Child Study Centre to close next summer

UBC's Child Study Centre, an interdisciplinary centre for research in child development and early childhood education, will close June 30.

"This decision has not been taken lightly," said Faculty of Education Dean Nancy Sheehan.

"In spite of the high quality of its programs, the Child Study Centre is unable to fulfil adequately the three components of its mandate: research, program demonstration and training, and leadership for the early childhood education field."

Sheehan said that an absence of a representative population of children, including those with special needs, the absence of an undergraduate degree program in early childhood education at UBC, and a lack of financial support for research and program development made it difficult for the centre to fulfil its mandate.

"Each of these constraints makes it difficult for the centre to operate as befits a university-based research and demonstration centre," she said.

The decision to close the centre, which was established in 1961, was made following an extensive external review of the centre.

"It must be emphasized that parents generally hold the centre in high regard, the teachers are well trained and dedicated, and the programs for children appear to be stimulating, creative and appropriate. The reviewers' concerns result from the fact that the centre is not able to fulfil its clearly articulated mandate. Its role as a university-based centre must be questioned," the review report said.

About 150 children aged two to five currently attend the centre, in preschool and kindergarten programs.

The university will consider possible future uses of the facility in the coming months.