Teaching Tech’s Littlest Learners
Lawrence (front left) and Watson-Grier (front right), along with the rest of their team, serve children and families of the Tech community through two on-campus child care facilities.
Georgia Tech is primarily thought of as a place for higher education, but in two places on campus, there are learners of a much younger age.
Tech is home to two child development centers that serve Tech families and those in the surrounding community. The R. Kirk Landon Learning Center and The Children’s Campus @ Georgia Tech are early education centers, managed by Bright Horizons, that offer high-quality child care right on Tech’s campus.
The centers are in two different locations, about two blocks apart and both just off 10th Street, but operate somewhat jointly. Both serve infants through pre-K age, and they work together to find space to enroll children. Both offer full-time care (with The Children’s Campus also offering part-time care in its two- and three-year-old programs), and both have immediate availability.
“We want to dispel the misconception that we’re always full,” said Erica Watson-Grier, director of the R. Kirk Landon Learning Center. At one time that may have been the case, she said, but since the opening of The Children’s Campus in 2012, the two centers have been able to provide early learning for many more families.
Still, it helps to plan for care as early as possible. Shalitha Lawrence, director of The Children’s Campus, encourages parents to tour both centers as soon as they know they are expecting a child.
For expectant parents, exploring child care options may be overwhelming. Lawrence and Watson-Grier suggest touring their centers, but also recommend that, no matter where parents enroll their children, they should expect high-quality care. R. Kirk is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), meaning it has lower teacher-child ratio, as well as parent involvement programs; The Children’s Campus is in the process of receiving the same accreditation.
“Learning begins at infancy,” said Watson-Grier, who has a background in early child education and has been with R. Kirk for three years. “We don’t only educate children, but also serve as a resource for families in educating their children.”
The centers also partner with families by offering an open door policy, meaning parents can stop by to see their children during the day at any time.
Lawrence acknowledges that finding high-quality care at an affordable price is hard, particularly in the Midtown area. Both R. Kirk and The Children’s Campus are proud to offer more affordable care than other nearby centers, while maintaining a high-quality curriculum and experience.
All Bright Horizons centers use an emergent curriculum, meaning teachers design lesson plans and learning experiences based on the interest of the children — so no two centers are doing the same thing on a given day. Being at Georgia Tech, both centers also incorporate STEM activities into their curriculum, and teach math and science at all ages, including infancy.
“It may not be math and science as you have seen it before,” Watson-Grier said.
Right now, the R. Kirk Landon Learning Center has immediate availability in its toddler and preschool groups, and The Children’s Campus has space in its two- and three-year-old groups. Both directors encourage Tech families to visit the centers, even if they are not yet parents.
“We really want parents to come and fall in love with the environment,” said Lawrence, who has worked at both campus centers and been with Bright Horizons for 14 years.
One upcoming opportunity to do that is at a Fall Festival on Oct. 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. at R. Kirk. Representatives from both centers will also be at the upcoming Benefits Fair on Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.
Both centers also offer summer camp programs for children ages 4 (rising kindergarteners) through 8. The campuses follow the Atlanta Public School calendar and also offer camp programs for fall break, winter break, and spring break, with daily and weekly rates.
To learn more about both centers, visit brighthorizons.com/georgiatech.