Staff at the Child Development Center, from left to right are: Sean Pierce, AVP for Student Affairs; President Frank H. Wu; Sandra Flores; Eric Urevich; Aamira Jalal; and Nina Bautista. Photo: Andy Poon, Queens College

Exploring One of QC’s Hidden Gems: Queens College’s Child Development Center

6 mins read

Queens College has many hidden ‘gems’, but one place of interest many don’t know of is the Child Development Center. The center is located at Kiely Hall in room 245 — and it’s not your typical classroom or lecture-hall; rather, the Child Development Center is a classroom where children can grow and learn. Their set up encourages imaginative play, structured schedules that ease transition between activities, and an outdoor playground reserved for the center.

Upon closer inspection, there are designated staff who aim to assist children from ages 5 to 10 as they grow. In an interview with The Knight News, Eric M. Urevich, Executive Director of QC’s Child Development Center, asserts that the center is not just a random attribute to the campus, but a place where families and educators can work to create something better. Founded in 1987, Mr. Urevich underscored that the center “was created to provide child care to student-parents who were in need of such care in order to be able to pursue their college education.”

The center aims to assist families, and remain as affordable as possible with rates posted through the main webpage and outside of the center. Urevich made it evident that high-quality education and care is a priority. He even extended his point by explaining that the center,

“Serves as a practicum site for students considering careers with children as well as a site in which students can complete coursework requiring the observation of young children.” The center fosters opportunities of growth to those passionate about child development.

At an inside glace, it’s clear that the center is a place where trained educators and faculty work together to address concerns and aid students/families. Eric Urevich and Sandra Flores are educators who hold graduate degrees in education, Urevich is a licensed social worker who holds a doctorate in social work (DSW). Nina Bautista, the center’s administrative manager, holds a Masters degree in Special Education and is working on getting certified; however, the center also has Queens College alumni working with them.

Annabel Betances is working on becoming a teacher and Meleny Oquendo is applying to graduate school, yet they serve integral roles in assisting students by helping to cultivate a productive setting. It’s common to see a group effort in assisting students through diverse methods and positive attitudes, where fun and learning blend for youngsters. The center aims to enhance connections between student-parents and educators through exceptional education and communication, a collective effort to adapt to the ever changing education system.

Urevich made it clear that the foundations of an exceptional education and noteworthy care are the recipes for proper development. This is required to hone skills not only in core subjects, but on an intrapersonal level as they learn to foster bonds with the people around them. While having an excellent foundation is important, it is only a start in the eyes of these educators, they are adamant on ensuring students are challenged effectively, but also able to use critical thinking and the concept of empowerment to achieve goals.

He highlighted that the effects of an interdisciplinary foundation are substantial, citing that they, “Typically lead to less criminal activity, higher educational attainment, and better overall health later in life according to, “Children’s Learning and Development Benefits from High-Quality Early Care and Education: A Summary of the Evidence,” prepared by US Dept of Health & Human Services.” The center is hopeful about the outlook of children and their parents, even with the budget cuts at CUNY there is a level of confidence that the work between the student-parents will be recognized and supported.

When asked what the long term goal is for the facility, Urevich gladly stated that “Our hope for the future of the Center is that we will continue to serve as many student-parents as possible and remain one of many important services supporting student-parent success at QC. We also hope to continue to identify the ever-changing needs of our parents and to be able to add/adjust program components to better meet these needs.”

The center happily welcomes student-parents to utilize the facility, but also students interested in fieldwork are free to engage with the center for more details. As the center continues to evolve in the ever changing field of education, the center remains steadfast in its agenda to inspire student-parents and provide a base for lifelong growth.

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