University provided daycare facilities

Anne Savitt asavitt at ccmail.sunysb.edu
Tue Sep 21 10:10:43 EST 1993


Subject: University provided daycare facilities
From: Nanavati Chaya, chaya at slic.cellbio.duke.edu
Date: 20 Sep 93 18:11:02 GMT

Here at Stony Brook (New York), we have wonderful university-affiliated
day care.  It started out many years ago as a group of parent
cooperatives, one infant center and two early childhood centers.  The fee
scale was sliding and parents were required to work at the centers in
various ways that would fit in with their schedules.  About ten years
ago, the University took over the centers, and of course made them much
more administrative and complex.  However, because of a group of very
caring parents, the parents remained involved and have seats on the Board
of Directors and participate in many of the committees.  The fee scale is
still sliding and, thanks to the work of the Graduate Student
Organization, there is a further subsidy for low income
university-affiliated parents.  The centers have grown so that there are
now two infant centers and two early childhood centers.  One of the
infant centers has special hours to cater to the needs of the nursing
staff and other shift workers.  The care is very progressive, not
regimented, and geared to letting each child express her/his
individuality.  Activities are chosen by the children subject to
available supervision.  The centers are, in fact, nationally accredited. 
Does this sound like heaven?  Let me tell you, for a working parent, it
is.  My daughter (who is now nearing 10 years old) started at the centers
when she was 2 and a half, and continued there until she was six (she
went to half-day kindergarten and then was bused to the day care center
for the rest of the day).  They taught her how to interact socially, how
to express herself, and how to stand up for herself.  They taught me how
to be a better mother and even a better person.  

Yes, we are very lucky to have these centers.  But the point I want to
make is that we only have them because a number of parents worked very
hard to start them and many more parents worked very hard to keep them
going.  I came in after the University took over, but I sat on the board
for three years as the graduate student representative (even after my
daughter went to elementary school) because I considered this to be such
a valuable resource.

Day care is not a right - it is a responsibility of and for working
parents.  If you don!t have good, secure, responsible day care, get
together with a few parents and start a co-op.  You never know what might
happen.

Anne Savitt
Department of Microbiology
SUNY at Stony Brook
email:  asavitt at sunysb.edu



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