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Childcare Center Opens at Reed

By Lauren Cooper ’16 on December 08, 2015 02:04 PM

SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT. Students, professors, and staff can now get professional childcare for their kids on campus. Photo by Tom Humphrey

To the merry sound of shrieks and giggles, a childcare center opened on the Reed campus this semester, serving about 50 kids from infants to preschoolers, spread over five classrooms.

Located in the northwest corner of campus (near the site of the former Eastmoreland Hospital), the new center is operated by Growing Seeds, an independent provider that runs two other centers in Portland, and employs several Reed students as part-time teachers.

Professors, staff, and students have long lamented the shortage of affordable childcare in the neighborhood. In fact, the center is the result of almost 20 years of planning, led by a faculty/staff committee that included Prof. Gail Berkeley Sherman [English], Prof. Jennifer Corpus [psych], Prof. Elizabeth Drumm [Spanish], Prof. Kathryn Oleson [psych], Prof. Paul Silverstein [sociology], communications guru Stacey Kim, and stats master Mike Tamada.

“This started 20 years ago as a women’s issue,” says Vice President and Treasurer Lorraine Arvin. “It’s now a young parents’ issue.”

Anita Magaña works as a graphic designer at Reed’s office of public affairs and has a son at Growing Seeds. “As a new staff member, Growing Seeds has enriched my experience at Reed by allowing me to form meaningful connections with other staff members who I might not otherwise cross paths with,” she says.

Children of faculty, staff, and students account for roughly half the center’s enrollment—the rest are drawn from the local neighborhood.

Psychology major Jacob Badger ’16 is currently writing a thesis on child development, specifically in regards to autonomous, intrinsically motivated learning. “Working in an environment where that is at the core of their philosophy is an invaluable experience,” he says.  

Anthro major Natalie Allen ’16 also finds working at Growing Seeds valuable. “The world I experience at Growing Seeds is radically different from my world at Reed, which is very refreshing,” she says. “It’s a reminder that there are a lot of important things going on outside, a provocation to consider how I might contribute to the world in a meaningful way.”

On a recent morning we caught a glimpse of Growing Seeds teacher Cody Thomas pushing a giant stroller packed with no fewer than 10 toddlers across the Blue Bridge, escorted by teacher Kyle Lutz strumming a guitar.