UIC Children’s Center celebrates 50 years

The UIC Children’s Center serves children ages 2 years, 9 months, to 5 years old. Photo: UIC Creative and Digital Services

The UIC Children’s Center, the early childhood education and child care center on the UIC campus, is celebrating 50 years of providing exceptional care to the children of UIC students, faculty and staff.

Located on the west side of campus, the UIC Children’s Center enrolls 50 children ages 2 years, 9 months, through 5 years old. The program operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Historically we’ve been an important piece on campus,” said Kim Kull, center director.

The center first opened on the east side of campus Jan. 16, 1972, to provide low-cost, on-campus child care for students, faculty and staff. It originally was part of the UIC College of Education, later becoming a unit within Student Affairs. A second location was added in 1984, and in 2012, financial and operational challenges made it necessary to consolidate the sites to the current west side location. Throughout its history, the Children’s Center has maintained a sliding tuition scale for all families.

All of the teachers at the center have a minimum of a bachelor’s degrees in early childhood development and a wide range of teaching experience, from professionals new to the field to a teacher with over 30 years of experience. The center has received several distinctions of high quality, including its recent reaccreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a distinction the center has worked to maintain since 1989.

All of our classrooms are taught by degreed teachers, which is above the industry standard for child care programs across the United States,” Kull said.

The center supports children through a developmentally appropriate learning approach. This approach recognizes that children learn though play, through intentional interactions with adults and peers, and opportunities to explore both in the classroom and outside on the playground. 

Central to its mission, the UIC Children’s Center also serves as a model site for students and researchers interested in learning about young children, how they develop, and the environments best suited for them to grow and learn. Through partnerships with the College of Education, among other UIC units and colleges, the Children’s Center regularly hosts students for observations, short and long-term fieldwork experiences and data collection related to a variety of research projects. Graduate students studying early childhood education are incorporated into classroom teaching teams, giving them the opportunity for on-the-job training and mentorship. The center has worked with researchers on topics ranging from nutrition to social and emotional learning. 

Spots are available at the center for members of the UIC community who are looking for exceptional care for their children. Those interested in enrolling children at the center can apply online.

“I’ve had families remember us 28 years later, and it’s because of how they felt while their children were enrolled here,” Kull said. “The children were safe, learning and growing, allowing their parents to thrive in their studies, research and work here at the university. The whole family found a supportive community.”

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