Julie Conner / Reporter
Students have many acts to juggle between classes, studying, work and life. If a student is a parent or caretaker having time to study can be very complicated.
Before the pandemic Clark College’s Librarian Dean, Michael Brown said that there were plans to create in the library to give students with children a place to study. But now along with everything else at Clark those plans are changing. Through email, Brown said that the planning, for now, has been put on hold. “We may have to change all previous ideas to adhere to new imposed health guidelines that may require social distancing. Everything is contingent upon the directive the school receives from the governor,” he wrote.
Brown said the project would be a collaboration in work with the Dean of Student Affairs and Engagement, Cath Busha and the directors of Child and Family Studies. Brown said The room would benefit families and accommodate different age ranges while maintaining an appropriate, quiet atmosphere for other library student services.
“Students have multiple roles,” Brown said, “I understand the importance of having these resources available.”
He said he often sat with his own mother on campus before she graduated when he was 12-years-old. In spite of fewer parent accommodations, this was better than being left with his older sister.
The layout and plan for the study room were in the very early stages, Brown said. It would have been located on the second floor of Cannell Library in one of the existing study rooms.
Portland State University campus and the Portland Community College campus both have study rooms.
Brown said Portland State University’s family study room includes a television with DVD player and children’s video, toys and books and a play kitchen with kids’ furniture. There is an all-gender restroom adjacently located for convenience. This room accommodates 2 families at a time.
Portland Community College supplies a Leapfrog tablet with a power cord, memory card games, puzzles, toys, a white dry erase board with markers and an eraser, and a children’s reading area. Reservations for a single-family can be made for this room.
Sarah Theberge, the advisor, and instructor of Early Childhood Education said the task of designing the room and entertainment for the children would be an assignment for her second-year students in the program. They would have to figure out what could keep a wide age-range of children occupied, interested and engaged in, she said.
The study room will consist of portable learning activities and games that could be easily stored and rotated through at different times. This would depend on the amount of storage, space and accessibility the room provides, Theberge said.
Screen-time will not be a part of the Clark College study room. Theberge is interested in her students implementing inexpensive ways of creating games and activities along with gently used books, she said.
Students involved in this activity will be in an environment for young children’s class. The class would have been offered in the summer and fall quarters. Originally Theberge said the room should have been ready when her students finish the assignment spring quarter in 2020, but In a recent email, Theberge said she is not sure what the timeline will be because of the current pandemic.
She said this is usually a service-learning project off-campus.
“We are looking at the community and what is offered for family and children,” Theberge said. “This seems like a good alignment in terms of providing support and knowledge about child development in a particular situation.”
Brown said that parents would have to check out a key to access the study room. It is undetermined if this will have the capacity for more than one family at a time since the room has not been chosen.
Kindra Depoppe has a six-year-old son and said she had plans to attend Clark for the Spring quarter of 2020. She said that daycare and school hours were not a problem, but she was concerned about how she would accomplish her studies in the evening hours.
Clark College avails Child and Family Services but this is only with registration of each child attending. This is limited to ages 1 through preschool and requires an added credit for the parent to take per quarter and a fee.
Depoppe said having a study room that she could bring her child into would enhance her experience at Clark College, especially in the later evening hours.
“It’s just me,” Depoppe said. “I don’t have family or people in Vancouver so he comes everywhere with me in the evenings.”