SCSU Strategic Planning & Reporting
Student Life & Development

DEPARTMENT: Lindgren Child Care Center
DIRECTOR: Debra Carlson
PHONE NUMBER: (320) 255-3296


St. Cloud State University's Lindgren Child Care Center provides infant, toddler, and preschool-aged care to the children of S.C.S.U. students, staff, and faculty. It is a not-for-profit center that additionally is a training and observation resource to the academic departments of the entire campus, and is a model of excellence for the community.

"Campus child care is a significant phenomena on our college campuses. While the college campus is still seen as territory for a community of scholars, it is also seen as a community that is part and parcel of everyday life. It is a community far removed from the ivory tower and deeply and joyfully enmeshed in family life. Students are no longer just students; they are student parents and their children are carried with them as regularly as are their books." (Campus Child Care Issues and Practices, p.viii, "Voices" by Dr. David A Bickimer, National Coalition for Campus Child Care Inc., Milwaukee, WI, 1988.)


  • Providing the highest quality services possible to our constituents.
  • Respecting differences and working toward greater diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Demonstrate civility in all discourse.
  • Responsible use of fiscal and human resources to serve students in fulfilling the goals of Student Life and Development and the university mission.



  • Lead teaching staff, with excellent professional credentials and low turnover.
    • Most teachers are National Association for the Education of Young Children members, some members of National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers.
    • All teachers have Bachelor's of Science Degrees with MN Teaching Certification, one has a Master's Degree.
    • Male teacher lends diversity to staff.
  • Energetic student staff.
  • Early Care and Ed Curriculum is eclectic: chooses best from several models, requires open minds to new ideas.
  • Director is a full-time administrator with years of experience and good networking connections.
  • Contributes to other departments on many levels: practicum students, student teachers, observations, assessments, media and communication classes.
  • National accreditation.
  • Model of excellence to the child care community...considered best in town by advocates.
  • Staff are motivated to maintain excellent distinction of accreditation through frequent and challenging professional development.
  • Always working on environment improvements.
  • Comprehensive student staff training component.
  • Constant focus on health and safety measures.
  • Toddler teacher and director have significant years longevity in positions.
  • Supportive student government and fee allocation committee.
  • An expectation of high quality because of our university connection.
  • Teachers salaries and fringe benefits are good compared to the profession.


  • Student staff that turns over frequently.
  • Limited infant and toddler space.
  • Non-existent professional teaching staff environment such as desks, phones, storage, PC's, and adult bathrooms.
  • Poor staff coat room.
  • Poor entrance security on all doors.
  • Entrance access system needs to be computerized.
  • Not enough child bathrooms.
  • Insufficient toy and material storage.
  • Parent education program needs to be enhanced.
  • Need a staff person as curriculum and education coordinator.
  • Need more staff of color.
  • Window treatments are ancient and need replacing.
  • Teacher's salaries are a weakness compared to other campus employees of similar or lesser responsibility.
  • No computers in classrooms.
  • Not highly visible on campus.
  • Parents experience difficulties with drop-off parking this year.
  • No office equipment or space to put it on (e.g. copy machine, laminator).


  • The Lindgren name/connection could be an opportunity.
  • The Boys and Girls Club and Head Start collaboration [this is an opportunity to perhaps provide additional services through collaboration].
  • We are an outstanding training site for student teachers, and can be for the early care and education community in the area.
  • Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and the 1% Pell allocation of the CAMPUS amendment to the reauthorization.
  • Provides multicultural environment.
  • Access to enrichment opportunities.
  • Access to professional expertise.
  • Opportunity to influence over 100 young adults each year in practices of good child development.
  • Laboratory school relationship with the department of Child and Family Studies.
  • Charging a lab fee each time a practicum class or student uses the center.


  • The Boys and Girls Club and Head Start collaboration [this is a threat if child care services are offered as competition to us]. Other child care centers opening in the community could be the same.
  • Welfare reform, M-FIP welfare reform no longer pays child care costs to individuals (almost always women) to attend four-year post secondary programs.
  • Declining college student enrollment.
  • Possibility of outsourcing.

External Environment

  • Right now there is a great deal of political talk about early care and education programs. All politicians are talking about the issue.
  • The child care fund is pushing closer to full funding here in Minnesota.
  • Public schools seem to hire away the excellent early care and education staff.
  • Payment (for child care fees) by third party payers is hooked to national accreditation.
  • There is a new age 0 - 8 yrs. Professional license. We do not yet know how to judge the effect of this new licensure.
  • Developmentally appropriate practice still reigns as the overriding pedagogy.


  • Project work by children, and assessment portfolios are hot.
  • Reggio Emilio (these pedagogical curricula are trendy today).
  • Brain Development research.
  • Peace and Tolerance curriculums.
  • Graduation standards.
  • Ratio improvements.
  • Accreditation.
  • Continued growth in labor force participation rates of women.
  • The growth in the U.S. population under six will come entirely from children of color or Hispanic origin.
  • All parents are increasingly enrolling their young children in early education.
  • Parents with a sense of flexibility in work and family lives are more likely to choose center care.
  • Family incomes will further polarize at the upper and lower ends of the income spectrum making choice in child care difficult for the poorest families.
  • The significant increases in public funding in the next few years will come for early education and not for child care.
    [#'s 7 - 12 are from "Trends in Demand for Center-Based Child Care and Early Education" by David Allen, in Child Care Information Exchange, September 1998].

University Themes

Academic Distinction

Student Life and Development will, through its programs, services, and cooperative ventures with faculty, compliment the academic mission of the University. In addition, SLD will provide students with distinctive opportunities to develop cultural, sensitivity, leadership, social and career oriented skills necessary for future success.

Departmental Objectives and Current/Ongoing Initiatives

Goal 1. The curriculum delivery of the Lindgren Child Care Center is founded in nationally defined Developmentally Appropriate Practice. This position statement, identified by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, came about as a response to a growing trend toward more formal, academic instruction of young children, and to provide guidelines for national accreditation. Children are the recipients of excellent early education programming and practice.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to maintain a high standard of excellence through national accreditation
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. Each teacher will implement developmentally appropriate curricula in their classrooms.
  • Outcome Measure 1.3. Director and teacher will retreat for a day to do curriculum development to improve current practice.

Goal 2. The Lindgren Child Care Center is and continues as a practicum/field experience site for many campus academic departments, including Child and Family Studies, Communication Disorders, Speech Communications, Mass Communications, etc.

  • Outcome Measure 2.1. We keep track of the hours per year that students use the center as a practicum site to document our use as a practicum facility.

Goal 3. Child and Family Studies student teachers are placed with us because our lead teachers hold MN teachers licenses, and serve as excellent advanced teachers/mentors.

  • Outcome Measure 3.1. There is one student teacher per semester placed with each teacher.
  • Outcome Measure 3.2. Lead teachers participate in College of Education "teach ins", providing field expertise dialog with departmental faculty. Their dialog is evaluative to the department.

Goal 4. We are funded to provide a graduate assistantship to a qualified SCSU graduate student, to work as assistant teacher, in our preschool classroom.

  • Outcome Measure 4.1. Graduate assistant will provide feedback to lead teacher and will be considered part of the educational team delivering the curriculum.

Goal 5. We provide a full day of pre-service training plus at least one additional hour of training each month to our entire student staff. This comprises about 50 student employees.

  • Outcome Measure 5.1. Students sign-in at trainings, and records of attendance is kept in each student employee's staff file.
  • Outcome Measure 5.2. Students have alternative trainings if they are absent: articles to read and tests to take, videos to watch.
  • Outcome Measure 5.3. Students have opportunity to complete anonymous questionnaires about the effectiveness of trainings, and make suggestions for additional trainings.
  • Outcome Measure 5.4. Students and lead teachers evaluate the student's work performance via an established instrument.
  • Outcome Measure 5.5. Lead teachers mentor student employees via effective dialog both on the job and at after-hours trainings.

New Initiatives for this Academic Year

Goal 1. A parent education program has been defined as a new initiative this year.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We intend to hire a parent educator to implement the parent education program.

Goal 2. We will continue dialog with the Department of Child and Family Studies to enhance our lab school role with them.

  • Outcome Measure 2.1. Director will meet with department chair to inquire about process.

Goals for the Future (1 - 2 years)

Goal 1. The lead personnel of the center are asked each semester to teach courses in the Child and Family Studies department.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. Director will work with department to find appropriate compatible times in the evening for overload teaching.

Goal 2. Center will strive to improve the teacher work spaces for academic work of teachers.

  • Outcome Measure 2.1. Director will ask Associate Vice President for Facilities Management to have a design prepared for our staff workroom.

A Service Community

Student Life and Development will put students first in everything that we do. Guided by periodic assessment, we will provide the highest quality student services possible, cognizant of the diverse needs of our students. Further, SL & D will model and advance the values of civility and service to others in an effort to develop a safer and more effective living-learning community.

Departmental Objectives and Current/Ongoing Initiatives

Goal 1. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to deliver comprehensive high quality infant, toddler, and preschool-aged early care and education to the children of SCSU students, staff, and faculty as our fundamental mission.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We survey parents at the end of each semester, to solicit their assessment of the quality of service and solicit their input for improvement.
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. Our license, defined as DHS Rule 3 in MN 9503.0006 identifies for us minimum standards for us to achieve, especially safety measures that include monthly fire and tornado drills, background checks on all staff, identifying parents and persons authorized to pick-up children, and sign-in/sign-out sheets to monitor who is in care on an hourly basis.
  • Outcome Measure 1.3. Our national accreditation ensures we meet high professional standards beyond the minimums proscribed by licensure.

Goal 2. The Lindgren Child Care Center will utilize parent-friendly billing policies. Our billing policies are designed to support student parents by having a half-time rate structure, a reduced fee subsidized by student activity fees, and users are not charged when the center is closed.

  • Outcome Measure 2.1. User rates are periodically compared to user rates in the community. Student user fees are estimated to be 25% below market rates in the St. Cloud community.
  • Outcome Measure 2.2. The parent advisory board, which has 5 - 7 student members, decided on the current fee structure after a year of deliberation in 1995. It is designed to allow student users the greatest flexibility while capturing the greatest amount of revenue.
  • Outcome Measure 2.3. Our annual budget request/review process with Student Government Fee Allocation Committee additionally advises on fee structure, as options for revenue generation are presented to them.

Goal 3. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to implement excellent early childhood curriculum. Each of our program rooms has a curriculum designed and delivered by the lead teacher of that room, with other employees assisting in that curriculum delivery.

  • Outcome Measure 3.1. Room curricula are written, revised and updated as part of the national accreditation process.
  • Outcome Measure 3.2. Toddler and preschool teachers use a theme-based eclectic curriculum infused with the "Teaching Tolerance" overall curriculum based on the books Starting Small and You Can't Say You Can't Play. Weekly lesson plans of these curricula are submitted to director for review.

Goal 4. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to implement excellent student staff training. The quality of our service is integrally related to the training of our paraprofessional student staff. Their ongoing training must develop them as competent staff in a relatively short time.

  • Outcome Measure 4.1. Six to eight weeks into the semester student staff evaluate their own performance via an evaluation instrument. The lead teachers then evaluate the staff using the same instrument. When students have had a chance to review teacher's evaluations, they are invited to schedule appointments with the teachers to discuss differences. Both parties complement strengths and suggest improvements.
  • Outcome Measure 4.2. Mid-year student staffs fill-out a survey about the adequacy of their training, and make suggestions for training improvements or deficiencies. Teachers and director design staff training from these surveys.
  • Outcome Measure 4.3. Center license guidelines DHS Rule 3, MS9503.0006 to 9503.0170 require all staff receive training equivalent to 2% of their paid staff hours, reflective of needs defined in the staff evaluations.

Goal 5. The full-time staff of Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to develop professionally. The quality of our service is directly alligned to the professional preparation and supportive training of our lead teaching staff.

  • Outcome Measure 5.1. All lead teachers must have a minimum of Bachelor's Degree and must hold a Minnesota Pre-K license from the Department of Children, Families and Learning.
  • Outcome Measure 5.2. Lead teachers must join the national professional organization, the NAEYC, and maintain their professional membership.
  • Outcome Measure 5.3. The director periodically spends hours observing in each classroom and gives 1:1 feedback to teachers about their work.
  • Outcome Measure 5.4. Teachers and director evaluate performance via university instrument.

Goal 6. Operating a child care for student, staff, and faculty children that is to a great extent staffed by students, and entirely funded by students is an empowering endeavor. It supports a coherent and integrated view of campus community life here at SCSU: focusing purpose, upholding justice, fostering openness and honesty, maintaining obligation to the common good, and is caring and affirming of the campus members whose lives it touches. This is done in a setting of the highest quality employing techniques and theories of developmentally appropriate practice as defined by the researchers of the field. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue these practices.

  • Outcome Measure 6.1. Student workers frequently select Early Childhood Education as their field of study each year, as a result of their experiences at the center.
  • Outcome Measure 6.2. Practicum students from departments throughout campus put-in 200 hours of practicum in the center 1997 - 1998. In addition, one CFS class sent students for approximately 50 hours of practicum. These field experiences are invaluable additions to student's pedagogy.

New Initiatives for this Academic Year

Goal 1. We believe SCSU should have a greater presence in the St. Cloud community providing training to currently employed early care and educators. The Lindgren Child Care Center intends to offer such a training.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We were awarded a training grant to do diversity education for early care and education staff persons. A program intern is currently working on this project, which will be evaluated by participants. Subsequent programming could be contemplated based on evaluations.

Goal 2. We believe our student staff demographics should more closely approximate the demographics of our children. We intend to address this disparity.

  • Outcome Measure 2.1. We were awarded a small grant to hire one staff member of color in our preschool room.

Goal 3. We continue to make improvements in our environment.

  • Outcome Measure 3.1. Improvements made to physical environment include: concrete trike path, ramp, preschool climber.
  • Outcome Measure 3.2. We will ask for a larger storage shed, new vinyl on toddler floor and the center to be repainted over semester break.

Goals for the Future (1 - 2 years)

Goal 1. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to evaluate and create services consistent with demand. Our current infant and toddler waiting lists indicate huge demand for this type of care. Between July 15 and October 7, 20 new infants have added to our wait list.

  • Outcome 1.1. Sponsor an infant/toddler specialist to visit and re-design our current space to accommodate more infants and toddlers, and fewer preschoolers.
    • resources needed: $10-15,000 to hire Tourelli Durett early environments firm to do current site re-design.
    • Based on a., resources would be needed to carry out site recommendations.

Goal 2. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has identified child care as a need for the campus community. If SCSU wishes to be a family-friendly employer these needs should be addressed. This would require a true collaboration among campus constituencies: CWS, IFO/Feminist Issues Committee, MSUAASF, Council 6 and other bargaining units, students and administration.

  • Outcome 2.1. Meet with CSW and Feminist issues Committee to evaluate where identified needs might be, and collaborative possibilities.
  • Outcome 2.2. Evaluate whether collaboration among identified partners might be feasible.

Goal 3. The 1998 (Student) Survey indicates that 5% of respondents use child care. Extrapolated over a student head count of 13,000, 650 children use child care. Roughly 10% of those children are 5 years and older, leaving 585 children age 0 - 5 who are dependents of SCSU students and who are in child care. If only 15% of those 585 use center-based care, our center would need to care for 88 children instead of our current 47. We will continue to evaluate this need.

  • Outcome 3.1. Planning grant $ for site renovation (denied in 1998) needs to be reconsidered.
  • Outcome 3.2. Perhaps local/campus dollars could be sought for planning.

Diversity and Justice

Student Life and Development through staff contacts, programs and services will foster an understanding of human differences and promote a just community in which every student is free to learn and grow.

Departments within Student Life and Development will provide a supportive civil and welcoming environment for all members of the University community.

Student Life and Development will improve staff understanding of human differences and needs as they pertain to the delivery of services.

Departmental Objectives and Current/Ongoing Initiatives

Goal 1. Dr. Bernard Franklin was invited to present on the topic of confronting bias in our service delivery August 24, 1998.

  • Outcome 1.1. Staff evaluations (oral) indicated a need for him to more specifically address the early childhood classroom environment

Goal 2. The Lindgren Child Care Center has begun implementing the Starting Small peace and tolerance curriculum philosophies.

  • Outcome 2.1. All teachers and director will read and discuss text at teacher's meetings.
  • Outcome 2.2. Starting Small video will be shown and discussed at staff trainings.
  • Outcome 2.3. Newsletter articles to parents will inform about our efforts.

Goal 3. We will continue to improve diversity materials and presentations in our classroom environment.

  • Outcome 3.1. New materials appropriate to represent human diversity will be purchased for classrooms.
  • Outcome 3.2. New art will be displayed.

Goal 4. We continue to improve our curriculums in all three rooms with respect to diversity and justice.

  • Outcome 4.1. Preschool teacher and director will evaluate peace and tolerance programming in the preschool room. Based on evaluations, other rooms will implement appropriate curriculums.
  • Outcome 4.2. Stacy York's new diversity curriculum guides will be purchased and used.

Goal 5. We will continue ongoing staff development in diversity and curriculum.

  • Outcome 5.1. Annual training plan will have trainings focused on diversity in the early childhood classroom.

New Initiatives for this Academic Year

Goal 1. The Lindgren Child Care Center will sponsor a grant-funded all-day training on the topic of Affirming Culture in Early Childhood Programs, for all our staff and invited community early childhood staff members.

  • Outcome 1.1. Evaluations will be solicited from participants after the training.
  • Outcome 1.2. The SCSU Student Chapter of MN Association for the Education of Young Children, will be invited to collaborate in the sponsorship.

Goal 2. We will seek additional Cultural Diversity monies to assist student parents of Color with their child care costs, to improve their retention.

  • Outcome 2.1. Implement child care assistance program with Minority Student Programs, to award funds.
  • Outcome 2.2. Survey recipients of funds inquiring how the funds assisted them.

Goal 3. Seek funds to hire more student staff of color.

  • Outcome 3.1. A grant request to Child Care Choices, Inc. to hire increased student staff of color has been made.

Goals for the Future (1 - 2 years)

Goal 1. We expect to implement our justice and tolerance curriculums in all threeclassrooms.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. Teachers will have a working retreat session with director to discuss and brainstorm implementation.

Information Technology is an important tool to realize many strategies.

Student Life and Development will develop and utilize information technology ethically and appropriately to improve services and program access to students and other constituents, with the goals of enhancing academic success and learning in the context of global society.

Departmental Objectives and Current/Ongoing Initiatives

Goal 1. The Lindgren Child Care Center will continue to examine the usefulness and application of computer use with children in the classroom.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. Third year student employees (2) will conduct research in the literature regarding use of computers by preK-aged children, and such studies' findings.
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. Based on finding of 1.1, we will either increase or eliminate our preschool computer lab.

New Initiatives for this Academic Year

Goal 1. Office management software exists that is made specific to child care delivery. We will look into the purchase of such software.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We (director and director's assistant) will conduct comparison of computer software.
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. Based on comparisons, we will purchase office management computer software.

Goals for the Future (1 - 2 years)

Goal 1. Security has been an ongoing concern by both staff and parents at the Lindgren Child Care Center.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We will investigate the use of password security system.
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. Perhaps that system could be linked to our new management software.

Goal 2. The lead teachers do not have adequate work areas and office space.

  • Outcome Measure 2.1. Will investigate installing work carrels in the staff room for each teacher, each of which will be computer equipped.
  • Outcome Measure 2.2. The entire staff area will be studied for renovation.

University-External Relationships will be the key to many of our aspirations.

Community perception of the value that the university provides determines the level of our support. As a public university, SCSU has the responsibility to be a leading force in intellectual, cultural, and economic development and contribute to the fabric of Central Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

Student Life and Development, through its programs and staff leadership, will contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of the citizens of Central Minnesota.

Student Life and Development will promote and model positive involvement in the community by St. Cloud State University students and staff.

Departmental Objectives and Current/Ongoing Initiatives

Goal 1. The Lindgren Child Care Center will be an active resource sharing our collective expertise with the community.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We will cosponsor a full-day training workshop for area early educators on the topic "Many Ways to Grow: Supporting Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Settings".
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. We maintain a notice board where community members can identify child care opportunities for our student employees. Advertisers know that our well-trained professional staff comprise the pool of excellent employees for their needs.
  • Outcome Measure 1.3. As a nationally accredited center, we expect to be a model of excellence for the community.
  • Outcome Measure 1.4. We will participate, as a group as well as individual staff members, in local professional associations and activities, respresenting the collective wisdom and best practice of the Lindgren Child Care Center.

New Initiatives for this Academic Year

Goal 1. Supply educational delivery to parents.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. We will deliver a parent education program for our parents, and for parents at a local manufacturing site.

Goals for the Future (1 - 2 years)

Goal 1. Seek possible ways to enhance our delivery.

  • Outcome Measure 1.1. Continue dialoging with other service delivery agencies around the topic of expanded delivery.
  • Outcome Measure 1.2. Meet with other campus constituencies toward goal of a one-stop family center.