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KID FRIENDLY CAMPUS?

Jennifer Helberg, a non-traditional student, had to drop out of school after her sophomore year when she could not find adequate child care.

Helberg, a senior, is married and has a 3-year-old daughter.

Non-traditional students like Helberg have difficulty staying in school because of the lack of options with University-supported child care. These students would like longer hours at the care facilities so they can have more versatility with class schedules. They would like discounted rates to help take the sting out of the cost of child care.

It was during her sophomore year that she started to look for a place to take her daughter. She went straight to the BGSU site and ran a search for pre-schools. Nothing came up. Eventually, she gave up the web search in frustration.

Helberg found The Jordan Family Development Center located at 812 North College Dr. near the campus. It was hard to get into because of their waiting list. She found they had drop-in care available but you pay $20 up front and you have to let them know a week ahead of time. Not much help to her if her babysitter calls off sick.

According to Heather Meyer, Center Supervisor, The Jordan Family Development Center has some of Bowling Green’s Early Childhood Education majors involved with the kids at as part of the HDFS 301 class. The center accepts children 6 weeks to 5 years old for a variety of programs such as Early Head Start, Head Start and various pre-school programs.

Meyer said that The Jordan Family Development Center offers infant care at a cost of $163 a week. They have toddler care at $156 a week and pre-school at $139 a week. A parent could enroll their child part time such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for $124 a week or Tuesday and Thursday for $111 a week. There is an application fee of $30.

The hours at The Jordan Family Development Center are from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday thourgh Friday. Helberg pointed out that the hours are not much help to a student who may have evening classes.

On the BG campus is the Child Development Center, located at the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Cindy Baum, one of two master teachers at the center, said that the school accepts children between 3 and 5 years old. The center offers 2 half day programs Monday thru Friday. The morning program is from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The afternoon program is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Early childhood majors take part in the center to gain experience.

“We want the children to have an excellent pre-school experience and we want the students to see what an excellent pre-school experience looks like,” Baum said.

Enrollment is open to community, faculty and students. There is an application fee of $30 which will hold a child’s spot. The cost per semester is $620, so with a typical semester having 16 weeks that would average $38.75 per week for part time care. Evening hours are not available at the Child Development Center.

Children have to be enrolled so there is no drop-in care available.

When compared to the Child Care Technology Lab at Owens Community College the first thing to notice is the hours. The child care lab at Owens is open from 7:30 a.m to 6 p.m.

According to staff at the Child Care lab, the student rates at Owens for full time infant care is $166 per week while full time toddler care is $146 per week. Part time pre-school care is $105 per week while full time pre-school care is $131 per week. Owens defines “part-time care” as twenty four or less hours a week and full time care as twenty five or more hours a week.

The University of Toledo offers its faculty and staff Apple Tree Nursery School. This school also accepts children as young as six weeks old.

This school offers students a discounted rate. Parents of an infant are charged $161 a week, and parents of toddlers are charged $152 a week. A student can enroll a child in pre-school for $142 a week and kindergarten at $146 a week. The registration fee is $35. The hours they are open are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Comparing Owens, the University of Toledo and the Jordan Family Development Center they are very similar in cost, hours and services. The exception is the Child Development Center on campus. While the child care here is cheaper it comes at the cost of limited hours.

Helberg found a babysitter in a town near to where she lives. She would like her daughter to be close by in case something happened but she makes it work. She says she would like easier access to information, extended hours and a discount for students.

“I get so frustrated with Bowling Green. It is mostly traditional students. I wish they would think more of non-traditional students.” Helberg said.

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