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College students who have children juggle course work while caring for their family.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Children’s Learning and Care Center takes some of the burden off their shoulders by providing flexible, full-time child care.

The Children’s Learning and Care Center was established in 1971, the first of its kind in the UW System. Today, the center is open to staff too. Students receiving financial aid are given first priority for scheduling. There is no minimum or maximum number of hours or days a parent can schedule.

“We provide as little or as much care as they need,” Director Sandra Kust said. “We’ll also accommodate around their class and work schedules.”

The care center is open from 7:15 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. during fall and spring semesters and interims, but parents can make arrangements to drop their children off outside the normal hours.

Kust encourages parents to submit child care schedules at the beginning of each semester to ensure availability, especially during busy times.

Sixty student workers staff the five classrooms in Swart Hall, along with caretakers who have bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education.

Alumna Jacquie Bluim ’96, started working in the center as an undergraduate in 1990 and was hired full time in the infant teachers position following graduation. Bluim now teaches two-year-olds at the center.

Most student workers are paid through work study and have majors in UW Oshkosh’s College of Education and Human Services.

“The care center is a convenient, on-campus option for education majors who are looking to satisfy their major and volunteer requirements,” Kust said.

During the fall semester, the care center averaged about 87 children per day and has cared for up 110 children at a time.

The center has an outdoor playground and a large indoor play area. Nutritious snacks and juice are provided twice daily; however, parents should bring lunches for children scheduled during lunchtime.

For more information about the Children Learning and Care Center visit, www.uwosh.edu/childrens_center.

Working Mother’s Network

The Women’s Center provides another form of support for working mothers. They host Working Mothers Network from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every second Saturday of the month at Starbucks, 240 W. Murdock Ave. Oshkosh.

The two-hour discussion groups allow working mothers to connect and discuss issues related to a weekly topic, while their children are monitored by UW Oshkosh’s Titan Volunteers.

“The network is intended to be a support system for working mothers by helping them relieve stress,” Women’s Center Director Jennifer Castillo-Foster said.

The next network meeting is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feb. 14. Financial expert Kate Thome from Principle Financial Group will discuss ways to stay on track for a financially secure future.

Those interested in attending should RSVP as soon as possible to womenscenter@uwosh.edu, specifying the number and age of children needing care.

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