Clark College has steadily grown over the years and has built a reputation for excellence in many circles. Their Child and Family Studies Program (CFS) is no exception. Founded decades ago with roots that date back to the kindergartens that sprang up around the Kaiser shipyards in World War II, the program operates with a three-fold mission. One: offer affordable, top-quality child care for Clark College students and staff, as well as the Clark County community. Two: offer support and education for parents. And three: provide a learning lab for students enrolled in the Early Childhood program at Clark. Depending on the quarter, the program employs between 60 and 70 staff members and the adult to child ratio is generally 1 to 7 in the preschool group and 1 to 4 in the toddler age group.
The program operates out of the Early Learning Complex on the Clark College campus; and in 2011, the beautiful Oliva Family Early Learning Center was opened, which has served as a model for what early learning facilities can be. The Oliva Family was so impacted by the support that they got through the CFS program, they chose to generously invest in it, making the Oliva Center a reality. Hannah Erickson, Communications Specialist at Clark College shares, “Jan and Steve Oliva sent their daughter, Lisa, to CFS when she was young; Lisa, in turn, sent her own daughter to CFS. Their first-hand experience with the program is part of what prompted them to donate to it.” The Early Learning Complex is now in its second phase of planning and funding. In the near future, they plan to replace the remaining buildings with new pods that contain several new classrooms, an atelier art studio, faculty offices, and an observation deck.
Photo courtesy Clark College.