The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

It’s a small world after all

While parents such as Jayme Fields attend class the City College Child Development Center offers educational activities for their children such as Breanna, pictured. photo by|| Evan E. Duran|| [email protected]

They stand less than four feet tall and carry backpacks that are generally much more colorful than what most college students carry. Their curious eyes seem to look around everywhere trying to catch a glimpse of everyone and everything all at once. But they’re never alone as their small feet rush to keep up with the adult hand tugging them along.

These are the children who attend the Berneice Clayton Child Development Center—and their parents, the City College students who balance academics with parenting.

Jennifer Smith, a 22-year-old sociology major at City College, is mother to 4-year-old Izekiel. Life changed when she had her son, Smith says, giving her a purpose she feels she didn’t have before.

“I was not doing much,” Smith says. “I had no goals, no multidimensional aspects to my life.”

Smith has attended City College for three years, working to get her bachelor’s degree while raising her son.

Smith says she wants her son to be respectful, have ambition and be a good person.

“I want him to know himself and know what he wants,” Smith says.

Keeping up with school work has been challenging for Smith and Jayme Fields, 35, who are both taking six classes this semester. Fields has a 3-year-old named Breanna and recently started going to school again. Her biggest challenge, she says, is trying to find transportation; she and Breanna live in Rancho Cardova and have no car.

While attending classes and studying, both mothers put their children in the care of the staff of the Childcare Development Center.

The center’s director, Lisa Garcia says that the center not only helps City College students and staff while they’re working or attending classes, but also nurtures the children and helps them prepare to move on to kindergarten.

According to Garcia, the Child Development Center is a state-funded program; students must meet the state qualifications with gross family income and family size to be able to qualify for their services. Families with the lowest incomes are considered first.
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The Child Development center offers part- or full-time care, Monday through Thursday 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

“[The work] you see children doing might look like play to you, and it is fun for them as well, but it is a learning environment where they are getting experiences doing math, science, art,” Garcia says.

“They do cooking projects, they learn social skills such as how to take turns and negotiating toys and problem solving.”

Fields says that Breanna is excited going to school with her mom and learning a lot at the Child Development Center.

“Her vocabulary has excelled extremely in the last month that she has been here on campus,” Fields says. “She is maturing right before my eyes. She kind of understands what’s going on [with my stress level] and does the necessary things to make things less stressful for me.”

Smith says she has learned a lot about herself in this experience of balancing motherhood and education.

“I apply it to my own parenting,” Smith says. “I need to learn to manage stress and be more patient, give myself more credit and manage time better for more quality time with my son.”

It’s also hard for her son to have to share her with school because dividing time evenly can be tricky, Smith says.

“He always wants my full attention, but I have to spend time away from him and study,” she says.

Both mothers say even though juggling school with parenting is tough, it’s also beneficial because they see their children growing with them every day.

“It’s always a reward to be a parent,” Fields says. “It gives me a lot of joy to be back in school doing something and to see my daughter being a part of it.”

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