UCLA parents express approval for expanded evening child care program
The Little Bruins Clubhouse has been modified with more activities, games and books to create a friendly space for children. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)
May 29, 2017 7:57 p.m.
Parenting students said they are pleased with the extended hours and improved facilities at the Little Bruins Clubhouse, an evening child care service.
UCLA Recreation officially opened the child care program April 12 after implementing suggestions it received during the program’s winter pilot phase. The program aims to provide student parents with more time to engage in evening activities on campus.
The clubhouse is on the second floor of the John Wooden Center and is open from Monday to Thursday from 4-9 p.m., two hours longer than its winter operating hours.
The program is funded by the Social Justice Referendum, which passed in spring 2016, to help alleviate student parents’ child care costs. The program is currently free for all students, but UCLA Recreation is considering charging graduate students a nominal fee as the program grows, according to a UCLA Recreation statement.
UCLA Recreation added it has organized more activities in the space with interactive games, toys and books for children in response to feedback from student parents who used the program during the winter.
Students with dependents said they think the new activities create a friendlier environment for the children to play in.
Christine Waters, a third-year gender studies student and a parent who has used the program since the pilot stage, said she likes the program’s new reading corner and arts and crafts section.
“Last quarter, (Little Bruins Clubhouse) only had a few tables, and there were no toys or anything for the kids to play with, so I kept a bag of toys in my trunk so my daughter would have something to play with,” Waters said. “Now the clubhouse has had a complete makeover.”
Elvia Martinez, an intern with the Students with Dependents Program and a fourth-year Latin American studies and history student, said she has received positive feedback from several parenting students.
“The clubhouse gives parents a place where their children can interact with other children while parents can study and get involved on campus or use the gym,” Martinez said.
Javier Rodriguez, a fourth-year anthropology student and a parent, said the program has given him more time to participate in student groups, and he is excited to see it reach more parenting students.
Some student parents said they think UCLA Recreation should better publicize the clubhouse.
“My only concern with the clubhouse is that not enough parenting students know that it exists on campus,” Waters said. “Right now my daughter is still one of the few children who are going there, and whenever she goes, it seems like she is by herself with the staff.”
The clubhouse operates on a rolling basis and has enrolled 29 children out of the 40 available spaces this quarter, according to the UCLA Recreation statement.
Recreation said it worked with the Bruin Resource Center, Community Programs Office and UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services to promote the clubhouse’s grand opening earlier this quarter. Recreation added it will continue to improve the program this year.