The Kaua‘i Community College held a blessing by Kahu Nani Hill on Feb. 25 to commemorate the reopening of the Child Development Center.
Closed for renovations since Spring 2013, the facility has a new coat of paint, new windows that circulate fresh trade wind breezes throughout the classroom, and colorful new tables and chairs for preschoolers. The children are immersed in a wide range of engaging skills building learning activities.
“So far, no one has cried since we opened,” commented Gina Medrano, newly hired lead teacher and coordinator. “They only cry when it is time to go home.”
Hawai‘i’s U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono and U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard sent signed proclamations honoring the event.
Okinawa Christian University and Junior College students, who are majoring in early childhood education and visiting Kaua‘i Community College, were invited to participate in the festivities with faculty, staff, students, and members of the Kaua’i community at the event.
The center is open to 20 children — 2 years and 8 months to 5 years of age. Full-time college faculty, staff, and students have first enrollment priorities. Part-time faculty, staff, and students have second enrollment priority. Children from community families will be invited to enroll if space is available.
The Child Development Center is designed to serve as a model preschool environment where college students gain quality hands-on experience connecting early childhood development theory with skills learned in class to the real world of a preschool program. It is an integral part of the Early Childhood Education academic program, which prepares students for careers as teachers and other professions working with young children and families.
“There is a welcoming feeling here that nurtures a sense of belonging, being, and becoming for children, students, and families,” said Dana Shelit, Early Childhood Education program coordinator. “The environment is thoughtfully designed to support young children’s unique ways of learning, interests, and imagination. The play-based focus is designed to encourage and inspire a sense of wonder and foster a love for learning.”
So far, six students are enrolled for Spring 2015 as of the day of the blessing. “We wanted to open as soon as we could to fulfill the learning needs of the Early Childhood Education Program students,” KCC Chancellor Helen Cox said. “I am fully confident that our enrollment of preschool children will be quickly met by Fall 2015, thanks to the dedication of our team of faculty and staff who have remarkably transformed this facility into an exciting place of learning for all.”