Utah State University’s Tooele Regional Campus will now enroll children ages 2 through 9 with one admission requirement — they must be potty trained.
USU Tooele Regional Campus’ Little Tooele Aggies Early Education Center is now accepting children from the general public. The center previously restricted enrollment to children of the faculty, students and staff of USU; the Tooele Applied Technology College; and the Tooele School District’s adult education program.
“We have room for more children,” said Rita Tipton, USU childcare facility director. “And I thought it would be a service to the public, as well as a good opportunity, to get people out here to this side of town to see what USU has to offer.”
The center is located in room 104 in the northwest corner of the Tooele School District’s Community Learning Center at 211 S. Tooele Boulevard. The CLC is just south of the USU Tooele Regional Campus and directly across the street from the new TATC building.
The room was designed for a childcare facility with access to a fenced outdoor play area on one end, and at the other end, an area with a one-way mirror that allows for nonintrusive observation.
Eventually the center will be part of an early education program offered at USU Tooele, Tipton said. The observation area will allow students enrolled in an early childhood education program to watch students without disrupting normal activities.
Tipton teaches pre-school at the center from 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The curriculum covers letters, numbers, shapes, crafts and colors.
When not engaged in pre-school activities the children are involved in a variety of activities at learning centers spaced throughout the room.
USU rents the space from the school district and operates the center. Originally the idea was to accommodate students that needed somebody to care for their children while they attended classes, said Tipton.
Tipton has been the center’s director since October 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Newman University in Wichita, Kan., and is currently working on a masters degree in early childhood education at USU.
“I moved to Tooele to be closer to family and I replied to an ad for the center director position,” she said. “I used to teach older children in third through fifth grade. I found that I really enjoy working with the younger kids here.”
Little Tooele Aggies is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate children of students in evening classes at USU and TATC. The fee is $2 per hour.