UVI Childcare and Diagnostic Center set to open on STX campus

UVI staff and government officials tour the Inclusive Child Care Laboratory and Diagnostic Center during the grand opening. (Photo credit by Susan Ellis)

University administrators and government officials cut the ribbon Wednesday to open a child care laboratory and diagnostic center on the grounds of the Albert A. Sheen campus of the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix.

The bisque-colored cottage surrounded by bright play equipment on a quiet shaded hillside will serve as a preschool for ages 2-5 and an after-school program for ages 6-11.

One of the UVI Inclusive Childcare Lab learning areas. (Photo credit by Susan Ellis)

According to students of Education Dean Karen Brown, employees will be able to enroll up to 18 children in the building. If there are places available, the community will then have the opportunity to enroll their children in these age groups.

Additionally, Island Therapy Solutions will consult with families, if necessary, of children who may have additional needs.

Sherryl Tonge-George, program director, and Janelle Gainer, program coordinator, said they hope to have everything in place – inspections, licenses, paperwork, etc. – for an opening on April 4.

Dean Brown said David Hall, president of UVI, conceived the idea for the daycare in 2017 and went through a needs assessment of students and employees. She said the goals of the program are to provide care and education, to provide service to students and employees, to teach and care for children, and to provide early childhood education to college students. ‘UVI.

“It is not a specialized center. It’s all inclusive. It’s a center where we help all the kids,” Brown said.

Hall spoke at the ceremony and said the center is “a deferred dream that has come to pass,” despite the hurricanes and the pandemic. He thanked the sources of funding: a Federal Title 3 grant channeled through the VI Department of Education, the VI Senate, the VI Department of Agriculture, and the Virgin Islands Community Foundation.

Kimberly Causey-Gomez, Commissioner of Social Services, also spoke. She praised the university for such an important facility – a daycare center.

“You need a place where you have someone you trust to take care of your children,” she said.

A similar daycare opened on the St. Thomas campus in 2019. During the pandemic, children and parents have used Zoom with teachers to listen to stories, play games, practice counting, and learn English. alphabet.

Sherryl Tonge-George, Kimberly Causey-Gomez, Janelle Gainer and Karen Brown visit the UVI Inclusive Childcare Lab and Diagnostic Center during the grand opening on Wednesday. (Photo credit by Susan Ellis)
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