Western Illinois University Infant & Preschool Center Receives Silver Circle of Quality Renewal
Western Illinois University’s Infant and Preschool Center’s Silver Circle of Quality designation from ExceleRate Illinois has been renewed for three additional years. The center first received the designation in 2018 as part of the State of Illinois’ new quality recognition and improvement system for early learning and development providers.
“Every early learning and development provider who participates in ExceleRate Illinois makes quality a priority,” said Cynthia L. Tate, executive director for the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development.
ExceleRate Illinois is a comprehensive system that includes Licensed Child Care Centers, Licensed Family Child Care, Preschool for All and Center-Based Prevention Initiative Programs, Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. The organization is administered through INCCRRA under the joint direction of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education.
“I cannot express enough how proud and appreciative the college is for all that the staff at the Infant and Preschool Center have done this year to keep the doors open to provide a quality educational experience for the young children of our community, as well as provide quality learning opportunities for our students,” said WIU College of Education and Human Services Associate Dean Katrina Daytner. “They have worked countless extra hours keeping our center safe for everyone, and on top of that they went through the rigorous Silver Circle of Quality evaluation process. Kudos to all of you.”
The College of Applied Sciences and College of Education established the WIU Infant and Preschool Center in the Fall 1977 as a lab-training site. In 1990, the College of Education and Human Services took over the full administration of the center. An average of 600 college students utilize the center each semester for observation and hands-on experience. The center is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services to serve children, six weeks to six years of age.
This year’s quality assurance visit by the ExceleRate team was a bit different, much like everything else, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sherri Moon, center director, a team from National Louis University visited WIU’s program virtually on two different days, while one of the center’s interns carried an iPad around the classroom for two hours so the teachers could be observed and evaluated, as well as showcasing the classroom for the evaluators. Center educators were also interviewed as part of the evaluation process.
“We are proud to once again receive the Silver Circle of Quality,” Moon added. “Providing quality in early learning and development helps our children be better prepared for success in school and in life.”
For more information about Western’s Infant and Preschool Center, visit wiu.edu/coehs/preschool.