ASBSU passes a bill to support student parents with learning workshops

Illustration by Kelsey Mason

ASBSU passed a bill during a joint assembly meeting on Oct. 26, sponsoring $15,000 dollars for 60 student parents to participate in training workshops called the READY! For Kindergarten® program through Boise State’s Children Center.

The pilot program will span six workshops once a month on Friday afternoons providing free lunch, childcare and parent-child engagement toolkits. The six workshops will occur in two different sessions: three workshops in the Nov-Jan session, and three workshops in the Feb-April session. Workshop one focuses on language and literacy, workshop two focuses on math and reasoning and workshop three on the social and emotional aspects of being a student parent.

The bill was introduced by underserved population representatives Amelia Jobe, Josie Kennedy, Kaylee Rank and Mark Nelson. Jobe presented the bill to the joint assembly meeting after it was tabled the week prior. 

“So the hope is to really draw attention to childcare and the need that student parents have on campus in the bill … and it’s just crazy that there is not really resources specifically for students with children and that needs to be addressed, especially when one in five students on campus have children,” Jobe said. “I hope that this is implemented and that students take advantage of it and that it is well received.” 

The student parent population in universities make up 22% of undergraduates, around one in five college students. In contrast to other demographics, student parents experience more debt, around  two-and-a-half times higher than students not raising children. On top of debt, student parents  spend more money on necessities like clothing, food, transportation, housing and utilities. 

Keeping these realities in mind, it makes sense that only 37% of student parents make it to graduation or complete a certificate in six years, compared to non-parenting students with a 59% rate of graduating in six years according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 

“The goal of the workshops is to teach parents how to manage time at school. It’s designed for when they’re with their children, to have quality time with their children, it’s not the quantity of time that they spend with their children,” Nelson said. “Children can be successful if they have parents that spend quality time, so they’re trying to give them the tools to teach your kids when you’re with them in a learning environment where they’re happy to learn, so that we have future students at BSU.” 

READY! For Kindergarten® has been implemented across college campuses for 20 years with a curriculum designed for student-parents with children under six years of age in alliance with The Children’s Reading Foundation and Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children.

Jobe wants to continue to partner with the Children’s Center to find more solutions for supporting student parents in the future. 

“I hope that this initial period of collaboration with ASU can bring two departments together — the children’s center and then student government — that we can work to unite the student needs, with the capabilities of programs on campuses so that we can find a solution and hopefully provide child care or other support resources along this, along these topics in the future,” Jobe said. 

Boise State’s Children’s Center on campus, seeks to provide care for students, faculty and staff. Children ages two months to five years can access play-based learning approaches and full-time care with teachers. The facility includes a nursing mothers room and a parent study room, and hours are open during the week Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. 

“The Children’s Center assists student parents in a number of ways, making their experience as students and parents easier. We are a nationally accredited center that provides full time care allowing our student parents peace of mind that their children are receiving the highest quality early care and education while they are growing as adult learners,” Director of the Boise State Children’s Center and adjunct faculty member in Early Childhood Education, Nichole Billetz stated in an email to The Arbiter.

Billetz will facilitate the workshops in the upcoming months.

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