Weekend College will teach its first off-site classes this fall in an effort to reach more people.

Weekend College Director Brian Lenhart said the program is partnering with Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of McKinney to provide the child care facility’s staff a path to further education. The owners of the Kids ‘R’ Kids West McKinney campus is paying for interested staff members to take Saturday classes at the Kids ‘R’ Kids campus which work toward a Occupational Skills Award (OSA) in Child Development. The classes will also be open to the public.

These off-site classes are a new venture for Weekend College, which provides classes on each of Collin College’s three main campuses on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. Lenhart said that while Collin College has offered similar opportunities at other times, these classes will be the first offered off-site by Weekend College.

“It’s part of an outreach to see if we can meet some of the needs of the community through Weekend College,” he said. “If they can’t come to us, then let’s go to them.”

Lenhart worked with Dr. Elaine Zweig to identify potential opportunities and to develop the off-site program. Dr. Zweig said that in the past, off-site classes on child development were held in the evening after the child care facility had closed.

“The owner (of Kids ‘R’ Kids) knows that quality equates to education,” Dr. Zweig said. “He wants his teachers to know the latest information in child care and research on children.”

Christy Peterson, a Collin College grad and the director of Kids ‘R’ Kids West McKinney campus, said the classes will benefit the facility as much as it does the workers who choose to take the classes. She said that recommended early childhood education technique change regularly and these classes will ensure their staff has the latest training.

Collin College’s is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Peterson said that is a mark of quality early childhood education training.

“I know that Collin College is one of the few NAEYC-accredited training programs, so we want our teachers to get the very best,” she said. “Our owners are really invested in our teachers, because while the pay for early childhood education is not the most lucrative, it is very important.”

Lenhart was pleased that Weekend College could help facilitate the classes and that someone was eager to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It was pretty amazing to find someone who was willing to invest so much in his employees,” Lenhart said.