Isla Vista Children's Center to Open New Infant/Toddler Spaces
Source: Isla Vista Youth Projects, Inc.
The Isla Vista Youth Projects, Inc. (IVYP) is proud to announce a ribbon cutting ceremony, celebrating the renovations of a new infant/toddler classroom, to be held on Friday, May 11, from 4:30 – 5:30 pm at the Isla Vista Children Center’s West Campus, 701-H W Campus Point Road, Isla Vista. The ceremony also marks the culmination of the Leadership Santa Barbara County class project. The class adopted IVYP as their 2018 cohort project, providing structure and a plan of action to create the new infant/toddler space. Leadership Santa Barbara County established working committees, researched and secured items that adhered to building code, and provided the necessary labor to complete this project. In addition, the class secured funding for the renovation.
IVYP currently operates a nationally accredited early care and education program serving 130 infants, toddlers and preschoolers on two sites in Isla Vista and Goleta. The expansion project will allow for ten additional, critical spaces in a classroom that previously housed the Family Resource Center, and will complement the existing 30 preschool spaces for children 3 – 5 years of age, thus providing a continuum of care.
“We are always looking for opportunities to expand our childcare offerings because there is so much need in our community,” explains IVYP Executive Director Lori Goodman.
Demand for affordable, high quality infant/toddler spaces far exceeds current capacity as data from the recently completed Santa Barbara County Early Care and Education Needs Assessment confirms. The study indicates that only 15% of eligible infants/toddlers are currently served in subsidized spaces due to lack of capacity. Countywide, there were 687 licensed infant/toddler spaces in 2015 yet over 2,000 spaces were needed to meet the estimated demand for care. The communities of Goleta and Isla Vista are no exception to this, and there are currently over 100 infants and toddlers on IVYP’s waiting list.
“We take kids with the highest need first and families pay what they can based on a sliding scale; many are eligible for grant support and pay very little for exceptional care,” says Goodman. “We maintain a ratio of one caregiver for every three infants, ensuring safe, high quality care, giving parents peace of mind as they often juggle multiple jobs or attend school so that they can take care of their families. But it’s costly to provide this level of support and we are so grateful to Leadership Santa Barbara for their efforts on our behalf.” Goodman notes that the early childhood program also allows IVYP to reach parents at a critical point in their child’s development, providing resources and opportunities to counsel parents on how to be attuned to their children and support their emotional needs during the crucial formative years.
A variety of research in support of early childhood education overwhelmingly corroborates the benefits. Children who receive a high quality preschool experience are more successful in school, are better prepared for kindergarten, are less likely to need special education services, and are more productive, successful adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research also suggests that a strong foundation helps combat health and behavioral issues later in life.
The Leadership Santa Barbara County Class of 2018 adopted this project and raised over $16,000 to support the west campus remodel. Leadership Santa Barbara, a nonprofit fostering collaborative decision making by uniting and developing community leaders across the County, designed the updates to the new space. The generous corporate and individual sponsors who made the class project a success include Deckers Brands and Pacific Premier Bank (Visionary Sponsors); Cox Communications and The Towbes Group (Corporate Sponsors); Carpe Data (Advocacy Sponsor); Fielding Graduate University (Program Sponsor); Santa Barbara Wine Therapy, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, Rockin’ Kids (Literacy Supporters); Fresh Coat Painting, Haywards, Milpas Rental, The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region (In-Kind Sponsors); and all the individuals who donated via the Class Project giving page on Crowdrise.
Interior modifications include a nap room, diaper-changing station, hand-washing area, new furniture and age-appropriate classroom supplies. Leadership Santa Barbara County is also providing a new outdoor shade feature and fence to designate infant playground.
The site plans to open by September 1, 2018 to align with the start of the academic year.