Wednesday, March 4, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Children’s Center puts down roots

Olivet Yettou and her classmates at the Davis Children’s Center enjoy a parade as part of their Lunar New Year celebration.

By
February 15, 2011 |

After several moves and related changes in recent years, the Davis school district’s Children’s Center is putting down roots at the Valley Oak campus.

The Children’s Center program — which primarily serves 3- and 4-year-olds — was launched in the 1970s. For many years, the program was housed on the same block as the school district’s offices at 526 B St. But then the Children’s Center moved to Pioneer Elementary in South Davis, then to Korematsu Elementary in the Mace Ranch neighborhood and finally to the Valley Oak campus. It shares the former elementary school campus with a special education preschool program, Da Vinci High School and other programs.

The close proximity of the high school students has led to a unique collaboration.

“We partner with Da Vinci High. Some of their students come over and work with our teachers and students, reading one-on-one with children in our classrooms, using pre-selected books,” said Maria Furtado-Yuen, the Children’s Center director.

The benefit of the collaboration is mutual. Helping at the Children’s Center gives Da Vinci students a close-at-hand opportunity to meet the community service requirement that is part of the Da Vinci program. And the youngsters at the Children’s Center develop better language skills in the process.

“Over 70 percent of our students at the Children’s Center come in with English not being their first language,” Furtado-Yuen said.

Students come from families that are speaking languages as diverse as Korean, Tibetan, Nepalese, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and several  languages from China and India. Some of the parents are affiliated with UC Davis, others are recent immigrants. For some of the children, living in a new country is a big transition.

“We work very hard to make everyone feel safe and comfortable,” Furtado-Yuen said. “Right now, we are serving a little over 100 students.”

When parents drop off their youngsters at the Children’s Center, the children wash their hands (to cut down on germs) and then transition into free play in one of several areas. After a while, a snack is served, and then the children gather with their teacher for “structured circle time — a story, or some songs, or movement,” Furtado-Yuen said.

There’s also time for small group activities, including drawing or writing or music.

“The most important thing we do is provide a safe environment where children can come and build on their social skills, and learn social norms, so that when they enter a kindergarten class, they have great self-esteem and can follow the routine of a kindergarten room — regardless of whether they were born in this country or immigrated,” Furtado-Yuen said. “The majority of our staff, including myself, are immigrants.”

The program aims to “give students the skill to sit through circle time and group time, teach them how cut paper and write their name — these are things that are important,” Furtado-Yuen said.

Rebecca Detrick’s 4-year-old daughter Katie is in teacher Stacy Oler’s class.

“It’s neat to see how kids learn and can become friends and play every day,” Detrick said. “And the teachers are great.”

Maureen Poole’s granddaughter Emily attends the Children’s Center.

“It’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” Poole said. “And with a granddaughter, there’s less stress for me than when I was a parent. It’s really exciting, seeing it all again (a second time).”

Poole added that her kids Brian and Brittany attended the Children’s Center around 1990, when it was located downtown.

Parent Krystal Roa has three children — Josiah, Isaiah and Luciah — who have rotated through the Children’s Center over the past five years. “The teachers really love the kids and are very involved,” Roa said.

Jacqui LeValle has had two children at the Children’s Center. “I love this program. Teacher Maureen Driscoll is as good as it gets. The kids are really happy to be here, and that makes us parents happy,” LeValle said.

Parent Kendall Essex said her daughter Anna “can’t wait to get here. She wakes up every morning, excited about preschool. It’s a great foundation — learning, and having fun.”

–Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davisite competing for breast cancer ‘Survivor of the Year’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Cool musicians, hot jazz at Coconut Grove fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Guilty verdict in child abduction case

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    UC will freeze resident admissions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Aggies still have all to play for

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    State’s snow levels reach historic lows

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Moore featured at two climate talks this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Talk breast cancer with oncologic surgeon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    DPNS offers open house Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Public input sought Monday on Northstar Pond

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Documentary on immigration issues will be screened

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Veggie gardening, composting are workshop topics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Visiting prof will discuss Armenian genocide

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Holmes plans open house Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominees sought for Bill Streng Business Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Museum brick sales to end this month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Prostate cancer group looks at massage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Closing education gap will lift economy, a study finds

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Applications due for Rotary’s leadership camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Project Linus meets March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Breakfast with the Bunny tickets on sale now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Snowbird sings the song he always sings

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    It was music to our ears

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Thanks for pet drive support

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Story was an ad for NRA

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Athletes just want time to do their homework

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Let’s not delete Giovanni Barovetto from Davis history

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Low-flow toilets in our parks?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS girls lacrosse coach likes her 2015 squad

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Hawkins enters the home stretch of brilliant UCD career

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devils girls stay undefeated ahead of league opener

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    After a shaky start, DHS stands up to No. 4 St. Mary’s, but loses

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Blue Devils drop softball opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Cousins returns to lift Kings in New York

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    San Jose crushes Canucks behind Nieto

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Features

    Ringing in the Year of the Sheep with dim sum

    By Ann Evans | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    French-Algerian guitarist weaves acoustic spells at The Palms on Friday March 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    California Honeydrops drop in for ‘Down Home’ tour

    By Landon Christensen | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Merna Petersen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6