Viking Child Care Center: qualified, affordable, convenient

Setodzi Avoke
Junior Copy Editor

IMG_7085Photo By Isaac Kautz| The Hudsonian

Through the Viking Child Care Center, Hudson Valley offers parents on and off campus high quality childcare at affordable rates.

Fully licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old can be cared for from 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Viking Child Care Center’s services are offered to four communities on a first come first served basis, namely students, faculty, staff and external community members requesting full-time care.

Students enjoy a tuition rate based on a sliding scale that factors in a family’s gross income. This price may be further adjusted by grants and scholarships for qualifying students.

Faculty Student Association executive director Ann Carrozza’s office oversees the care facility at the budgetary and administrational levels. Carrozza also writes and submits the paperwork for each grant or scholarship that the Viking Child Care Center can make available to students.

“We get grants from SUNY, from the Perkins Grant [and] last year I wrote a grant from the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation,” said Carrozza.

The qualifications of the Viking Child Care Center’s staff are backed by the aforementioned New York State Office of Children and Family Services and National Association for the Education of Young Children.

“To maintain our accreditation we have to have a percentage of our teachers equipped with bachelor’s degrees and to be a teacher, it’s required you have an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.”

Staff with degrees below an associate’s are considered teacher assistants, however, some have achieved a Child Development Associate certificate.

The facility director must have a master’s degree in education.

The Viking Child Care Center’s 10 classrooms are divided by age group with each room suited to stimulating and caring a particular age and a state mandated teacher to child ratio dependent, again, on age.

For infants, it’s 4-to-1 with a maximum group size of 8. For toddlers, the maximum group size is 12 with 5-to-1 regarding children to teachers. The ratios and maximum groupings for preschoolers change based on the average age of a given class.

Of the 10 available rooms, infants have two rooms dedicated to their care while toddlers and preschool age children each have four.

“The curriculum is based on the age of the child. In the infant room we do things that stimulate the child as it’s growing and developing. In the toddler’s [room], in order to stimulate gross and fine motor skills, we have water tables where children might play with letter sponges which, by the same token, [develop their familiarity with letters] and education,” said Carrozza.

Carrozza affirms that despite the doubts of some, beginning the education of a child at their toddler stage is important.

Toddler classrooms are also heavily labeled and teachers can point at things around the room, guiding toddlers through spelling, pronunciation and identification.

In case of cold or rainy days, an indoor “gross motor room” allows teachers to take toddlers through gymnastic routines like tumbling.

A child within the preschool portion of the curriculum will have more educational aims with writing, number and letter skills being developed over the course of their stay.

Two playgrounds for toddlers and one for preschoolers round out the curriculum with a breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack included in the tuition fee.

The campus and larger community’s response to the program pleases Carrozza, but there are still openings in the preschool program available.

“The center is well received and I know it’s valued highly by our students and community members. They recognize the quality of care as well as the dedication that our teachers bring to the children everyday,” said Carrozza.

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