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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

CDFC earns gold rating

Ethan Barry, 5, makes a necklace Feb. 27, 2015, at Campus Child Care. NIU’s Childhood Development and Family Center sustained their gold ranking from the ExceleRate Gold Circle of Quality. (Northern Star file photo)

DeKALB – NIU’s Childhood Development and Family Center maintained gold, the highest ranking, from the ExceleRate Illinois Gold Circle of Quality which ranks childhood programs in Illinois.

The CDFC provides care for the children of NIU students, faculty and staff and community members.

The center is run by the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, a nationally accredited facility.

The center’s main goal is to not only provide children with education but to aid in their development as individuals.

The center operates 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is located at 220 N. Annie Glidden Road.

The center has four age groups of kids that attend – infants, toddlers, 2-year-olds and preschoolers. Each group has its own kid-to-teacher ratio defined by the state and DCFS.

Child Development Supervisor Diane Mathison helps Cameron, 3, and Evan, 4, build a firetruck at the Campus Childcare Center. NIU’s CDFC provides childcare to the NIU and DeKalb community to aid in child development. (Northern Star file photo)

Each registered state teacher who works with the kids has a bachelor’s degree in teaching and child development to ensure the kids are looked after by someone who is certified to provide the best care for the children.

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in child development can teach at the center. Students who are not child development majors can still work at the center, but their hours are shorter and they cannot be head teachers in a class.

Marinelle Ortega, a sophomore child development major who works at the center once a week, said, “Working for the CDFC allows me to apply the concepts I learned in class to real life practices. I have access to many materials like books, art supplies, games and manipulatives.”

Ortega expressed the positive experience she’s had working at the CDFC and talked about the different aspects of her job she enjoys.

Whenever I’m at the CDFC I forget I’m at school,” Ortega said. “It’s almost an escape from my regular college schedule. The teachers are great, professional and give helpful feedback on my work, and I can tell they have a true passion for working with kids. The kids make it worthwhile – I love making connections with them through getting involved in their play.”

Kristin Schulz, executive director of the Child Development and Family Center, said the center provides high-quality child care.

“We train students to work with young kids and families in a way that is of the highest quality, and I love that about this center,” Schulz said.

Each age group has a designated schedule for the day. This includes free time, group activities, outdoor time, nap time, lunch and snack time.

“What looks like just a classroom with a bunch of toys and kids playing in it, the classroom is actually that extra teacher,” Schulz said. “Because everything that is here has a purpose and everything that has been chosen here is because someone has that interest, or it’s one of the development goals for that specific classroom.”

Schulz said the center’s goal is to pursue the development of each child and they achieve it in a high quality way.

“I love the teachers that work here,” Schulz said. “That they strive for high quality and love what they do here. And every teacher I ask what they love about this place is seeing the development of the kids and being able to be there with them for it.”

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