Students seek local childcare

By Lorna Hartman, Staff Writer


EWU students who are also parents must work out child care logistics in order to go to school.

Shane Mabrey, a student and single father, drops off his 5-year-old son Jonas at EWU Children's Center.
Shane Mabrey, a student and single father, drops off his 5-year-old son Jonas at EWU Children’s Center.

Cheney has three main child care centers: the EWU Children’s Center, Noah’s Ark Early Learning Academy and Giggling Guest Childcare. This does not take into account smaller or home-based daycare options.

Shane Mabrey sends his 5-year-old son to the EWU child care center. Mabrey is a senior psychology major and a single father preparing to enter Eastern’s applied psychology master’s program in school counseling. His son also attends the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, a preschool preparation program for low-income families that is offered through the child care center and funded by the state.

“I had to wait almost one year to get him in the children’s center when he was still 3,” said Mabrey. “Finding care for very small children is really tough, but as they get older [it] becomes easier.”

“Thanks to his attendance through [the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program], and an ASEWU contribution I receive as a student, I only end up having to pay around $200 a month for almost 30 hours a week of child care,” he said. “I am also a veteran and sometimes receive child care grants through them.”

Thirty hours per week of child care at EWU Children’s Center, without financial assistance, would cost about $550 per month and possibly more. This is comparable to other Cheney child care centers’ rates.

Betsy White is a senior government major with a minor in American Indian studies. She is an honor roll student and has six children ranging in age from 4 to 16. White has been sending her children to the EWU Children’s Center for the past two years.

White’s youngest, who is 4 years old, is not in school yet and is the only child who requires care. He attends the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program as well as the regular child care program at the EWU Children’s Center.

White’s older two children attended the ECEAP program at a local school and did not have daycare before and after the program. “It was a struggle to figure out who was going to stop what they were doing and go get them from preschool,” said White. “When there was an opportunity for my youngest son to do ECEAP at Eastern, we jumped at the opportunity.”

According to White, her cost of care is comparable to other daycares around town. “Eastern does subsidize a bit,” she said. “[My cost] is running about $300 a month.”

Darla Hammond, a senior humanities major, said, “I have family and without them I could not afford to come to school, but child care on campus is cheaper than going to an outside provider.”

Kasey Bates, director of the EWU Children’s Center, said that the EWU child care program is run by the YMCA. Bates and other staff members are actually employed by the YMCA, and Eastern provides a support fee that helps subsidize child care for students who are also parents.

“We have a wonderful caring staff [whose] heart is here with the children,” said Bates. “It’s a fun environment.”

Debbie Tester, director of Noah’s Ark Early Learning Academy Director, is also the children’s and family pastor at Cheney Church of the Nazarene, where the child care center is located. “Because we are in the church,” said Tester, “we do have a spiritual aspect. We pray with the kids and we have Bible stories with the kids.”

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