July 17, 2024

San Antonio College Student News

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SAC’s Early Childhood Center Helps Students With Childcare Needs

San Antonio College's Early Childhood Center provides a nationally accredited childcare program for low-income parents who attend San Antonio College. Photo by N. Omar Gomez.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Shanaia Silva drops off her child at San Antonio College’s Early Childhood Center before heading to classes on campus. The center provides a nationally accredited child care program for low-income parents who attend San Antonio College.  

The ECC has provided childcare services to students since 1974. In 1986, it became the first childcare center in San Antonio to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children

For a fee, the center offers childcare and academic preparation for parents who don’t qualify for early childhood education programs such as Head Start, the federally funded, early childhood education program for low-income families. Head Start programs helped 68,467 children through different entities with early education services in 2022, according to the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center. Although low-income parents have a free option for childcare through Head Start, receiving the assistance can be a lengthy process.

Silva had to wait six months for an opening. She said she found the ECC affordable and convenient as she continued her education. 

“It helps me out with being able to go to school and do what I need to do, but it also helps prepare my daughter for kindergarten,” Silva said. 

Silva is one of 38 active students who use the ECC. Students can enroll children ages 1 through 4 at the center. They participate in a play-based curriculum centered around their natural curiosity. Every classroom has an early childhood teacher and a child development specialist. 

The center works with the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio through a Foster Grandparent Program that assists children in the classroom with additional emotional support. Parents also must complete volunteer hours in the classroom. The purpose is to give parents a better understanding of how the center works with their children. 

Teachers, development specialists, parents, and volunteer grandparents work together along with student practitioners from SAC’s Early Childhood Studies program to provide each student with social, academic, and emotional skills based on a “whole child”  approach.

“We have families that have come through our program as students and stayed through different generations,” says ECC Director Teresa Robledo. 

Childcare through the ECC ranges from $2,560-$3,440 for the full semester. Tuition is $160-$215 per week for students who choose a payment plan. SAC students are eligible for reduced tuition through the Child Care Assistance Application for Reduced Tuition (CCAMPIS) grant each semester for a more affordable option of $15-$20 per week. 

Students who wish to apply can visit the ECC in person or online for more information or contact the ECC at (210) 486-0530.

N. Omar Gomez

N. Omar Gomez

N. Omar Gomez Flores is a second-year journalism student at San Antonio College. He is a hyphenated artist of the boricua diaspora. He lives with his sister and 9 year-old nephew, who is a better writer than him.
N. Omar Gomez

N. Omar Gomez

N. Omar Gomez Flores is a second-year journalism student at San Antonio College. He is a hyphenated artist of the boricua diaspora. He lives with his sister and 9 year-old nephew, who is a better writer than him.