Twentynine Palms -- Combat Center leaders and community members attended the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the base’s new Child Development Center April 13, 2016.
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Brent Norquist, deputy assistant chief of staff, Marine Corps Community Services, spoke about the development center’s innovative design and its importance to Combat Center families.
“It’s the largest child development center in the Marine Corps and was designed to generate all the power that it consumes,” said Norquist. “It has a wonderful utilitarian design and is also aesthetically pleasing.”
The new development center, also known as ‘Stepping Stones’, accommodates extra space and learning resources for 304 children, 64 more children than the old facility was equipped for.
“The children will get a good start on their education,” said Corinne van den Blink, facility director, CDC. “Our goal is not only babysitting, but providing children with developmental care.”
The facility follows the creative curriculum developed by Headquarters Marine Corps, which, according to May Ford, Child and Youth Programs administrator, CDC, is rated number one in the country.
In addition to an exceptional curriculum, the outdoor play area is equipped with slides, logs, and new toys for children to play and learn with.
“The center was designed to incorporate nature,” said Ford. “Spending time in a nature-oriented environment allows the children to stimulate their imagination.”
According to Ford, the development center provides military families with the support they need while parents fulfill their military obligations.
“The military community needs childcare in order to be at their assigned place of duty,” Ford said. “With this facility, they won’t have to worry about finding care outside the gate.”
The CDC cares for children from six weeks old to six years old and its hours of operation are weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Parents can apply for the volunteer program, which allows them to volunteer to teach their own children’s classes. Parents who want to get involved can call the Children and Youth Resource and Referral Office at (760) 830-3349.