Children are all around campus, and whether you have found yourself walking amongst them in a single-file line or have seen them playing tag on the playground next to the Dreyfus University Center, you may have wondered why they are here. These children belong to the recently top-rated child care service, the Helen R. Godfrey University Child Learning and Care Center (HRG-UCLCC) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The UCLCC, located in the lower level of Delzell Hall, is one of the six programs, among the 374 rated, that has recently received a five-star rating from the YoungStar program of Wisconsin. The program was created through the Department of Children and Families to improve the quality of child care for Wisconsin children.
“The five star rating is a great testament to the commitment the center has on children receiving a quality early education. Birth to age 5 is the largest time frame in a person’s life in terms of development and we strive to give these children the best start we can,” said Beck Helf, the director of the UCLCC.
Along with the rating, the UCLCC has also recently received national re-accreditation by the National Academy of Early Childhood programs, which is a division of the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Washington, DC. The UCLCC is currently
the only center in the area that is accredited by the NAEYC.
The NAEYC is an organization that focuses on educational and developmental services for all young children. The organization serves and acts on behalf of the children’s needs and well-being along with promoting high-quality education.
“The UCLCC stands out from other centers in the sense of family and the warm feeling you get when visiting the center, along with many other things,” Helf said.
Kally Samuelson, a senior Early Childhood Education major has been a teacher's aide at UCLCC for three years.
“I am very happy that UCLCC has been re-accredited. We work hard to meet and hopefully exceed the standards that the NAEYC sets,” Samuelson said.
The UCLCC provides child care for pre-school age children. The child care center allows the children to play, learn, and grow emotionally, socially, physically, and cognitively. The enrolled children are members of the Stevens Point community, as well as the children of the UWSP faculty, students, and alumni.
Hayley Wiesman, a UWSP sophomore, began working in the UCLCC this year to gain work experience with children as she aspires to pursue a career in social work.
“I think it's cool that the University has the center for students with children so that they can still get a college education even though they have young kids,” Wiesman said.
The lead staff at the UCLCC consists of all degreed teachers which skills and knowledge in child development, but many UWSP students come in to volunteer, do observations for classes, and work.
“Working here provides a great opportunity for me to work with children. It is wonderful that we can learn and grow alongside each other,” Samuelson said. “Just spending time with them can brighten up my day.”
“It's always fun talking with the kids and watching them work things out by themselves and seeing them grow, but the most rewarding part is just being able to see the kids so many times a week, and making a connection with them,” Weisman said. “Just knowing that the kids like having me there and see me as someone they can go to is very rewarding.”