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February 12, 2004

Early Childhood Education Forums to Develop Plan for SCV’s Future

The Santa Clarita Valley’s explosive growth poses a dilemma for those in the business of providing early childhood education and care. Their biggest challenge is to keep pace with the community’s residential growth and the ever-increasing number of families with young children who need education and care.

That and other issues will be addressed during a series of three special forums designed to bring administrators and providers of early childhood education together with local business leaders. Participants in the March 23, April 27 and May 8 forums will explore the issues and trends affecting children’s programs now and in the future. The ultimate goal is to develop a game plan that will meet local needs.

“Santa Clarita’s growth rate has exceeded that of both L.A. County and California,” said Diane Stewart, assistant dean of child development and education at College of the Canyons. “And that creates a unique problem for providers of education and care. Not only do we have to keep up with the demand, but we also have to plan now for the types of training and programs that level of growth will create.”

Stewart and others hope the answers and a plan of action will emerge from the forums, which are organized by the college’s Family Studies & Early Childhood Education Department and Economic Development Division.

The forums are supported by a broad cross section of community and statewide agencies and organizations: the City of Santa Clarita, the Saugus Union School District, I.D.E.A.S., the Childcare Resource & Referral Agency, the Santa Clarita Valley Family Daycare Association, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the Carl Perkins Act, VTEA and the California Early Childcare Education Mentor Teacher Program.
The forums are:
Santa Clarita Growing and Changing
7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 23
The City of Santa Clarita’s “One Valley, One Vision” plan will be presented, as will current and pending construction projects in the valley.
Early Care & Education Needed to Meet Community Growth
7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 27
Discussion will focus on current and emerging trands in early childhood care and education.
Putting it All Together: Building a Plan for the Future
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8
Participants will define the issues with the most impact on their programs and services, as well as develop a planning process.
All three sessions will be held at the Activities Center of the George A. Caravalho Sports Complex, 20880 Center Point Parkway, Canyon Country. Refreshments will be provided during the first two forums, and lunch will be provided during the third and final workshop.