New Early Childhood Center Opens on Campus

May 18, 2023

Office of Marketing & Strategic Communications

A new building for the nationally accredited Early Childhood Center at San Antonio College will open this summer, providing childcare services for SAC students, staff, faculty and the community for children under 4 years of age.

Early Childhood Center 1.jpgThe center will also serve as a teaching lab for SAC’s early childhood studies program.

The new facility will enhance and expand the center’s nationally recognized childcare program. The ECC is the first childcare center in San Antonio to earn accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which it has held continuously since 1986.

The center has also earned the highest certification from the Texas Rising Star program, a quality and improvement system for early childhood programs.

Now, with the new center, the ECC continues to lead the way in childcare in the region.

“This new facility will help SAC continue a long tradition of excellence in both early childhood education and in training the next generation of early childhood professionals,” said Dr. Naydeen González-De Jesús, president of San Antonio College.

Classrooms are customized for children by age, with rooms for infants, mobile infants, and preschool children, all designed so children can learn, play, eat, nap and use the restrooms without leaving the room.

Early Childhood Center 4.jpgEach classroom also has direct access to an enclosed, age-appropriate playground. A covered patio provides ample space to play outside even when it’s raining.

A maker space room supports the center’s project-based curriculum. A warming kitchen allows the center to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The facility also includes a teacher workspace and planning rooms.

The entrance to the center features two sets of security doors that allow staff to control entry to the building. Once inside, a gathering space with tables and chairs has a drop-down screen to serve as a meeting and learning space. Large cubbies provide room for strollers and car seats to accommodate bus riders. A private room for nursing mothers includes a rocking chair and sink.

With a new location off San Pedro Avenue near a new parking garage, the facility is more accessible for students.

“The new location is going to be so much better for students,” said Teresa Robledo, coordinator of the Early Childhood Center. “Now we’re in the middle of things, so they can park in the garage, drop off their child and walk right to class.”

The center is also a learning lab for students in SAC’s early childhood studies program, the first community college program in Texas to be accredited by NAEYC. Students complete their lab hours in the center to earn their associate degree or certificate in early childhood studies.

“They’re actually getting training hours and the experience of being in the classroom here,” Robledo said.

The building includes several features to create a learning lab for SAC early childhood studies students. Classrooms have large windows that allow for easy observation for students and instructors. An observation room with audio and video capabilities will enable students to observe classroom activities in real time and even rewind footage to observe situations. Instructors can watch clips of classroom activities with students and discuss what they see.

Early Childhood Center 3.jpg the high-quality childcare offered at the center, SAC students often bring their children back to the center for care even after they graduate, Robledo said.

“We really set the bar to show them what quality childcare is,” Robledo said. “When they graduate and go to other centers they look for the same quality we have here. Sometimes they find it, sometimes they don’t, but previous families are coming back because they want their child here.”

The ECC shares the new $15.4 million, 21,000-square-foot building with the Santikos Micronaut Center, which provides a space-themed STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) experience for young children.

Both centers are part of the Capital Improvement Plan, an initiative to modernize and revitalize the SAC campus. Bexar County voters approved $83 million in general obligation bond funding in 2017 for improvements to existing facilities and the addition of new ones at San Antonio College.