Moving from base to base can be tough for military families, especially for children. Luckily, there are several services available for families that are new to Tinker Air Force Base to ease the transition.
“We truly believe Air Force Child & Youth Programs have the best child and youth development services in the world,” said 72nd Force Support Squadron Child and Youth Services Flight Chief, Mary Duncan.
Duncan oversees all child and youth development programs at Tinker, including the School Liaison Program. She says the CDC program, which averages about 275 staff members, caters to about 600 children, ranging in age from 6 weeks to 5 years old. The CDC are nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and are recognized locally by Oklahoma Department of Human Services as a Three Star Program.
“All of our staff members receive substantial training that far exceeds what many civilian child care programs require,” Duncan said. “I also think it’s important to note that we aren’t just a “day care center”; we focus on developing the whole child, not just caring for them.”
There are three CDCs on base. CDC East is located in Bldg. 3904 and can be reached by calling 734-4212. CDC West is located at Bldg. 5510 and can be reached at 734-3116. CDC South is located in Bldg. 1101 and can be reached by calling 582-9025.
According to Duncan, there is a waiting list for the CDCs, but she says there is one viable solution: Family Child Care program.
“We’re always looking for professional, passionate individuals to provide child development services from the comfort of their own home,” Duncan said.
Duncan says FCC providers not only have the opportunity to work from home, but could also make approximately $60,000 per year doing so.
For more information on becoming a FCC provider, please contact the
FCC Coordinator at 734-7190 or visit tinker.af.mil.
The School Age Program, which is accredited by the Council of Accreditation, offers children supervised educational, social, cultural and recreational programs in a safe and healthy environment, Youth Programs Director Mindy Whittington said.
“We want to provide parents peace of mind,” Whittington said. “We want them to be able to go to work and complete their DOD Mission, and not have to worry about the safety of their children.”
In addition to the School Age Program, Whittington says the Youth Center offers a social program for teens and pre-teens, youth sports for ages 3-18, instructional classes, and summer day camp for the School Age Program and teens.
“We’ve got a lot of exciting activities, events, field trips and camps planned this summer,” she said. “If you are looking for a great place to take your children, come see [our programs] in action.”
The Youth Center is located in Bldg. 5520.
Tinker is also served by Jason Crosby, the base’s School Liaison Officer. Crosby helps incoming families with choosing the right school choice for their children, whether it’s public, private, charter, virtual or home school. He can be reached at 734-3683.