nov. 23, 2020 – a feasibility study examining the possibility of bringing an early childhood education center to the campus of csu channel islands (csuci) is now available on the university’s website.
the study was a collaboration between several community partners including csuci, state assemblymember jacqui irwin (d-thousand oaks), the ventura county community foundation, and reiter affiliated companies. irwin was responsible for convening the stakeholders and obtaining $5 million in state funding to pursue the study.
“as the number of available childcare slots in the county has dwindled, the need among the local agricultural community and university students with children has grown,” irwin said. “at the same time, our institutions of higher education are searching for greater opportunities to train the region’s future teaching workforce.”
the availability of childcare in the region has been an issue even prior to the pandemic. in ventura county, an estimated 12,000 preschool-age children cannot access or participate in preschool due to space, costs and program limitation. only 4% of the region’s demand for infant and toddler childcare is being met.
the proposed early childhood center will also serve as an educational laboratory school for csuci students pursuing their early childhood studies teaching credential.
“the region’s scarcity of preschools and infant and toddler childcare is not only impacting children and parents directly, it is also impacting the preparation of future educators,” said csuci president erika d. beck, ph.d. “csuci offers the only bachelor’s degree in early childhood studies in ventura county. the severe limitation of high-quality preschools, as well as infant and toddler childcare within the region results in a tremendous challenge for placing early childhood studies students into student teaching assignments which model innovative and research-informed practice.”
according to irwin, the entire community benefits from providing childcare.
“increasing access to childcare for working families and providing educational opportunity to the children of the region will propel the economy forward and is crucial to the recovery of our state and our region from the effects of the pandemic,” irwin said.
“with the completion of this feasibility study, our community is one step closer to the construction of an early childhood education center at csu channel islands,” added irwin. “moving forward, this project will rely on the collaborative efforts from members of the community that are invested in seeing it come to fruition. i look forward to continued involvement in my capacity as a state assemblymember so that our region can fully support the early education of our most vulnerable children.”