Cal State Fullerton’s Children’s Center is a highly impacted daycare that can leave many parents without the campus resource, according to Nicole Mundell, a CSUF student and single mother of two. Mundell is hoping to finish the CSUF Teacher Credential program this fall.
Mundell said she was not able to enroll her daughter to the center until she was halfway into her first semester on campus and waited to enroll her second child in the summer of 2016 because the center did not have room for him.
“Two of my student-parent friends who tried one semester didn’t get in,” said Mundell.
The center currently has 321 children enrolled. Mundell said priority enrollment is given to student parents, then faculty and staff. She said recommends enrolling in the summer because returning students are given priority as well.
The CSUF Children’s Center was created by Associated Students Inc. in order to help students, staff and faculty with childcare during their time on campus.
“The Children’s Center is here to support the community and provide quality child care for faculty and for student parents,” said Valerie Rivera, the Children’s Center director.
The center caters to children between the ages of four months to pre-kindergarten. It operates all year between 7:30 AM and 7PM Monday through Thursday with special scheduling in winter, summer, and fall recess.
For students, prices range between $5.04-$7.95 per hour depending on the age of the child. The younger children require the higher fee. However, the center offers limited state subsidized care for some parents based on the need and income of the particular family.
Student interns help support staff in the facility’s classroom. Joyce Yang is a fourth year Titan who is excited to start another semester as a student aid at the center.
“This is a really great opportunity to work at the children’s center and I would highly recommend it,” Yang said.
There is a set of requirements that must be met to work there.
“They do have to be enrolled in a practicum course here at Cal State Fullerton. The process would be an in person interview as well as a reference check, background check,” said Sonia Nunez, the assistant director who has been at the center for 18 years.
The center gives student interns hands-on experience in the classroom with daily tasks such as feeding, changing diapers every two hours and social interaction with infants, according to Yang. Student aids are primarily responsible for providing a safe environment for the kids.
“I love working with children. I think that they’re so pure. Everything they say is unfiltered. The most rewarding is having the honor of being that person that is responsible for so many young lives,” said Yang.
The center holds two to three fundraisers each year.
“Our biggest fundraiser is the Trike-a-thon and that’s where children actually ride tricycles and are pushed in strollers and they do laps around one of the parking lots,” said Lydia Palacios, the program coordinator who first started at the center in 1991 as a student assistant.
Besides the Trike-a-thon the center holds a desk bake sale with parents. Last year the center raised $2,200, though it usually raises between $5,000 to $7,000.
“We didn’t have the virtual desk bake sale last semester just because we had a lot of transitions going on. Our goal would be about $6,000 dollars this year,” Palacios said.
Mundell said she depends heavily on the center to watch her children as she pursues her education.
“I don’t know what I would do if they didn’t have room for her. I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I would have dropped out.”