IWF extends a special thank you to our 2023 Grant Partner, Hawkeye Community College, not only for guest writing this blog but for recognizing and taking action to eliminate a barrier for students. Providing a safe child care option for parenting students is a solution that benefits everyone and allows parents to seek education and opportunities that will improve the lives of themselves and their children.
Hawkeye Community College focuses on meeting community needs and providing quality, affordable training, classes, and child care services for learners of all ages.
Hawkeye has been establishing important partnerships with organizations that can absorb some of the costs, including the Iowa Women’s Foundation. A grant from IWF has enabled Hawkeye to pilot a free, safe, and flexible responsive evening child care service for parenting students enrolled in evening classes at the Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center with children 6 weeks–10 years of age.
The evening responsive child care service uses the same types of safety protocols as its licensed and accredited child development center and is supervised by Hawkeye’s child care coordinator and student employees. This service model is in response to the needs of parenting students who require just a few hours of child care each week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings while they are engaged in classes. The children are provided with age-appropriate activities in a safe, culturally sensitive environment where everyone is respected, appreciated, and valued. The goal is to allow all eligible families and children to feel welcome and comfortable.
E. C-V. is a High School Completion student. He shared:
“The daycare program for evening classes is amazing. Thanks to this program, I have been able to attend school—because when you have kids, it is hard to find someone to take care of them. My kids really enjoy going to the daycare, they do a lot of activities while they are in there. Every time my kids leave, they come out really happy and are excited to come back the next day. This makes me feel confident about the care they are receiving. The staff is wonderful, and I have only good things to say about them, especially the director. She is kind, patient, and always has a big smile that makes you feel your kids are in good hands.”
E. G. is an English Language Learning student. She shared:
“I have two children and sometimes it was difficult to go to classes before this service was in operation at Hawkeye. So, I decided not to attend the college anymore due to this situation. It was a while later that I found out that Hawkeye was providing this child care service, and without thinking about it, I resumed my classes. For my children, it has been a fun and welcoming experience and they also do not want to miss a single class at Hawkeye. My daughter says it is very fun. This support means that I can go to all my classes and continue learning English. Thank you very much!”
T.V. is an English Language Learning student. She shared,
“This service is good, and my daughter and I are very happy to have this.”
Y.Z. is a High School Completion student. She shared:
“I am very satisfied with the evening care on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My son enjoys playing there. His knowledge has been improved by drawing pictures, attending activities, and playing games. The teachers do an excellent job! They always greet me and my son with smiles. The teachers always have my son’s favorite toys prepared before he arrives there. The evening care is very important for me. Without it, I won’t have time to attend the classes. I really appreciate the evening care.”
Families interested in accessing the child care service need to register in advance. The responsive child care service requires parents to remain on-site where they are readily accessible if needed by their child or staff. It is a win-win model for the children and their parents!