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USM dedicates new child development center in Pass
By Cassandra Favre
Oct 25, 2013, 23:05

University of Southern Mississippi school officials along with Pass Christian School District Superintendent Beth John celebrate the opening the new center for child development in Pass Christian.

The University of Southern Mississippi on Thursday hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Gulf Coast Center for Child Development in Pass Christian.
"The center is not just a child care facility," Assistant Director for Public Relations at USM Gulf Coast Charmaine Schmermund said. "It will serve primarily as a teaching and research facility for USM faculty and students.
"The students can learn directly from working with the children."
According to officials, the center was built four years ago by the Pass Christian School district.
The center can hold up to 75 students, has five classrooms and a playground.
"We have a good deal to celebrate," USM's Dean of Education and Psychology Ann Blackwell said. "Through this partnership with the Pass Christian School District, we can change lives. "
Blackwell said that Pass Christian School District Superintendent Beth John approached USM with a new vision for the childcare center.
"This center will be a great resource for our students to learn the best practices for early childhood education," Blackwell said.
"Children who attend early education centers are more likely to pursue higher education, make money, have good health and stable relationships," USM Vice President and Campus Executive Officer Frances Lucas said. "They are also less likely to commit crimes.
"This center will serve as a model for childcare centers along the Gulf Coast."
"There are five lead teachers who also serve as USM instructors," Program Manager Rose Jenkins said. "There are four assistant teachers."
Jenkins said they have plans to implement Teaching Strategies Gold, which tracks the progression of how children develop and learn, by observing and collecting data to determine a child's progress.
"This center will serve as a lab school for USM's early childhood education program," Jenkins said. "And also psychology studies.
"In the future I'm hoping to forge a relationship with the foreign language and speech and pathology departments."
The tuition rate for infants and toddlers is $615 per month and the rate for preschool aged children is $525 per month. The center is open from 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the website at www.usm.edu/gulfcoast/child-development


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