CAC’s New Early Learning Center Re-Opens!

Center Offers More than Just Child-Care

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Kamille Ritchie, Cactus Staff Writer

With affordable costs and flexible hours, Signal Peak’s Early Learning Center is ready to serve you. Thanks to the Easter Seals Blake Foundation, the childcare centers at both the Signal Peak and Superstition Mountain campuses reopened for business on the 17th of August. The humble centers gives your child the opportunity to be their own person and explore their interests. Recently, I sat down with Signal Peak director, Chozyn Pizarro, to learn a little more of what the facilities have to offer. After a memorable summer working as a junior camp counselor Ms. Pizarro knew this was something she wanted to do: “I absolutely loved it.” She has worked with children at various child care facilities, mainly KinderCare, since 1994. After years of training and a series of modules related to the field, Ms. Pizarro is serving her first time as a director of the Signal Peak center.

The center and its staff has made it their mission to create an environment in which a child can find comfort and thrive. “We pride ourselves on having a very calm environment,” Pizarro states. While this information might have piqued your interest, be aware of one thing: this is not an ordinary child-care facility. Signal Peak Early Learning Center is modelled on the Reggio Emilia Approach. Its basic principles summed up from the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance consist of importance placed on the participation of both the child and families, educational documentation, shared responsibilities and connected experiences, listening, and project-based emergent curriculum. Inside the center’s two classrooms, parents and students can find many natural elements in the environment, for example, different types of woods and earth tones; the center also uses items you might find at home, ceramic kitchen dishes is one example. “We try to mimic what they have at home,” Pizarro stresses. No bright, primary colored plastic toys here.

Children can expect to find their curriculum enjoyable as it is tailored specifically by their interests. One of the three teachers will spend a day observing the children in search of what catches their interests. Once they do find something, they create a project related to that interest. They fit their curriculum to the child and not the other way around. The unique child-care environment will serve as a learning lab for CAC’s Early Childcare Education students as well as for the Nursing Department who has shown interest in using the facilities. You may be thinking, ‘How can a parent be okay with an interest-based curriculum? How does this prepare my child for Kindergarten?’ As of now, the parents of the center’s children haven’t complained. According to Pizarro, “Our parent feedback has been really positive… ” The facility and its staff pride themselves on the fact that it is not a day care nor is it just a child-care facility, “We’re an early learning center. Children will be prepared for Kindergarten.”

If you’re interested in bringing your child to Signal Peak Early Learning Center, there are several things you should know. Tuition for full time or 55 hours is $150 per week; part time, about 25 hours, is $100 per week. Its hours are between 7 am and 6 pm, but the staff at the center are willing to work with your schedule; the center is only open, however, Monday through Friday. If you are in need of work or looking for somewhere to volunteer, they are accepting applications, although you must be 18 or older and have a fingerprints clearance card in addition to an updated TB test. To find out more information on Signal Peak Early Learning center, please contact either 520.449.1512 or 520.494.5140.