Children's Center

About the Children's Center

The Children's Center offers early childhood education and care for children from ages 3 months up to 6 years old year round and full day. Our program's philosophy is that children learn through hands on inquiry based open ended activities. We are a model educational and training site collaborating with programs throughout UWW and our community for early childhood development, teacher education and UWW students. 

Find out about our academic program connections, classrooms, hours, rates, philosophy, accreditation and calendar below. Get information on registering your child »

The Children's Center partners with a variety of academic programs on our campus each year. These partnerships benefit our children, their families and our staff greatly while providing many additional learning opportunities for college students on our campus. Below we have highlighted several of our collaborations from the past five years. 

**If you are a student or faculty/staff member on campus looking for a partnership to enhance hands-on learning opportunities please reach out to our Program Enrichment Teacher -  Jennalee Johnson. **

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program and Children's Center have worked collaboratively for many years. The Children's Center is an integral part of the first-year graduate student clinical experience. The Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate students, under the supervision of a licensed speech-language pathologist, provide a variety of services to the children in the Children's Center including screening, prevention, assessment, and treatment for speech, literacy, language, and various other needs. Services are provided on a 1:1 or group basis and have included literacy groups for early readers, articulation and phonology groups targeting intelligibility, and focused language services for late talkers. These services are provided during the fall and spring semesters. The relationship between the Children's Center and the Communication Sciences and Disorders department is symbiotic. Communication Sciences and Disorders provides a helpful and needed service to the children in the Children's Center but having a built-in clinical partnership in the same building provides stability and consistency of experiences for our speech-language pathology graduate students. 

The Center provides over 6,000 placement hours each year for students completing fieldwork and student teaching (undergraduate). These students are in the Early Childhood Program.

Teachers from the Children’s Center present to classes in the Early Childhood Program, present at the UW-Whitewater Early Childhood Conference, are members of panels that programs in the College of Education and Professional Studies offer (Early Childhood Education, ECE4U, literacy panel, etc.) each year.

High school students from Whitewater High School complete their required hours for their Child Development class at the Children’s Center.

The Center has been a placement site for graduate students who are adding on an early childhood license to their undergraduate degrees in the Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood Policy program.

Through the partnership with the Special Education Department, the Center staff have assisted with Special Olympics Young Athletes Program.

Faculty assign observations to their students that have to be completed in the Children’s Center (some examples are from Educational Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, Psychology etc.).

The Center partners with the Kinesiology Department – courses related to licensure in physical education are taught in the Roseman Gym and the children from the center attend the classes so the university students receive hands on practice.  Additionally, the teachers from the Center have worked with PE students to teach them how to teach young children swimming skills.

The Children’s Center hires undergraduate students to work in the center (80% of student employees are seeking degrees in education), hires students from the LIFE program and hires students who are international students who are doing a study abroad experience.

Children’s Center staff are members of the Early Childhood Education Program Advisory Council, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Additional partnerships with an academic focus:

  • Partnership with the "I want to be a Teacher" summer camp
  • Partnerships with UWW Sustainability /Garden Club
  • Partnerships with food services - especially during nutrition week students will come to the center to teach our students about nutrition and do different cooking and fitness activities 
  • Partnership with the music and art departments for various activities to provide enrichment activities for university students 
  • Partnership with campus and community library

An important note is that 64% of the students enrolled are the children of faculty and staff. The Center is critical for the university to run academic programs (among other services). There is only one other licensed childcare facility in Whitewater (it is not nationally accredited like the Children’s Center) so finding childcare, especially for people living in Whitewater, is difficult. There is a childcare crisis and the Center provides high quality care with strong connections to academics.










4K Crane


I am new. I'm a bundle of potential and need.I'm a consumer of information:I watch, listen, touch, taste, and smell. I'm a busy brain driven to learn.I'm a scientist and problem solver. I'm hope and joy personified.

12 weeks and up

8 maximum in the group

1 teacher to 3 children ratio

I'm curious, observant, energetic, determined, focused, and sometimes stubborn scientist. I'm a natural-born learning-all-the-stuff... an insatiable consumer of sensory experiences. I'm a highly evolved and very capable future adult, eager to engage the world.

12 months and up

8 maximum in the group

1 teacher to 3 children ratio

I am 2. I am constantly learning! Sometimes I need encouragement and help while I navigate through the different ways of communicating, sharing, and playing with others. Please remember to be patient and gentle with me as I work through this learning process and my own big emotions.

24 months and up

12 maximum in the group

1 teacher to 6 children ratio

I am 3. I am not built to sit still, keep my hands to myself, take turns, be patient, stand in line, or keep quiet. I need motivation, I need adventure, and I need to engage the world with my whole body. Let me play!

30 months and up

18 maximum in the group

1 teacher to 6 children ratio

I'm a smooth talking, agile, and observant seeker of adventure. I'm kind of a know-it-all. I have more questions in me than you have answers. I'm perceptive enough to sense this can frustrate you, but please don't discount my inquisitiveness.

48 months and up

20 maximum in the group

1 teacher to 8 children ratio

Hours and Rates

The Children's Center provides care and education for our youngest warhawks Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

--UW-Whitewater Children’s Center Tuition Rates 2023-2024--

Weekly Rates for Faculty, Staff & Community Families


2 Days

3 Days

4 Days

Full Week





$339 (5% discount)

Multiage Preschool




$265 (5% discount)

4K Enrollment w/ Whitewater Unified School District (Required)





Weekly Rates for Student Families

*you must be enrolled in 6 credits to receive the student rate*


2 Days

3 Days

4 Days

Full Week





$237 (5% discount)

Multiage Preschool




$171 (5% discount)

4K Enrollment w/ Whitewater Unified School District (Required)






The UW Whitewater Children’s Center has received a Child Care Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) Grant from the US Department of Education.  If you meet the following requirements (being Pell Grant eligible, taking 12 or more credits and have a child!)  as a UW-Whitewater student please use this link to complete a survey that will allow our staff to contact you:   CCAMPIS Grant Survey Link

UW-Whitewater Children’s Center 2022-2023 Calendar
REVISED 8/11/22
Summer 2023 - 12 weeks
Summer Session (ONE SESSION ONLY) Monday, May 15 to Friday, August 11
CLOSED for Memorial Day Monday, May 29
August INTERIM - 2 weeks Monday, August 14-Friday, August 25
CLOSED for Staff training and orientation Monday, August 28 & Tuesday, August 29
CLOSED to prepare for Fall Semester August 30 & August 31
FAMILY OPEN HOUSE / Supply Drop-off Thursday, August 31 3:00-6:00
CLOSED for Staff Professional Development September 1
Fall 2023 – 16 weeks September 5 - December 21
CLOSED for Labor Day Monday, September 4
CLOSED for Staff Development Friday, October 20
Family/Teacher Conferences Wednesday, November 15 (2:00-6:30)
Family/Teacher Conferences Thursday, November 16 (2:00-6:30)
Winterim and Spring 2023 Registration due Friday, November 17
CLOSED to observe Thanksgiving Thursday, November 23 & Friday, November 24
CLOSED for Winter Break Friday, December 22 – Monday, January 2
WINTERIM 2024 – 3 weeks January 3 to January 19
CLOSED for MLK Jr. Day Monday, January 15
Spring 2024 – 15 weeks January 22 – May 17
Family/Teacher Conferences Wednesday, March 20 (2:00-6:30p.m.)
Family/Teacher Conferences Thursday, March 21 (2:00-6:30p.m.)
CLOSED for the UWW ECE Conference Friday, April 5
Summer 2023, Fall 2023 registration due Friday, April 12
Last Day of Spring semester Friday, May 17
Summer 2024 – 12 weeks Monday, May 20 – Friday, August 9

CLOSED for Summer Break July 1-5

CLOSED for staff orientation, classroom set up - August 26-August 30, 2024

Children's Center Open House and supply drop off - August 29, 2024 3:00-6:00

The Children's Center Philosophy

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 always an adult to listen to, play with, read a story, or hold and comfort a child. We work to inspire the children to become empathetic to the needs of others, 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, and experiment. We also support the children in their ability to trust themselves 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, this means that lead teachers move with the children as they "age up" into the next classroom level.  This continuity of care results in multiple benefits for both 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 be able to relate them 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.

What is an accredited center?

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 reaccredited by NAEYC system in 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.

Who do we serve?

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 12 weeks 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.  

Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards: Guiding Principles

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards Steering Committee has established the following Guiding Principles to inform the development and application of the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards in Wisconsin. These guiding principles reflect the knowledge base in scientific research, our values, and our commitment to young children and families.  Taken from:

Development and learning begins at birth, for all children and in all settings. The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards support practices that promote development and protect young children from the harm that results from inappropriate expectations. In this, they are aligned with ethical principles of the early childhood profession. 

Beginning at birth, a child forms relationships with adults who will guide their learning and development. Especially during the earliest years of a child's life from birth to age 3, a child's growth and development is shaped within the context of those relationships. Positive relationships are essential for the development of personal responsibility, capacity for self-regulation, for constructive interactions with others, and for fostering academic functioning and mastery. Warm, sensitive, and responsive interactions help children develop a secure, positive sense of self and encourage them to respect and cooperate with others. 

Developmental domains are highly interrelated. The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards reflect the interconnectedness of the domains of children's development: social and emotional development, approaches to learning, language development and communication, health and physical development, and cognition and general knowledge. 

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards are based on research about the processes and sequences of young children's learning and development, and the conditions under which children develop to their fullest potential. 

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards recognize that there are individual rates of development and learning across any age range. 

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards acknowledge that children's development and learning opportunities reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of children, families and environments.

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards support the development of optimal learning experiences that can be adapted for individual developmental patterns.

The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards reflect the belief that children should be provided with opportunities to explore and apply new skills through child-initiated and teacher-initiated activities, and through interactions with peers, adults and materials. Teachers and families can best guide learning by providing these opportunities in natural, authentic contexts. Positive relationships help children gain the benefits of instructional experiences and resources. 

Families, communities and schools all have significant roles to play in terms of what opportunities are available to children, and how well a child is able to take advantage of those learning opportunities. Children who see themselves as highly valued are more likely to feel secure, thrive physically, get along with others, learn well, and feel part of a community.