Children's Learning Center
The Robert & Maureen Dunham Children's Learning Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology serves students, faculty, and staff whose children need high-quality, on-campus care and education while their parents work or attend classes. The Children's Learning Center cares for children between the ages of 13 months and 5 years (or until the child is enrolled in kindergarten).
The Center, located in the Lifelong Education Center (LEC), was designed specifically for young children, with child-size bathrooms, observation windows, and floor-to-ceiling windows. There is a fenced-in outdoor play area just outside. Visitors are welcome; contact the Director to arrange a time to visit.
Enrollment & Application
Penn College students, staff, and faculty have priority in enrolling children. Vacancies remaining open after the designated cut-off date (coinciding with class scheduling for the following semester) will be available to the public. The director will require proof of Penn College affiliation at the time of enrollment.
- Children may be enrolled full-time or part-time. We have various part-time schedules available.
- Children must be enrolled for a fixed weekly schedule of full days.
- We do not offer drop-in or hourly care.
Fees vary according to a child's age and schedule, as well as eligibility for discounts. The College offers discounts to students eligible for a Pell Grant as part of their financial aid and who do not qualify for government subsidies. Low-income employees who are not eligible for state-subsidized childcare may also qualify for a College discount. We accept subsidized payments from county Child Care Information Services (CCIS) offices. Call the director for more information.
The Center offers an educational program for children using the Creative Curriculum®, a research-based curriculum that follows the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children for developmentally appropriate early childhood education and incorporates the Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood. Children’s learning is assessed three times each year, and these assessments are shared at family conferences.
Each class has two full-time degreed teachers who are employees of Penn College. A part-time ‘floating’ teacher works in all rooms to provide coverage for staff meetings and special activities. Faculty and students from the College's Early Childhood program, as well as from other academic areas, are involved in the planning and operation of the Center.
Children are separated into classes arranged by age:
- Bees: enrolling children who are “13 months and walking” to age 2;
- Bunnies: 2- and 3-year-olds
- Bears: 3- and 4-year-olds (should be toilet trained)
- Birds: 4- and 5-year-olds (should be toilet trained)
- Butterflies: 3- to 5-year-olds (preschool)
The director is happy to refer any College student or employee to a local referral agency for assistance in finding and paying for care that we are unable to provide (e.g., for children not within these age ranges, or if you need evening or weekend care).
Parents of children with special needs are encouraged to contact the director for a discussion of individual needs. We attempt to serve all children and have enrolled many with special needs. However, we do not have our own therapists or special education teachers on staff. These services must be arranged with outside providers.
Mission, Goals & Philosophy
The mission of the Children’s Learning Center at Penn College is to provide early care and education services that facilitate students’ access to the College experience and serve employees.
- To function as a model early care and education program, one that meets or exceeds licensing and accreditation standards to demonstrate the highest standards of care and early childhood education;
- To provide exemplary early care and education, following developmentally appropriate practices, for young children and their families;
- To extend the educational experiences of students enrolled in Penn College majors by providing a demonstration and observation site.
At the Children’s Learning Center, our first priority is establishing a safe, nurturing, and responsive environment where children’s physical needs are met and they feel psychologically secure. We believe that high quality early care and education fosters the physical, social, emotional, language, and cognitive development of young children. Reciprocal relationships with each child’s family are an essential element of quality. We value and celebrate each family’s unique composition and their cultural, ethnic, and linguistic background. Positive relationships among all children and adults promote each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging to a community.
We believe children are active learners who construct an understanding of the world around them through play and exploration of their environment. Teachers support and enhance children’s learning by providing the time, materials, and relationships children need. Children learn at varying rates and in different ways. They also have different methods of representing what they know.
We believe adults are also active learners. We are committed to supporting the education of Pennsylvania College of Technology students who are learning about children and families. This is best accomplished by providing them with opportunities to work directly with children and families, under the guidance of professional educators who serve as role models and mentors, in an exemplary early care education setting. We believe that children’s development and learning are enhanced by their experiences with the Penn College community.
Approved February 18, 2014
Middles States Steering Committee