Texas A&M System Creates Collaborative Learning Center
The Texas A&M University System wants to bring together children and older Texans in a place where everyone can learn and thrive.
The Texas A&M University System and private developers broke ground Tuesday on an intergenerational care facility in College Station. The first part of the project will focus on children and will provide educational experiences in a new preschool. Later, as part of a broader
complex, an assisted living center for older adults will be added to the site.
“We have a shortage of daycare space around here for university and System employees, and we have been eager to address the problem in an innovative way,” Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said. “We chose the approach of intergenerational care because it is good for everybody. Adults benefit from increased socialization and a renewed sense of purpose, while children get more one-on-one attention and a genuine connection to the past.”
The involvement of Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Development in the preschool will allow undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to learn and participate in the care and education of young people.
The preschool is scheduled to open August 2019 and will include full-day programming and services, including afterschool tutoring and family support. It will be two stories with approximately 15,000 square feet on the first floor and about 11,000 square feet on the second
floor. It will serve approximately 235 children.
On first floor, the preschool will have an observational corridor for parents, teachers and staff. And the second floor will include adult classrooms and office space to be used by the College of Education and Human Development. Faculty and staff members will use the space to provide instruction and professional development and conduct research.
Dr. Joyce Alexander, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University, added that the space also will be used for training as part of a new teacher certification for early childhood through Grade 3 specialists.
“The early learning center is going to provide the best possible laboratory for our students who want to work in early childhood development,” Dr. Alexander said. “The vision for the center – and eventually for the combined intergenerational facility – perfectly reflects our dedication to service and our drive to give something back to the youngest and oldest generations of Texas.”
The facility is being built to meet the needs of families in the Brazos Valley. While several quality childcare and family service providers already exist in Bryan-College Station, more options are needed in the rapidly growing community.
Texas A&M System officials anticipate construction of the senior living facility will begin next summer. It will consist of approximately 80 assisted living units and 32 memory care units. In addition to serving as a senior living facility, it will be a true living laboratory to conduct
education, clinical instruction and research for Texas A&M faculty and students.
Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas A&M College of Engineering – as well as other colleges, schools and departments at Texas A&M – will utilize the facility for research relating to developing and deploying technologies in elder care and memory care.
The management team will be led by Wakefield and Affinity Living Group, both national firms specializing in the healthcare industry. The early childhood development center will be managed and operated by Gibson Hasbrouck & Associates, whose CEO, Vicki Gibson, PhD, has national experience in programming and curriculum development.
Denton retired in 2007 after spending 35 years with Texas A&M. He had a passion for integrating technology into classroom instruction and teacher preparation programs and loved education.
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