Preschool in Chicago, IL 60612
1919 W Taylor St Rm 116 # M/c5
Chicago, IL 60612
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UIC Children’s Center is located at two on-campus sites. The Children’s Center provides full-day early childhood education services to 90-96 preschool children of UIC students, faculty, and staff. The children range in age from two years, nine months to six years. All children must be toilet trained.
As well as providing quality, developmentally appropriate full-day preschool services, the Children’s Center serves as a demonstration site for the constructivist early childhood curriculum developed by former UIC professors Constance KamII and Rheta DeVries and based upon the theory of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget.
Both Children’s Center sites are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
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The Children’s Center is a demonstration site for a constructivist curriculum developed by former UIC professors Constance KamII and Rheta DeVries and based upon the theory of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Using this approach, teachers encourage children to think and solve problems in their own way, rather than to memorize specific information and solve problems in an adult manner. Integral to this curriculum is the idea that young children think differently than older children and adults.
The Center’s emphasis is on children’s learning through play rather than teacher-directed, specific academic activities. As an integral component of any developmental curriculum, play is essential for children to learn. Through play, children have the opportunity to explore the world around them and pursue their own ideas. Teachers carefully plan the classroom environment, choose materials, and develop activities based on their formal educational training and in conjunction with observations of childrens interests and current abilities. Play offers children the opportunity to use language, literacy, and mathematics in meaningful ways. Cooking activities, story dictation, and board games are just a few of the activities children engage in on a daily basis that help them develop the fundamental building blocks necessary for future school success. Play is also a valuable tool for social and emotional development. Through play, children begin to develop self-esteem, self-regulation, empathy towards others, and the skills necessary to become productive members of society. We stress the development of each child’s curiosity, confidence, independence, and resourcefulness both in and out of the classroom. Teachers encourage children to discuss their ideas and to resolve problems using words and ideas. Children are cared for in mixed-age classrooms. Mixed-age groupings more naturally encourage older children to help younger ones and give younger children ideas and models. Children are assigned by the site director to a classroom of either three- and four-year olds or four- and five-year olds. This is the kindergarten experience for some children in the older group. Children must leave the Center when they are ready to attend first grade. The site director considers the age of the child and the make-up of the classroom in assigning children to a particular classroom. Most children start at the beginning of fall semester; others are enrolled as openings occur.
The Center does enroll children with special needs (a generally recognized and persistent physical, cognitive, or emotional disability) whenever feasible for the child and the Center. In such cases, an appropriate statement from the childs physician or professional referring agency must be submitted at the time of enrollment. Center staff may obtain the assistance of a qualified consultant prior to and throughout the childs enrollment. If a child develops signs of special needs after enrolling in the program, Center staff will provide the parent with information about available resources for the diagnosis of the childs possible condition. Such diagnostic information will be required for continued enrollment in the program. The Center may also obtain the assistance of a qualified consultant to help develop appropriate program plans, to assess the feasibility of continued care at the Center, and to coordinate services with other agencies. In the event that the Centers program and staff can no longer adequately meet the individual needs of the child, the director will set a date for termination of Center services and will offer the parent(s) information about alternative resources.