The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Children’s center aims to help teach students

Vanessa Johnson

The childcare facilities that are available at NE watch after students and workers children while also helping the teaching department at NE.
(Shot by Alex Hoben)

NE Campus’ Children’s Center provides education to both kids and TCC students.

While the children are the top priority at the center, it’s also a laboratory for students majoring in early childhood education.

“We want students to learn quality child care to share with the world,” child center teacher Michelle Lee said.

Lee mentors and teaches students about how they should work with 4-year-old and 5-year-old children. She said the center is a place for students to train and get the help they need from teachers. The center is there for students to intern, following their program instead of finding internships off campus. 

“My journey started with observing and taking classes,” child center kitchen manager Maricela Negrete said. “Then I was offered a part-time class.”

Negrete fell in love with her work at the center and wanted a full-time position, which led her to become the kitchen manager. Negrete made her way through the education program, and now she plays a vital role as the chef and nutritionist.

“Students come here to prove the theories that they are learning work,” center director and master teacher Barbara Smith said.

Students go through three phases at the center: guidance, curriculum and internship. Guidance allows students to just observe the teachers’ interactions with the children. The curriculum stage is where students work with the teachers and children on their curriculum and activities. Then the internship stage allows students to take the place of the teacher and show what they have learned.

“The students need to practice, and the tools that they have to practice with are children,” Smith said.

The center has three age groups: 2, 3 and 4 years old. Implemented in all classes is a curriculum based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills as well as Highscope. Along with the curriculum, the teachers work with students on their social and emotional behavior.

The center is open for students and staff of TCC as well as the surrounding community, which is where most of the children come from.

“We have to make sure children are healthy, safe and that they know someone is there to protect and love them,” Smith said.

Safety is a top priority at the center. Smith said the staff is always on high alert for the children and the families. Due to COVID, the number of children per class and the laboratory hours for students were both cut to better accommodate everyone.

Smith said some of the parents went to the center when they were children themselves. Most of the staff have worked at the center for years and see the effect their work has on families.

“It is rewarding if you are willing to go all the way through and respect the children, parents and community,” Smith said.

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