Post Classifieds

Child Development Center to re-open

By Jaye Cole
On September 28, 2010

  • Child Development Center. Photo by

Due to popular demand, the once defunct day care center and student research lab at Winston -Salem State tentatively plans to re-open as the Child Development Center at the end of this month.

The day care, which initially opened in 1975, shut its doors Aug. 21, 2009, largely due to budget cuts. The abrupt closing brought to an end a legacy of the five-star rated child care facility.

Chancellor Donald Reaves and the administration made the decision to shut down the day care specifically because operating costs were too exorbitant.  

"Our current budget will not allow us to spend money on the center when there are other alternatives available in the community for our students," Reaves said in the Winston-Salem Journal June 30, 2009.

There were many people — which included alumni, students and faculty — who were not pleased with the closing of the facility, which eventually led to its inclusion of a protest on campus.

Eventually lawmakers and other community leaders got involved, and, after budget adjustments and collaboration with the Child Development Division of Family Services, Inc., the administration found the resources to re-open the child care facility.

With the re-opening of the facility comes new purpose and direction.

It is no longer classified as a day care and research lab; it is a Headstart Child Development Center with the Family Services of Winston-Salem on campus. The Center accepts children ages 3 to 5 years. The staff screens and evaluates each student and keeps meticulous records of the child's development.  

In addition to faculty and students, parents living in surrounding neighborhoods such as Happy Hill and Morningside who are at or below the poverty line have an opportunity to enroll their children as well.

Child Development Center manager Sheila Ebrahim says the Center uses a ‘creative curriculum' to teach the children.

"This is more than a day care," Ebrahim said.

"It is the task of the Center to get the students ready for the next level. The classrooms are outfitted with several learning tools, not just toys.

"We are preparing our students for elementary [school]," Ebrahim said.

The Center also accepts children with learning disabilities. Many students with learning disabilities may receive priority based on the needs of the child. Ebrahim said the children go through assessments and ongoing observations.

"If there is a concern in either developmental speech or hearing, then we provide additional services through community resources."


The staff is ready for a Sept. 30 start date. Nearly every classroom has been completed.

Angela Roberts, a pre-kindergarten teacher from Brooksdale, Fla., said she anticipates a productive grand re-opening.

"I'm looking forward to a new year, a really good year," Roberts said.

The Child Development Center began accepting applications for WSSU faculty and students  Sept. 1. The applications are being taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Associate Director of Adult and Graduate Admissions Victoria Hanchell, a mother of a four-year-old, was on the waiting list at the old facility for over a year. Her daughter was enrolled at the day care for two weeks before she learned of its closing, she said.

Hanchell said she remains optimistic and hopes to get her child into the new Child Development Center.

"The WSSU Child Development Center has a history of instilling good foundations in reading, writing and mathematics. Also, the children aren't just playing all day but rather are learning and building developmental skills. It is truly a preschool and not a day care," Hanchell said.

Spaces at the Center will also be available for families in the community, with a special focus on providing services to families who need financial support for child care.  Additionally, the Center will be available to meet WSSU student training needs, faculty research and grant-writing opportunities.

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