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NIU program provides access to preschool

Amy Lofthouse
Amy Lofthouse

Every child deserves the chance to learn. We aren’t leaving that up to chance.

For the past two years, Northern Illinois University’s Child Development and Family Center has been home to the Preschool for All Expansion program, a grant-funded initiative that provides access to preschool for children ages 3 to 5 who qualify within their communities.

I know the benefits of early childhood education and that preschool helps children build the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten. I also know that many families lack access to high quality, affordable preschool programs.

The PFAE program is here to change that.

The PFAE program provides an environment for children to learn and grow. Our curriculum is child-centered, play-based and developmentally appropriate. The program can support 40 children and it’s available at no cost to qualifying families.

Children learn best through active exploration and social interaction in a safe, nurturing environment, and our low teacher to child ratios help make this possible. Our teachers hold a Gateway Level 5 Credential from the Illinois Network of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies and a Professional Educators License. They provide a curriculum focusing on each child’s cognitive, social, emotional, physical and linguistic development.

The Child Development and Family Center also is a training center for future educators, where NIU students learn as part of their education in early childhood or child development. All of the students we work with benefit not only from furthering their knowledge of child development, but also from our teachers’ professional guidance. When NIU students enter the workforce, they are prepared to succeed thanks to the real-world experiences they’ve had in the classroom.

It’s a win-win.

Many community residents are surprised to learn that you don’t have to be affiliated with the university to take part in the program that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We currently have openings for children and look forward to hearing from you.

For more information about the program and eligibility, contact us online or call 815-753-0125.

• Amy Lofthouse is the program coordinator for Northern Illinois University’s Preschool For All Expansion.

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