The Gulf Coast Center for Child Development at The University of Southern Mississippi celebrated its grand opening Oct. 24 in Pass Christian. The center hosted the ceremony to commemorate its new partnership with the community and the Pass Christian School District.
Primarily serving as a teaching and research facility for university faculty and students, the state-of-the-art learning facility provides interactive experiences for students majoring in Child and family Studies. For the community, the center serves as a full-day early care and education program for children ages eight weeks through five years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The center, which demonstrates a model classroom, features teachers who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
“This is such a good day for the College of Education of Psychology and for Southern Miss,” said the college’s dean, Dr. Ann Blackwell. “It’s a celebration of children, a celebration of education and a celebration of partnerships. We are so thankful for the partnerships we have established on the Gulf Coast, and certainly the partnership with the Pass Christian School District.”
In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony, the center announced its curriculum to be used in the classroom. Utilizing Teaching Strategies Gold, the center will incorporate the use of observation-based assessment to gather information on each child’s development and learning. The information will be used to support each child’s learning to meet their individual needs.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming curriculum,” said Mandy Guy, parent and co-chair of the Parent Advisory Board for the Gulf Coast Center for Child Development. “With common core in place in schools, the center will be aware of where my children are supposed to be with their development, which is key for a successful transition to kindergarten.
“Also, the teachers and student teachers are just awesome. The comfort of knowing they love your children just as much as you do, it makes you feel secure knowing they are in good hands.”
The center, which offers quality programming for children, was constructed four years ago by the Pass Christian School District. The $1.5 million facility is located at 205 Leovy Avenue near Pass Christian Elementary School. The center, which accommodates up to 75 students, features five classrooms and an enclosed playground. This is the second child development center operated by Southern Miss. The first center is located on the university’s Hattiesburg campus.
The Gulf Coast Center for Child Development, open Monday through Friday 6:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., operates year round and follows the university’s holiday schedule for closings. For more information, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast/child-development.