WSU Pullman Childcare

In an effort to better understand the constraints in the WSU Children’s Center, we met with their interim director and assistant director. As we know, Pullman struggles to maintain sufficient childcare. The WSU Childcare Center plays an important role. But it has an 12-18 month waiting period with 200+ children on its waiting list.

The center has two main constraints. The first is space. The number of children allowed per classroom is regulated by the Department of Children, Family, and Youth (8 infants in a room, 14 toddlers, 20 preschoolers, and 30 school age students). The Center has 11 classrooms and is at capacity.

The Center is exploring some adjustments to the existing space in order to slightly increase capacity. In particular, they are considering dividing the school age classroom in order to create an additional preschool room. They are in the process of getting bids for this, but at present don’t have designated funding to actually do the renovation. (For a sense of the cost, 10 years ago they added two toddler classrooms for 1.5 million dollars.)

The second main constraint is staffing. It is difficult to find teachers with the appropriate qualifications. Lead teachers need to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Assistant teachers need 12 credits of early childhood education. There are also ongoing costs associated with professional development. The Center wants teachers to be growing and learning, and supports their continuing education. In addition, regulations require continuing education. These regulations require initial and on-going training even for part-time student employees.

Another point to keep in mind is that the Center does not have extra money. It is financially self-sustaining, relying on tuition dollars from families, funding from S&A and grants. It spends everything it brings in.

Photo of Faculty Senate Chair Christine HorneAdding capacity would require, at a minimum, identifying new space. (For example, could childcare space be added to new buildings or buildings used for other purposes, as at WWU, which has childcare on the main floor of a residence hall).

Christine Horne
Faculty Senate Chair


1 comments on "WSU Pullman Childcare"
  1. Thank you for the update, hopefully WSU as a whole can think creatively to better serve parents in their community. It should not be entirely on the Center to find a solution.

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