June 2010 cover SCAN - St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
June 2010
 
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Andrea Olson, assistant professor of psychology, and her two daughters at the Early Childhood Center PlaygroundEarly Childhood Center Playground
St. Paul Campus
 
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ASSISTANT PROFESSOR ANDREA OLSON

It’s the kind of enthusiasm that warms a mother’s heart. Associate Professor of Psychology Andrea Olson sends her two daughters to the Early Childhood Center, a preschool program on the St. Paul campus that provides care for children of students, staff, faculty and community members while offering training and observation opportunities for students in the University’s education programs.

“In the morning when I drop my younger girl off, she literally starts running down the sidewalk toward the school,” Olson says. “I think of it as an analogy for what St. Kate’s fosters for the University students as well. They are running forward to learn.”

Founded in 1931, the Early Childhood Center is home to 46 children, ages 33 months to 6 years. Nestled between two residence halls, the preschool’s playground is a hive of activity year round. As long as the temperature is above zero, children enjoy two daily playground breaks. The wide-open space is a place of recreation, but it’s also a place of reunion.

“I love my job, but I always tell the girls that my favorite part of the day is when I can go to the playground and scoop them up,” Olson says. “The kids are running around, happy, safe and part of the campus community. St. Kate’s is their school, too.”