Iris Millman, left, is joined by Euthena Millman Fruchtman, Leif Fruchtman, Jack Fruchtman Sr., with Jack Fruchtman Jr. and twin brother Owen Fruchtman wearing.

The Children’s Center at the College of Staten Island is an invaluable asset to many CSI students struggling to balance obtaining a college degree with raising a family, with many parents citing the Center as one of the major reasons that they were able to earn their degrees.

According to The Children’s Center staff, many of the families in the Center are “multi-generational,” with parents who once attended The Children’s Center as children now taking advantage of the Center’s excellent facilities and services for their own children.

Iris Millman, who received her Associate’s degree in 1980 and a BS in Art in 1983, claims that without The Children’s Center she would not have been able to earn her degree, saying, “I was very happy to have such a program available to me, without the support of the Children’s Center, I could not have received my Bachelor’s degree and I am sure there are many mothers who could say the same.”

Iris’s experience is especially telling as she is part of three generations of people who have made use of The Children’s Center’s services in order to earn their degrees. “Grandma” Mary Millman received her degree in Nursing from CSI in 1972. Her children Dwight, John, and Robert, and daughter Kathy also graduated from CSI, explained Iris at her grandson’s stepping-up ceremony at The Children’s Center. “I married Dwight and also received my degree with the help of The Children’s Center. My daughter, Euthena Millman-Fruchtman, has taken advantage of the same services she participated in as a child and just recently received her bachelor’s degree from CSI, as well. Her twins, Jack and Owen, can also say they went to college with mommy and it was great. As Euthena goes for her Master’s, baby Leif will also attend.”

The Center serves as a “home base for CSI students,” said Cynthia Murphy, Director of The Children’s Center. “A parent can go to class, check on their child between classes, and even meet with staff. Many also work, and without the support from The Children’s Center, they would not have the ability to attend classes and seek degrees.”

The Children’s Center, located in Building 2R, began as a grassroots program at Staten Island Community College by parents who were enrolled in classes at the Sunnyside campus.  it was made possible by the cooperative effort of student-parents who agreed to watch each other’s children while their peers were in class.

Today, The Children’s Center at CSI enjoys a proud legacy while providing quality child care and early childhood education programs for children of students at CSI. The Center offers infant/toddler, preschool, and school-age programs—all featuring hands-on learning experiences in a caring, well-supervised environment. It is funded through a state grant, a Federal Childcare Grant, a USDA food grant, parent fees, and CSI Student Activity fees. In addition, a New York City Department of Education Grant that provides a universal pre-kindergarten program for 20 four-year-old children has been in place since 1998.

The Center is operated under the non-profit corporation of the CSI Association, Inc., and is currently licensed to provide services for 121 children at a time, from six months to nine years of age.

The teachers, who are certified in Early Childhood Education, along with the assistant teachers, focus on the individual development of each child in the social and emotional, cognitive and language, and physical and aesthetic domains through play-based learning.

The Center also provides field placements for several internships at CSI including students studying education, nursing, social work, and physical therapy.

Enrollment for The Children’s Center is limited to children of CSI students, with an affordable fee of $2 per hour (subject to change) based on the number of hours that the child is registered.  Additional fee assistance is available for income-eligible families. Universal pre-kindergarten hours are funded by the Department of Education and are free.

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