child development center opening story

    Mayra Escobedo

    With children singing and a ribbon cutting ceremony the new Pierce College Child Development Center celebrated its grand opening today.
    On hand for the celebration were three former, the current and the newly selected Pierce College President. Also in attendance were children from the child development center and faculty and staff.
    Interim President Dr. Joy McCaslin, welcomed attendees and was followed by speeches from Mona Field, president of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Dr. Tyree Wieder, interim chancellor for the LACCD and Kathleen Reiter-Vasquez, director of the Pierce College Child Development Center.
    The Center, which cost $10.2 million, is more than 13,000 square feet of enclosed space and 5,434 square feet of outdoor covered canopy areas.
    It will be the first permanent building that the Center will be in. It has been in trailers since its start 35 years ago.
    The Center boasts a nature, based yard that is the first of its kind. It has a bike path made of decomposed granite, a lot of trees, swings and a secret garden.
    It is made up of six classrooms that have doors leading to outdoor play areas and observation rooms for child development program students, that have one-way mirrors so they will be able to get more natural observations.
    Opening the center and welcoming guest was McCaslin who spoke about why the center is special to her and the benefits of the center to the campus.
    McCaslin said that the center is special to her because she was vice president at the time it started and because it was the one building that she really wanted to open.
    She said that the center benefited the campus because “students have preschool age children so they can bring their children here which is very beneficial to our student parents.”
    Reiter-Vasquez spoke about the importance of the center for children and teachers.
    She said that the center was important for children because “it allows them to have a quality start on their educational careers and to have new experiences that are phenomenal for them, their learning, creativity and to build on their ideas.”
    Reiter-Vasquez said that the center offers teachers a better opportunity to do their work effectively.
    She also spoke about the decision to have the center be nature based saying that research has found that activities and interactions with nature and natural forms will help children in their learning.
    She said that the yard does not have climbers because they want “children to take milk cartons and boxes and build what they want, how they want and create their own climbing structures.”
    The Center will open its doors to children in the Fall.