October 16, 2013 | 10:06 a.m.
By Nicole Finsaas '13
In September, Bethel University’s King Family Foundation Child Development Center (King CDC) received a $75,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to enhance early learning services for participating children and families. The funding will increase services and staff capacity to support the growing needs of Minnesota children and families as they work toward kindergarten readiness. According to MDE, the grant can be used to “serve additional children, increase a child’s duration in a program, support continuity of services, and cover parent fees…including transportation.”
King CDC Program Director Talaya Tolefree says the center is honored to be a recipient of the MDE grant award. “Our children and families will greatly benefit from having the consistency in services that this grant will provide,” she explains. “We recognize that families need various supports and experiences to ensure that children are well prepared for kindergarten, and a part of that is ensuring that children are academically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and cognitively prepared. This means that children, parents, educators, and community members work together in a collaborative effort to provide access and to engage in best practices.”
Founded in 1998 as a joint venture between Bethel University and Union Gospel Mission, the King CDC provides high quality school-readiness programs for children ages 16 months to 12 years. Its Out-of-School-Time Program, for children in grades K through 6, operates full days throughout the summer and on school release days, and offers before- and after-school care during the school year. All programs are taught from a Christ-centered perspective and aim to build cultural awareness and social and emotional development. The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has received a 4-Star rating, the highest possible Parent Aware rating.
Both the King CDC and the Bethel University Child Development Center on Bethel’s main campus also serve as labs for Bethel students. Their teaching experiences in these professional environments prepare them to bring innovative skills to a variety of educational settings after graduation.