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Orange County Digest

Open House at Children's Center Shows Kids at Play

April 27, 1985|ROBERT HANLEY \f7

Parents, a few politicians and plenty of kids were on hand Friday afternoon for the Woodbridge Children's Center open house. The center, operated by the Irvine Unified School District on the campus of Woodbridge Instant School, is intended for children whose parents both work and would otherwise be left without after-school supervision.

At the open house Friday, the center's doors were thrown for visitors who were able to see the children enrolled in all 17 of Irvine's elementary schools doing what they do best, playing--in the sandbox, in the classrooms and especially in some corn starch mush that looked a lot like thick, lumpy yellow finger paint.

Jeff Smith, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Cloverdale Elementary School, was enthusiastic about the center, where he goes every day after school. "I like it here, we have lots of fun," said the freckled youth. "We can do crafts in our classrooms and we can keep animals," Jeff said, while showing off a guinea pig named Gizmo.

One parent, Dona Longacre, who is a member of the center's parent advisory committee, was also pleased. "It's been very, very good, because the parents have been able to be involved." A single mother who has all three of her children in the center, Longacre said she places a lot of faith in the teachers and administrators running the day-care facility. "Our children spend more time here than with us," she said.

During the open house, many of the children still waiting for their folks to pick them up formed a circle in the middle of the playground. As an old phonograph played USA for Africa's "We are the World," the children and teachers held hands and sang before releasing helium- filled balloons which floated lazily into the sky over Woodbridge. Their message: "I am a priority. We are the Children."

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