This article and photo originally appeared in The Virgin Islands Consortium and is reprinted with permission.
The University of the Virgin Islands on Monday launched an Inclusive Childcare Laboratory and Diagnostic Center on the St. Thomas Campus. According a release the institution of higher learning issued, the new facility is intended to enhance the educational experience of preservice teachers who will be supervised by professors as part of their studies—while supporting the university’s students and employees to better manage the challenges of balancing parenthood and college life. UVI will be among the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities to provide this service.
The establishment of a research-based childcare program linked to early childhood and the School of Education has been a goal of UVI President David Hall’s since 2014. “This idea has evolved over the years and it’s no longer just a place to care for our students’ children, but an opportunity to create a model early education center that can help enhance the quality of early childhood education throughout the Virgin Islands,” Mr. Hall said. “The significance of this project is now more transformative than our students imagined.”
As many as 30 children can be admitted at the center at a time. The center is open for children between ages two to eleven. Initially, the center will be operational from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. However, it is expected to evolve from an after school to full-day childcare center, according to the university.
The idea for the childcare center arose from a survey of UVI students, staff and faculty who emphasized the need for such a facility on campus. “The University’s ability to address this critical need indicates that we listen to our students and we strive to address their needs,” Mr. Hall said.