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Child development centers on every campus are a plus for kids, and parents, too

Step inside one of Tidewater Community College’s four child development centers and here is what you’ll see: pastels brightening up intimate classrooms that are full of energy and engagement with plenty of time for one-on-one interaction with teachers; a nurturing environment conducive to friendships and sharing, which reinforce social skills; learning galore. Children ages 2 ½ to 5 prepare for kindergarten with lessons on the letters of the alphabet, the five senses and story time, where imagination rules.

One year since the first center opened on the Portsmouth Campus, TCC’s partnership with YWCA South Hampton Roads to bring licensed, affordable child care to students and the community is a success. Child development centers are open inside the student centers on the Chesapeake, Norfolk and Portsmouth campuses and in the Lynnhaven Building on the Virginia Beach Campus.

“I’m constantly amazed at what the children learn,” said Westley Benson, a teacher at the center on the Chesapeake Campus. “They soak up information like sponges.”

Children at Chesapeake begin their day with circle time.
Children at Chesapeake begin their
day with circle time.

Each center offers a classroom for pre-kindergarten (4 years and older) and another for younger children. Daily activities at each include morning and afternoon instruction, crafts, snack, lunch, outdoor time and afternoon rest. All of the centers have state-of-the-art playground equipment with blue cushioning on the ground, a softer landing surface in the event of a spill. Parents are welcome to pop in and can observe without their child knowing they are watching.

“Our main goal is fitting the need for high quality, affordable child care that prepares children for kindergarten,” said Christie Adams, program manager for the centers. “The majority of our staff comes out of TCC’s early childhood education program. I love hiring TCC graduates. They come from a really good foundation.”

Safety is a priority at every center. The entrance leading to all the classrooms is locked. At the Norfolk Campus, where the playground is adjacent to Monticello Avenue, security guards escort the youngsters.

“Having child care on campus has made my life so much easier,” said Jessica Hill, an administration of justice student whose son, Malachi, 3, began attending the center in Norfolk this spring. “I can bring him here and get to class and even get some homework done, all while knowing he’s in a good place.”

Nursing student Alissa McMakin is thrilled with how happy her 4-year-old son, Jameson, is every day at the center on the Portsmouth Campus.

“He wasn’t that interested in learning before; now he loves learning,” she said. “He points out letters everywhere. They’re starting to teach him to read. It’s not just a day care. They’re developing him.”

Teachers speak to the children in full sentences and always encourage them to use their words. Sabrina Gill, whose son, Zechariah, is enrolled in the Virginia Beach center, is amazed at the progress he has made with his speech.

Making stew in the kitchen in Portsmouth.
Making stew in the kitchen in Portsmouth.

“I love the staff,” she said. “I don’t look at them as child care providers; they’re like another momma to him.”

Full-day care (four hours or more) is available along with part-day (less than four hours) and drop-in care. Students can use their financial aid to pay and the cost is based on a sliding fee scale; space is still available at every center. Community members not attending TCC can also use the service. Each center is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. weekdays.

For information on child care registration, visit or call one of the child development centers.

Chesapeake Campus: 757-822-5052
Norfolk Campus: 757-822-1562
Portsmouth Campus: 757-822-2125
Virginia Beach Campus: 757-822-7282