If you asked a member of the Western Oregon University (WOU) community about the sights and sounds they remember most fondly from campus, you’d get a variety of responses. Perhaps the giant sequoia, or the steps leading up to the Instructional Resource Center, or maybe the iconic sculpture in the Werner University Center Plaza. But one thing you’d certainly hear about is the children playing tag and the jubilant kid giggles coming from the Teaching Research Institute’s Child Development Center (TRI-CDC).
TRI-CDC has been an integral part of WOU’s campus for more than 35 years. Not only is it a place where the young children of the community can get their first taste of a college campus, but it’s a place where children learn and grow through education and curriculum supported by TRI. And now the program is even stronger with a brand new summer camp and offerings to an expanded age group during the school year.
According to Ingrid Amerson, director of TRI-CDC, this expansion meets the needs and increased demand for year-round quality childcare. “Many families told us they found it very stressful trying to find quality child care during the summer because many of the local child care providers are closed in the summer months. Families want to have consistent care to ensure stability and healthy development,” Amerson said. “By TRI-CDC answering this need for families in our local community, a parent can continue to work or go to school knowing that their child is being cared for in a secure, safe and loving learning environment.”
The folks at TRI-CDC recognized that most kids don’t want to go to “school” during summer vacation, so they designed a summer camp program and expanded current offerings to include children up to age 10. The camp will provide continued learning through exploration, adventures and most importantly (to the kids anyway) – fun! TRI-CDC Summer Camp will not only provide a safe place for families to leave their children during the work or school day in the summer months, but also a place where the children will continue their academic momentum.
The second new TRI-CDC offering is an after school program offered during the school year. “School age children don’t want to go to ‘child care,’ they see themselves as too old for that. Families need a quality environment for their children when they are away at work, school or meetings,” Amerson said. “We are designing a welcoming school age environment where children can be themselves. Their space will reflect their abilities, personalities, interests and the explorations they’ve made together. Their environment will be a place they want to be.”
Placing a child in the TRI-CDC programs offers an experience unmatched in our community. as the children have access to such an array of resources and opportunities to enhance the curriculum. This includes science, technology, sports, outdoor adventures, music, arts and theater, Hamersly Library, and much more. WOU’s highly educated professors are willing to answer their child’s questions as they arise. Where else can a child have access to all this knowledge at ages 30 months through 10 years of age?
The curriculum at TRI-CDC integrates creative play and project-based programming. Children learn content through investigation and focused, intentional teaching and the teachers prepare activity choices for children to advance their development. According to Amerson, creative play is how children explore the world and build an understanding of how things work, as well as stimulate physical, social-emotional, intellectual and creative development.
The Summer Camp begins June 16 and runs through August 22, and the school year begins September 2. Monthly tuition for five days per week is $688, four days a week is $606, three days a week is $454, mornings for five days is $379, afternoons for five days is $454 and the after school program is $200 per month. WOU students receive a 30 percent reduction on tuition, subsidized by WOU’s Incidental Fee Committee. There is also a five percent discount for siblings, given to the sibling with the least expensive tuition option.