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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Lemberg celebrates groundbreaking ceremony

Published: September 27, 2013
Section: Front Page, News

Celebrating the creation of a new child care facility to be built on South Street, President Fred Lawrence cut the ribbon at the groundbreaking ceremony for Lemberg Children’s Center this past Tuesday. The proposed center will address the increasing demand for child care services by both the Brandeis and Waltham communities.

With waiting lists of over 60 children, the current center is no longer able to satisfy the needs of professors or families in surrounding areas. According to Howard Baker, executive director of Lemberg, the new facility will be able to provide care for approximately 70 children, more than doubling the current capacity of about 30 children.

Baker further revealed that the new facility will be equipped to incorporate an entirely new demographic: infant and toddler care. Previously, the center has been only able to provide care for children between the ages of 22 months to 6 years. Given the state of the old facility, Baker said “we couldn’t set up a classroom that would be safe for them.” The current facility lacks handicap accessibility as well, an ongoing issue which will be corrected in the new center.

Hoping to resolves these issues with the new facility, Baker claimed “our goal is to continue to have very exciting early child care program, internationally and nationally highly regarded”

Currently providing care for approximately 30 children according to Baker, and employing roughly 80 students from Brandeis University, the center is brimmed to capacity.
The establishment of a new facility will not only practically double this capacity, but provide opportunities for part time care as well.

The implementation of a new center could potentially provide additional job and experiential opportunities to undergraduate students as well. Of the the 80 students currently employed by Lemberg, Baker estimates approximately 50 to 60 of the students work between 8 and 12 hours a week.

Beyond providing work study employment, the expansion of the Lemberg Center will enable Brandeis students to further supplement their course work. Barker reveals “We want to expand our synergies with the university departments.” The new facility will incorporate observation areas, where undergraduates can observe teaching methods, conduct research for developmental psychology, or witness speech and occupational therapy.

“Part of our work is to try to help them to become good teachers,” Barker said.

The center does not solely provide care for the children of faculty and staff members, but further provides services to lower income families in the Waltham areas as well. A portion of the children attending the center are English language learners.

Stressing the importance of establishing ties between the university and Lemberg, Barker comments on the possibility of expanding programs led by undergraduates. The music department, for instance, would have the ability to introduce children to a greater selection of instruments, enhancing supplementary educational opportunities offered.

“We learn while doing things we love—that’s basically something we want college students to take to heart by doing hands on activities with the children,” Baker explains, urging clubs and organization on campus to become involved with the students. He states, “if you’re into sculpting, throw the clay on the pit and watch them build with it.”

The new facility is expected to open within six to eight months. In the meantime, the current location will continue to serve as the Lemberg Children’s Center. Discussing the advantages of this strategy, Baker comments on the ability to place money that would have been used towards funding for a temporary space towards the design of an entirely new facility.

In anticipation of the new Lemberg facility, Baker states, “the field of early childhood education is recognized more and more for the foundation of childrens’ learning, their success in school and for being socially competent.”