SUNY Canton teaches child care. It may soon provide it, too

Amy FeiereiselSUNY Canton teaches child care. It may soon provide it, too

A child care center at SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton teaches child care.  It may soon provide it, too

SUNY Canton student with a toddler inside the SUNY Canton Early Childhood Development Undergraduate Center. Photo courtesy of SUNY Canton.

SUNY Canton’s Early Childhood Development students could soon be learning about running a child care center by actually working in one on campus.

That’s because SUNY Canton’s administration recently announced their intention to open a child care center on campus, to serve between 50 and 70 children.

That would be a big increase for Canton and the surrounding area. The center would serve the college’s faculty and staff, local families, and SUNY Canton students who have children. Maureen Maiocco, a professor of Early Childhood Development at SUNY Canton, says this has been a dream of many people for many years.

Maureen Maiocco.  Photo: Amy Feiereisel

Maureen Maiocco. Photo: Amy Feiereisel

“The 18 years I’ve worked here, people have asked me about child care on campus,” said Maiocco. “It’s needed in this area.” She said for theirlarge number of non-traditional students, child care is problematic,” and that having onsite care would be a game changer for many.

“Anyone who has a child care center within the working organization knows that productive productivity increases, you lessen the burden and stress for parents trying to locate care, or even getting from point A to point B to drop off their child and then get to work on time and then get the pickup.”

Maiocco has been drafting early plans for a building that would house both a center and early childhood development offices. She imagines the center would also be a child study lab, and offer opportunities for other students to get practical, hands-on experience. “Business students could manage the center, accounting students could do the budgets, child psychology students could work with the children.”

SUNY Canton committed, but a center will take years to actually build

SUNY Canton’s President, Zvi Szafran, says the administration is committed to opening a child care center. A big part of that is because SUNY has made it a “high priority…to have a child care facility on every SUNY campus.”

“It will be great for our students. It’ll be wonderful for the community, because childcare facilities are so needed in this area. And so I think it’s a win for everyone.”

Only 18 of SUNY’s 64 campuses don’t have onsite child care, and SUNY Canton is one of them. In 2021, SUNY started taking grant proposals from campuses to build centers. SUNY Canton submitted a grant proposal in the summer of 2022, and expects to hear back sometime this fall.

That grant money will be important, because building a center of the scope SUNY Canton has been dreaming about will be expensive; Szafran says they’re looking for about 8 million dollars as a budget.

Lots of new child care on a quicker timeline

SUNY Canton students inside the SUNY Canton Early Childhood Development Undergraduate Center.  Photo courtesy of SUNY Canton.

SUNY Canton students inside the SUNY Canton Early Childhood Development Undergraduate Center. Photo courtesy of SUNY Canton.

Grant or no, a center opening is at least a few years away. But the college is also engaged in a more immediate push to open a bunch of new, home-based daycares. SUNY Canton is partnering with The St. Lawrence County Childcare Council on a provider training program, says Maureen Maiocco, to “help with [local] access to high quality child care for families and children.”

Basically, they’re training local people who are interested in opening daycares in their homes.

It’s modeled after a recent program in Jefferson and Lewis counties, and they got the funding, $200,000, from the St. Lawrence County Legislature.

“So for three years, we’ll have a cohort that starts every fall and we’re really trying to build a collaborative cohort so mentorship support from day one,” said Maiocco.

They have 19 participants in their first cohort, which started in August. They were expecting 10 to 15 participants, so 19 is exciting. If all the participants are licensed, that could mean somewhere around 160 to 200 new child care slots in towns all across St. Lawrence County in the next year.

The two projects together would mean about a 15% increase in child care capacity for St. Lawrence County.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker