To serve as a model program, to train early childhood professionals, act as a catalyst for quality care and education for children, their families and the community and to generate new knowledge through the study, observation and research of early childhood education.
The Child Care and Development program came into existence at Texas Southmost College in the early 1970's. By January 1982, the program was fully established and provided a strong foundation in child development and provided supervised field training with children from birth to preschool age in a developmentally appropriate lab setting. As part of an agreement with the Texas Education Agency, a campus laboratory school was built and opened in January 1982. It was later named the Raul J. Guerra Early Childhood Center after a TSC college trustee.
The purpose of the Center is two-fold. It provides an environment to enhance each child's development as socially, emotionally, and physically and intellectually competent individual. It also provides a setting for university students in childcare and development as well as related fields to study, observe and gain practical experience in working with young children. The Early Childhood, Nursing, Music and Psychology programs have students who visit the Center to complete assigned field coursework.
The educational program in the Center is based on sound principles of child development. Our goals are to give children a sense of worth by helping them develop at their own individual pace while learning basic skills. We want the children to feel confident and secure enough to explore and grow in a stimulating educational and social environment. We acknowledge and utilize the role of play in the development of children. Play allows children to be curious, creative, inventive and imaginative in an environment that encourages emotional well-being, socialization, communication, cognitive processes and motor skills.
We are committed to promoting and supporting all aspects of a child's growth in an atmosphere of respect. Children participate in a variety of individual and group activities designed to:
- Develop language and reading readiness skills
- Enhance physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth and Develop skills and attitudes, which will increase their ability to succeed in life.
- We strive to build a sense of community for children and family, and to enhance each child's self-concept.
- We do not believe in pushing children and do not pressure children to achieve. By providing the right kind of stimulating, safe and fun environment children can progress and grow at their own pace and in a manager that will support a life-long quest for learning and growth.
The development and training of Center staff is a continuous process, which includes attending workshops, listening to guest speakers and frequent discussion. The staff is encouraged to visit other programs and to take additional courses related to child development.