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JJC slates open house at Early Childhood Center

Laboratory school offers summer session

Students ages 2 1/2 to 5 attend the Early Childhood Center on Joliet Junior College’s Main Campus during the Spring and Fall semesters.
Students ages 2 1/2 to 5 attend the Early Childhood Center on Joliet Junior College’s Main Campus during the Spring and Fall semesters.

The Joliet Junior College Early Childhood Center welcomes staff, students, faculty, and the community to attend an open house on Friday, May 17.

The public event will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in A-1501 in the Campus Center on Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet.

While there, parents can ask questions about the center and learn about the children’s daily routines.

“Find out about one of the best-kept secrets at Joliet Junior College – a high-quality early childhood laboratory environment,” said Bev Cavan-augh, manager of the ECC.

The ECC accepts children ages 2 1/2 to 5 during the fall and spring semesters, and in the summer, children from age 3 to 8. Enrollment allows for 40 children in the fall and spring semesters, and 20 in the summer.

This summer, the ECC will be offering something new — after hosting a summer camp program from 7:30 a.m. until noon, the center will extend its childcare hours until 5 p.m. There will be two teachers at the center during the summer.

As for how the ECC classrooms are structured, teacher Evelyn White said the children in her class learn a lot – but social skills are taught first.

“If they don’t have socialization — where they learn how to get along, or they learn how to build trust and relationships — if they don’t have that piece, then, it’s hard to move to the next level,” White said. “We’re ahead of the game. Socialization is a key piece in our curriculum.”

Math, science, social studies, theatre, and language arts are just some of the subjects covered at the ECC.

White said every semester is different because there are always new children in the ECC. The lessons really depend on the type of students enrolled, with the teachers molding the curriculum around them.

For example, if there are students having trouble in reading, they will do more activities in reading.

During the activity, they will challenge those specific students by making sure they are active participants and are learning.

White said her favorite part about being a teacher is seeing the children grow as they learn so many different things.

“I like to really see the kids blossom,” she said.

In addition to benefiting children, the ECC acts as a learning environment for JJC students – both to those studying early childhood education, and nursing students in pediatrics classes.

ECC Coordinator Donna Nowdomski said students are only allowed to observe when approved. If a child is having a bad day, they may have to cancel a scheduled observation.

In the future, they hope to bring nursing students in to proctor hearing and developmental screenings for the children.

With questions about the Early Childhood Center or the open house on May 17, call Cavanaugh at (815) 280-2280, or e-mail her at

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