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SU's Early Education and Child Care Center to join College of Human Ecology

March 09, 2010

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Building on more than 30 years of providing high-quality educational child care at Syracuse University, the Early Education and Child Care Center (EECCC) will join SU’s College of Human Ecology on July 1. Pairing the center’s established teaching and learning successes with the academic and applied expertise in the college’s Department of Child and Family Studies and its Jack Reilly Institute for Early Childhood and Provider Education will facilitate enhanced collaborations throughout the SU campus and the Syracuse community.

“I am incredibly proud of the Early Education and Child Care Center’s decades of outstanding care and service to the children of our students and colleagues,” says Thomas V. Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “Its unwavering commitment to the growth and development of children has supported our mission of making sure the SU experience is one that benefits everyone in the Syracuse family. I believe this transition is a positive next step for the center, as it will result in opportunities for further growth.”

The EECCC has a long tradition of providing an innovative, highly regarded, developmentally appropriate program for University families and the children it serves. The center, through the leadership of its longtime director, Joan S. Supiro, and its experienced staff, has an impressive list of partnerships with students and faculty across SU academic departments and colleges, including the film, interior design, ceramics, industrial and interaction design, art, nutrition and education departments. It also has collaborations with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the Syracuse City School District, the New York State Department of Health, the Everson Museum of Art, Stone Quarry Art Park and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park.

In addition, the center has received funding for long-term arts education curriculum projects from the New York State Council on the Arts, Partners for Arts Education and the New York Foundation for the Arts, University Vision Grants and the Syracuse City School District.

It enjoys resident artist collaborations with international, national and locally recognized artists whose specialties include various visual arts, music, and fabrication with live willow. The center’s innovative work in the area of sustainability and creating green spaces is nationally recognized.

The center will continue to play a critical role in ongoing campus and community collaborations between the College of Human Ecology and SU’s School of Education via the two schools’ joint inclusive early childhood education program and other academic initiatives. The center and the college have many longstanding strategic partners in common, including numerous SU departments and programs, as well as the Jowonio School and Child Care Solutions Inc. in the Syracuse community. One collaboration already under way between the center and the college’s Department of Nutrition Science and Dietetics includes nutrition students, faculty and staff working to implement the “Early Sprouts” nutrition program with toddlers.

The College of Human Ecology has a rich scholarly tradition in childhood development and early childhood education, including roots in Head Start. Bettye Caldwell, professor emerita in the Department of Child and Family Studies, was an early architect of this program, developing it at the Children’s Center in Syracuse as one of the first national models of preschool enrichment programs. The Jack Reilly Institute provides an infant-focused early child development curriculum that includes a vital safety component. The institute was established through the generous support of SU alumnus John D. Reilly III ’69, G’70 and his wife, Patricia M. Reilly, in honor of their 13-month-old son, Jack, who died in a tragic fire at a licensed day care facility in California in 1989. The Annual Quality Infant/Toddler Caregiving Workshop, has been led for the past three decades by Alice Honig, professor emerita of child development. And the Department of Child and Family Studies host another model program–the Bernice M. Wright (BMW) Laboratory School.

Plans for the transition are under way and will be fully articulated during the rest of the Spring 2010 semester, with a formal transition effective July 1. Wolfe and College of Human Ecology Dean Diane Lyden Murphy led an informational meeting March 3 for parents, guardians, family and friends of the EECCC to discuss the background and next steps of the transition, and the valuable roles the teachers play in providing the highest-quality care for children in the program. As a result of discussions at the meeting, a working group will be created to ensure a smooth and thorough transition while continuing the high-quality educational experience provided for the children at the center. The group will include center staff, parents, graduate students and faculty.

“We welcome the Early Education and Child Care Center to the College of Human Ecology and anticipate a very rewarding and fruitful collaboration,” says Murphy. “Many of the faculty and staff in our college have had children under the care of the Early Education and Child Care Center, and we know from personal experiences what a valuable addition the center and its committed staff will be to this college.”

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