BROKEN ARROW – The Northeastern State University Broken Arrow campus began offering child care services to students on Aug. 15 as part of a broader effort to make completing a postsecondary degree easier.
The Little Rowdy Child Care Center will be a drop-in child care service for children ages 8 weeks to 8 years old of NSU -Broken Arrow students. For the Fall 2022 semester, the center will be open Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.
Little Rowdy Child Care Center Director Denise Tyrell said the hours were determined based on when Broken Arrow students are more likely to have classes on campus this fall.
“We are going to be running it as if it was a licensed child care center,” Tyrell said. “So, we’re going to have art activities, large motor activities, literacy, including lots of books, math activities etc. We’ve got everything a licensed center would have.”
Due to its drop in-model where parents remain on the facility grounds, the child care center is an exemption #8 from state licensing regulations.
Associate Dean of the College of Education Dr. Lisa Bisogno added that the curriculum they will be using is not only National Association for Education of Young Children accredited but also conforms to Oklahoma standards.
Bisogno said for years Broken Arrow students have requested a child care center on campus so they will have a place to drop off their kids while they attend their classes. Many of the students that take courses at the Broken Arrow campus are non-traditional and commuters.
To provide a more flexible class schedule for their students, a number of classes at the Broken Arrow campus are offered in the evening. However, Tyrell said that is also the time when traditional child care services are typically unavailable creating a daunting hurdle for some students seeking to finish their degree.
“There were several times I saw students have someone else come to pick up their kid while they were going to class,” Bisogno said. “It’s definitely a need because a majority of our students on this campus are working parents.”
NSU was able to use federal grant funds to meet this requested need. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the NSU-Broken Arrow campus a four-year grant totaling around $500,000 through its Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program to create the Little Rowdy Child Care Center.
All NSU-Broken Arrow students are eligible to take advantage of this campus-based child care services for a fee. There is a charge of $50 per child per semester, however, Bisogno said students in the CCAMPIS program may be eligible to receive the services for free or at a reduced rate depending on their expected family contribution.
Students interested in participating in the CCAMPIS program must be Pell Grant eligible and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the academic year. The CCAMPIS program also provides additional services for children such as reading and/or math tutoring available in Broken Arrow at the campus’ literacy and math centers.
Bisogno said the university is also pursuing additional funding to be able to offer the child care services at a free or reduced rate for those students who may not qualify under the CCAMPIS program. She added they are also looking into what it would take to potentially expand the child care center’s hours if there is need from students.