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The Whelan Center: Loyola University New Orleans Little Treasure

Loyola press release - March 26, 1999

(New Orleans)—The Whelan Children’s Center was created at Loyola University New Orleans 10 years ago out of a need to offer campus child care services for faculty, staff and students. The center was named after the Rev. James Francis Whelan, S.J., the first chair of Loyola’s Department of Education and member of the first board that established teaching requirements for the state of Louisiana.

The center began with one director, two full-time teachers, two practicum students, five work-study students and 30 children. The center offered day programs for children 12 months to four years and evening care for children up to 12.

Today, the center has grown to a full-time staff of 12, with two part-time staff, 25 work-study students and 62 children ranging in age from four months to five years. All of the center’s preschool teachers hold degrees. The center’s curriculum takes a developmental approach, with all activities enhancing the physical, social, intellectual and emotional development of the child. For example, two-year-olds learn about cultural activities, music, and letter and color recognition. Older children work on the center’s two computers, learn to problem solve, develop handwriting skills, write journals, and begin kindergarten preparation.

"The center is successful because an employee, student, or member of the New Orleans community can bring their child to Loyola and know their child is happy. Knowing the center will provide quality care and instruction makes parents feel secure," Kim Hebert, director of the Whelan Center, says. "The children are the best part of the center," Hebert adds, "they make coming to work fun."

Day-long activities celebrating the Whelan Center’s 10 years of success will be held at the center on Loyola’s main campus, 6363 St. Charles Ave. on Sunday, April 11, 1999, from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Celebration activities include: tours of the center showing changes from the past to the present; food booths and a fund-raising raffle for prizes such as hotel stays and dinners at local restaurants. Children’s activities include games, face paintings, and a space walk. The celebration is promoting the belief that children are the key to our future. For more information, contact the Whelan Children’s Center at (504) 865-2273.