocating funds to support the Center. "That would allow us to institutionalize the program," she said.

"Right now, we're dealing with soft money," she said. For example, two of the Spencer Grant recipients will be working with faculty doing research on early childhood development. Most of the operating costs are being covered by fees, which limits participation based on a family's ability to pay, said Susan L. Recchia, Assistant Professor of Education.

Endowment support would make it possible to offer scholarships to families that can't afford to pay the full cost, according to Recchia, who is the faculty director of the infant center. The College might also be able to offer honorariums to students to work at the Center, she said.

The head teacher at the toddler center is Jon Pinkos, who comes to TC from the daycare program at Boston College. Said Williams: "We put together our expertise for the best possible experience for children and families."

The Center still has slots available. Contact the Center for more information about availability and fees at x3183.

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