Facility to continue to provide child care

UBC's Board of Governors has supported a decision by the dean of the Faculty of Education to close the Child Study Centre (CSC) and referred the question about appropriate future use of the facility for early childhood education or day care to the university's administration.

At its Feb. 6 meeting, the board was asked by a delegation representing parents and teachers to reverse the decision made by Faculty of Education Dean Nancy Sheehan in December, following an external review of the CSC.

"In spite of the high quality of its programs, the Child Study Centre is unable to fulfil adequately the three components of its mandate: research, program demonstration and training, and leadership for the early childhood education field," Sheehan said at the time.

About 150 children aged two to five attend preschool and kindergarten programs at the centre, which was established in 1961 and has nine full- and part-time teachers, with assistance from faculty and graduate students.

Parents were informed about the decision to close the centre in December so that they could begin to consider alternatives for September 1997 and teachers were given the notice required under the agreement between the university and the Faculty Association.

At the January meeting of Senate, a notice of motion was put forward asking Senate to affirm its power to establish and disestablish academic units and suggesting that the CSC be considered an academic unit.

The Senate Agenda Committee has determined, pending advice to the contrary, that the closure is not within the purview of Senate. Senate, however, does have the right to ask for a report on the academic implications of the closure and Sheehan has offered to provide a report at its March 19 meeting.

The building, which was developed for the use of young children, will continue to be used for that purpose and although the exact nature, organization, and administration of such programs has not yet been determined, children's programs will run out of the centre beginning next September.

"These programs will be expected to provide an environment to facilitate child development and education, and to provide a context hospitable to research and the education of university students (conditions which also apply to the 11 day-care centres operated under Child Care Services)," said President David Strangway in a letter to campus.

"Children currently enrolled in the Child Study Centre will be given priority to any of these programs for which they are eligible."

Staff in Housing and Conferences' Child Care Services have been asked to prepare a proposal for use of the facility beginning next September.

"They will be notifying all interested parties that they are open to advice on the best use of the building for such purposes as kindergarten, pre-school and day care for young children, and on the most effective way of providing these services," Strangway added. "They have offered to meet with concerned parents and teachers to discuss potential programs, and to plan for the transition. A meeting will be scheduled for this purpose in the very near future."

A progress report will be provided to the Board of Governors on March 20.