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Susan Hegland, Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-4616
Carol Phillips, Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-7478
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's Child Development Laboratory School will be restructured to provide all-day, year-round programming for toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children.

The restructuring is intended to increase services available to parents and enhance educational training for Iowa State students, said Carol Phillips, program coordinator for the Child Development Lab School. The changes will go into effect this fall.

The Child Development Lab School is administered by the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and located in the Palmer Building. It is a state-licensed early care and education center. Currently, it offers only part-day programming during the academic year for preschoolers and school-age children. It does not offer programming for toddlers.

The restructuring will result in all-day, full-year programming for toddlers and preschoolers. It also will create an all-day summer recreation program for school-age children. An existing all-day kindergarten program will continue to be provided in collaboration with the Ames Community Schools. Each of these programs will provide guided participation and observation experiences for Iowa State students in child development and early childhood education courses, Phillips said.

"Increasing the opportunities our students have to observe and interact with toddlers is essential, and this restructuring will provide those opportunities. There also is a shortage of toddler care in the community," said Phillips.

Additional staff will be hired. The increased costs resulting from the restructuring will come from the Lab School's new fee structure, which will reflect market rates, said Phillips.

Under the current part-time, part-year structure, families pay a minimum program fee per semester and for the summer session. A sliding fee scale that will reflect market rates will be put in place for the full-year, all-day programming. For example, a family with an annual income more than $40,000 would pay $747 a month for full-time toddler care and $662 for full-time pre-school care. A family earning less than $25,000 would pay $583 a month for toddler care and $540 a month for preschooler care. The rates would be slightly lower for full-time Iowa State students who earn less than $25,000 a year.

Each semester, more than 300 students in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and College of Education earn credits at the Child Development Lab School. A goal of the restructuring is to provide these students with a population of children that is diverse in age and ethnic background.

"More than 75 percent of young children under five years of age in Iowa are cared for outside the home while their parents are employed or in school. It is vital that our college students learn how to provide early care and education for these children in a safe and healthy environment," said Susan Hegland, faculty coordinator for the Lab School. "As professionals in early care and education programs, they will help children develop the communication, academic and social skills needed for success in school and in life."

The Lab School is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. It is one of six accredited childcare programs in Ames. Accreditation is an important indicator that a childcare program is providing quality early care and education experiences, said Hegland.

Parents interested in finding out more about the Child Development Lab School should contact Phillips at (515) 294-7478.


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