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Child care access enables student parents to attend UH Manoa

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Dec 11, 2009

Children's Center director Wayne Watkins
Children's Center director Wayne Watkins
The UH Mānoa Children’s Center—a unit of the Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED)—has received a four-year $326,148 federal grant to support low-income, underrepresented student parents at UH Mānoa.
Program objectives of the grant include tuition assistance for student parents’ children, staff development that promotes professional growth for early childhood educators, and in-service training for working with children from indigenous and multi-cultural backgrounds. Parent education workshops will be included in the program with the intention to involve parents in their child’s development, as well as to provide student parents networking opportunities with faculty and administrators at UH Mānoa.
The grant will be administered by Children’s Center director Wayne Watkins and education coordinator Leilani Au, who will serve as the assistant director of the program. Watkins is the current president of the Hawai`i Association for the Education of Young Children with thirty-four years of experience as a classroom teacher, college instructor and early childhood consultant.  Au has twenty-three years experience in early childhood teaching that includes toddler development, parenting education and curriculum development.
The UH Mānoa Children’s Center, which is open year round, was established in 1990 and serves children ages two to five years on a full-time and part-time schedule. The Center’s approach to providing a high-quality early childhood education is to have  small class size, two teachers per classroom and a developmental approach that focuses on the whole child. All teachers at the Center meet or exceed state licensing standards for teachers of young children with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education or Child Development.
The Children’s Center is also collaborating with UH Mānoa’s College of Education, Department of Family Resources, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, School of Nursing, and  Bridge to Hope, which is a first-to-work program providing college education for welfare participants as a means of lifelong economic self-sufficiency.