New infant/toddler center open at USD

New infant/toddler center open at USD For the first time ever, an infant/toddler center will be available for students and staff at The University of South Dakota, beginning Monday, Feb. 14.

This center is designed for children aged six weeks to two years and has been made possible as a result of funding through the U.S. Department of Education "Child Care Means Parents in School" program, a CAMPUS grant, Vermillion United Way and the Vermillion Civic Council.

Licensed by the state of South Dakota, this satellite program will be located in Married Student Housing on the USD campus.

According to Merle Eintracht, coordinator for childcare programs on the USD campus, this program will complement the existing childcare program.

"This new program allows us to increase access to childcare for students who are parents," said Eintracht.

Now, USD can accommodate children from six weeks to 12 years. This infant/toddler center adds to the childcare programs which include a full fledged pre-school, and after school program, over and above providing childcare from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

According to Eintracht, the infant/toddler center will include a specific curriculum for infants and toddlers. She added that this curriculum would focus on developing routines and encouraging active participation.

Activities are important as the focus of learning as children grow, expand their interests and gain great ability to interact with their environment, she said. The new center will focus on exploratory experiences in regard to senses, including touching, tasting, listening, smelling and looking.

"USD has always had pre-school childcare on campus; however, we have previously been unable to accommodate those who are parents of infants and toddlers," Eintracht said. "The whole purpose of this new program is to help students who are parents to get through school."

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