UTC Children's Center expands for VW families

UTC Children's Center expands for VW families

August 30th, 2009 by Joan Garrett McClane in Volkswagen


* How many attend?

The center, with a staff of 26, enrolls 104 children from newborn to kindergarten, and the waiting list is nine months long.

* How much does it cost?

Tuition is between $550 and $680 each month.

* Where is the center?

In 2005, the center, which opened in 1979 on the UTC campus, expanded to two downtown sites -- Brown and Battle academies.

Source: UTC Children's Center


Since the Children's Center is expanding classroom space, no local families with children on the center's waiting list, typically nine months long, will be bumped out of place, officials said.

"No one who was on a wait list will lose any kind of opportunity," said Dr. Rutledge.

To accommodate an expected surge of international families, UTC's Children's Center will open two new classrooms in Brown Academy and hire a German-speaking teacher.

About 20 families considering a move to Chattanooga for work at Vokswagen's assembly plant have toured the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Children's Center location at Brown Academy, said Cindy Hornsby, coordinator.

International families employed through Volkswagen are interested in the Children's Center because its methods for educating young children closely mirror those used in Germany, said Valerie Rutledge, department head for the UTC Teacher Preparation Academy.

The center's curriculum exposes children to the arts and provides them with the basic knowledge they would need to move into an international baccalaureate curriculum, she said.

"We want to make sure their language and culture are sustained while they are here," she said.

Children in Germany begin formal instruction around the age of 3, while informal child care is more popular in the United States, Ms. Hornsby said.

The Children's Center is one of only three day-care centers in the Chattanooga area accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, she said.

The German-speaking teacher, who will be shared with the Hamilton County school system, will help translate for German-speaking parents and teach the language in the classroom.

"The exposure to the diversity will be great for all the families and the kids," Ms. Hornsby said.

Most of the German or international families considering the Children's Center plan to return overseas eventually, so having an education for their children that will allow a smooth transition back to another educational system is important, Dr. Rutlege said.

"The children will be over here for a certain amount of time," she said.