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Through A Child's Eyes

Tucked away on the Trent University campus is a special place that overflows with the energy and wonder of young children. At any given moment you might find children listening enthralled to a story, engaged in finger painting or water play, and laughing and playing in an indoor action room filled with natural sunlight.

Placing quality care and a nurturing environment at the top of its priority list, the Trent Child Care Centre (TCCC) models early childhood education at its best.

Located on Trent’s main Symons campus, just across from the Athletics Complex, the TCCC is housed in an award-winning building designed by Teeple Architects, one of the firms involved in the design of the new Science Facility being constructed on Trent’s east bank. The centre moved into this new home in 1993 from its smaller space on King Street, where it had operated since 1974.

"Going from the small centre to the big one was exciting. We were able to add infant care and went from six staff to 13. Now we’ve grown to 18 staff and are able to accommodate children with special needs," explains TCCC administrator Sandra Robinson.

Fifty-two children are enrolled at the centre, ranging from infants to five- and six-year-olds. The children are divided into four developmental groups: infants, toddlers, junior pre-schoolers and senior pre-schoolers, and all play rooms converge into a large open room in the middle of the centre.

The TCCC infant program is unique and is based on a primary caregiver model. Only four child care centres in Peterborough offer infant care, and the team of three infant room staff at Trent - Rose Latchford, Sheila Hunter and Lisa Wacker - have worked together since the new centre opened its doors.

In fact, most TCCC staff have been at the centre for a long time, which speaks to its level of excellence. Some long-term caregivers include Susan Scoffin, Nancy Northrop, Sandra Payne, Karen Troy and Sandra Robinson.

An agreement existing with the University reserves one-third of the centre’s child care spaces for staff and faculty, one-third for students and one-third for community members. This means many members of the Trent community are familiar with the centre and how it works. As well, a volunteer board of directors runs the centre and many people from Trent have served as directors and executive members. Some examples include acting Dean of Arts and Science Christine MacKinnon, chair of Women’s Studies Charmaine Eddy, Professor David Morrison, Professor Alena Heitlinger, Professor Sue Wurtele, Professor Joan Sangster, chair of Biology Carolyn Kapron, Professor Ellen Bentzen, Communications Officer LeeAnne Lavender and Accommodation Co-ordinator for Special Needs Grace Mahoney.

"This place is about children," Ms. Robinson says with a smile. Any parent who has been involved with TCCC will affirm that statement, and will be able to provide numerous examples of how their children’s lives have been enriched and changed through the TCCC experience.

Photo 1: Infant room caregiver Rose Latchford with baby Ethan. (exersaucer shot)

Photo 2: Infant room caregiver Sheila Hunter blows some bubbles for a group of children.

Posted January 24, 2003

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Last updated February 10, 2003