The philosophy at the Children's Center is that children are capable, confident, unique individuals with rights. We also feel that learning happens for children when children feel safe and secure in their environment both physically and emotionally. The base of our curriculum is in Social and Emotional Development. By involving the children in activities that have meaning and relate to their everyday world, our children feel successful. We base our assessment of children and plan our activities by focusing on individual strengths and interests. The number of adults to children at the center offers comfort and one-on-one attention and interaction. There is usually an adult to listen to, play with, read a story, or hold a child, etc. We encourage the children to become empathetic to the needs of other, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and active members of their communities. We encourage the children to work out problems, take chances, try new things, become involved, experiment, etc. We also try to help the children trust themselves and their abilities while they meet the challenges of being part of a group each day.
We believe that relationships and bonds with caregivers are highly critical to both the academic and social/emotional development of young children. In order to enhance these relationships, we have implemented a Looping model, where teachers move with the children as the "age up" into the next classroom level. We feel that this continuity of care has multiple benefits for children and families.
We do not teach academics in a way that is familiar to most people. Instead we hope to plant the seeds of wonder so that when the children are ready to learn academic skills, they will have the desire. Through positive experiences, in which the children are able to feel success, the children will later recall these positive feelings and generalize these feelings to academic skills when their minds and bodies are ready. We hope to be a part of nurturing young, inquisitive minds that question rather than trying to teach rote memorization skills to children too young to understand the meaning of such an activity.
The Children's Center is a state-licensed program that is also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The Children's Center has been accredited since 1989. We are proud to have been re- accredited by NAEYC system in the September 2012 for the seventh time. Accreditation is a "voluntary, comprehensive process of internal self-study, with invited external professional review to verify compliance with the Academy's Criteria for High Quality Early Childhood Programs, and a compliance with the criteria" (NAYEC, 1991). The standards for accreditation are more difficult to achieve than the standards for state licensing. Ratios of teachers to children must be lower, group size smaller, educational level of teachers higher, and there is a much greater emphasis on the interactions between the staff, parents, and the children. If parents are interested in reviewing the state standards of the criteria for accreditation, please stop in the office to peruse the materials.
The UW-Whitewater Children's Center is a Division of Student Affairs. Our first priority is to provide care to children of University Students. If space is available beyond serving student families, we also open enrollment to Faculty and Staff families, as well as the greater Whitewater community. Children (Infants through 3 years old) must be enrolled a minimum of two days a week. Children who are dually enrolled with the Children's Center and the Whitewater Unified School District for the 4K program have a 4 day per week minimum requirement. We do offer drop-in care for enrolled children based upon space and staffing.