RVCC Children’s Campus Receives $10,000 Grant from Grow NJ Kids

The Children’s Campus at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg has received a $10,000 grant to implement a quality improvement plan at the College’s professional and child development center. The grant is part of New Jersey’s quality rating improvement system (QRIS), Grow NJ Kids, which is facilitated through the NJ Department of Human Services and the Department of Education’s Race to the Top.

The Children’s Campus is participating in Grow NJ Kids as one of 10 pilot schools in Somerset County. It will provide input that will help to shape the future of early care and education in the state.

Each pilot school has been provided with training and assessment tools to rate relationships, curriculum, classroom environments and learning outcomes for young children and their educators.  With the support of Quality Improvement Specialist Nikki Bryant of Community Child Care Solutions, Children’s Campus Director Cathy Griffin and her staff have utilized the professional development and assessments to create a unique and relevant quality improvement plan. The grant includes equipment and curriculum supports that will allow teachers to provide very specific projects and programs.

The Children’s Campus at RVCC has implemented the Creative Curriculum®, which is research-based and nationally and state-recognized as developmentally appropriate for young children.  The grant will support the curriculum by funding upgrades to infant and toddler equipment to meet new health and safety regulations. The Infant/Toddler Creative Curriculum® and the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales (ECERS) will be updated with newly revised materials and training. In the preschool classrooms, teachers will be trained in using Creative Curriculum GOLD® to track growth and development with new software, tablets and archival space for observations and work samples. The grant also will provide a large block play area with storage.

Limited openings at RVCC’s Children’s Campus are available this summer and fall for children from three months to four years of age. The next session begins May 18. The childcare services are available to children from outside the RVCC community at competitive rates. The RVCC Fall Semester starts September 2.

The Children’s Campus is licensed by the State of New Jersey and complies with all state licensing regulations. Class size is limited to provide for small groups supervised by state-licensed head or group teachers. Experienced teacher assistants ensure compliance with state-mandated adult-to-child ratios. RVCC students from many disciplines visit the classrooms for observations, practicums and service learning activities, providing additional individual attention for the children.

The center focuses on hands-on exploration and multi-sensory activities that encourage the development of broad concepts and knowledge. Children are encouraged to learn at their own pace as they develop physical, social/emotional, cognitive, language and motor skills.

Daily schedules and routines are consistent in order to provide security and encourage confidence, enabling the children to freely explore and interact with their classmates and teachers.

The center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 12 months a year. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided; children must bring their own lunch. Children are registered on a semester basis throughout the year, with a minimum enrollment requirement of two days a week—full or half days.

The program is directed by Cathy B Griffin, MS Ed, who has more than 40 years of experience in early childhood education. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Griffin at 908-231-8807 or email childcare@raritanval.edu. For additional information about the Children’s Campus, visit www.raritanval.edu/studentserv/childcare/index.html.

Featured image caption: A love for books is encouraged early at RVCC’s Children’s Campus.

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Mission Statement:

Raritan Valley Community College is an educational community that works to develop critical thinking, foster intellectual curiosity, promote leadership, encourage social responsibility, support personal growth, and sustain engaged citizenship within a diverse population of students and community members.

Diversity Statement:

Raritan Valley Community College values all aspects of diversity including but not limited to race, sexual orientation, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability, socioeconomic status, and political and philosophical perspectives. We rely on diversity to enrich the intellectual environment for students and employees. We support educational access and opportunity by recruiting and retaining a diverse college community. We foster diversity by developing and maintaining curricular and social programs that infuse the contributions of all people, and by preparing students to excel in a global society. Our commitment to diversity is reflected in the College’s Mission Statement and Strategic Goals, all of which support excellence in teaching, learning and professional development in a welcoming and respectful climate.

Core Values:

• RVCC is an open admission institution with high standards and excellent support services.

• RVCC serves as an important center for our community.

• RVCC participates as a reliable partner with the region’s K-12 schools to support active learning and college readiness.

• RVCC must provide support for student success, but students are responsible for their own achievements.

• The College values the diversity of our communities as a resource that strengthens the institution.

• The College is accountable for the prudent use of all its resources and seeks transparency in all its operations.

• The College measures its success against national models and standards.

• The College commits to environmentally sustainable practices.

• Educational programs must be affordable.

• A healthy college community depends on integrity and respect.

• The best college decisions are made on a learning-centered foundation.

• Learning is a lifelong endeavor.