Family Development Center educates children with hands-on approach

Oct. 12, 2015

DeKeveion Glaspie
dglaspie@uccs.edu

On a small hill across Austin Bluffs Parkway sits the Family Development Center, a building that may be convenient for students with children.

Before the FDC students see today, the child care center on campus was in two trailers. Ida Bauer, director of the FDC, has been there for almost 19 years.

“(The trailers) were very old and falling apart. It only housed 30 children so as the campus was growing, the trailers were outgrowing.”

The new FDC was created in August of 1997 and was passed by students, Bauer said.

The FDC is at a 65 percent student use, with about 100 children. To accommodate the children, the center hires 70 to 80 student employees.

Dusti Mier, senior communication major, started at the center in July 2011 as a receptionist and in the classrooms. Today, she is an administrative assistant.

“My favorite part of the center is that we all see ourselves as a family, the way we interact with each other and the children. We at times speak of this place as our school family,” Mier said.

Bauer said students who are hired decide to apply for numerous reasons, from working with children to their education career path, or simply because they need a job.

In Colorado Springs, many child care options are available to choose from, but the FDC is different, according to Bauer.

“We take children ages one to five during the school year and then we have a summer camp for school-agers, but all of our children participate with learning while they are here.”

She added that for one year olds they practice self-help skills and literacy activities to develop their language skills.

Bauer said the center’s education is primarily hands-on, without flashcards or worksheets. Additionally, the center teaches a social emotional intelligence program, Conscious Discipline, which teaches problem solving skills.

“Rather than punish the children for what they do in the classroom that is inappropriate we see those as teaching opportunities,” Bauer said.

With the UCCS campus, departments and student population growing, it is likely the FDC will grow in the number of children it educates.

“I do know that we are on (the radar) for an expansion project. I believe they have some difficulty trying to find a suitable location but I know from what I hear that will be prioritized,” Bauer said.

Mier said she hopes to see the center expand in the future.

“Space is always helpful and useful so I think expansion is something I would like to see. Also, maybe more of an emphasis on our program and an understanding of our program on campus.”

“I think a good way to do that is more interaction with the campus so people know that we are here,” Mier said.
Students that wish to learn more about the Family Development Center can visit www.uccs.edu/~fdc/.