RLCF Children’s Center receives Gold Circle of Quality

INA, Ill. (July 24, 2014) – The Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center (RLCFCC) is in a category by itself when it comes to quality of service. This week, the RLCFCC became the first and only Gold Circle of Quality program in the RLC district.

A new statewide rating system called ExceleRate Illinois has recently changed from awarding stars of excellence to learning and development providers to a circle format. There are four levels of the Circle of Quality designations: Licensed, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The levels are awarded based on standards for teaching and learning, family and community engagement, leadership and management, and qualifications and continuing education. Gold Circle programs like the RLCFCC have met the highest quality standards in at least three areas.

RLCFCC Director Brooke May said the Gold Circle award is a huge success for the center and is a testament to the hard work and dedication the staff puts in every day.

“This is a major accomplishment for us. We’re the first ones in the area to be awarded a Gold Circle, and we’re so proud of that,” said May. “When the state began rolling from the old system to this new one, lots of programs were struggling to meet some of the requirements for the Gold Circle, and we didn’t have any trouble because we make quality a priority every day. We’ve got an amazing center with the best staff. We got this because we earned it.”

RLCFCC GoldCircle wSiblings Aurora Drew, LEFT, and Harrison Drew, RIGHT, both of Benton, played in the sand Thursday morning in the infants' outdoor play area with Katie Williams, CENTER, RLC Foundation Children's Center Toddler Teacher. Thanks to the Gold Circle of Quality award to the center, the infants' play area will receive some updates in coming months, including a shaded area and rubber mulch. Click on the image for a larger view.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

As a Gold Circle recipient, the RLCFCC was also awarded a $4,500 stipend to continue their excellent work. May said the stipend will be used to build a shaded structure outside for the infants play area, to purchase and install rubber mulch outside in the playground, and to add to the playground fund for new outdoor equipment in future years.

The RLCF Children’s Center has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children for more than a decade. The Illinois Department of Human Services noted areas of particular excellence at the center, including space and furnishings, personal care routines, activities and interaction, language and reasoning, and structure toward children with disabilities.

The Children’s Center is open to anyone in the general public, from RLC students and staff to the local community. There are two classrooms for children ages 3 to 5. The free Pre-K classroom requires children to meet eligibility requirements, including a checklist and a screening for the child, all of which May said takes approximately 20 minutes.

“This classroom is absolutely free, Monday through Friday, throughout the school year from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.” said May.

The second classroom does not have any requirement to enroll and the schedule is flexible, allowing parents to choose the days of care needed. There is a daily cost for enrolling in this classroom. Both classrooms offer high quality care and will develop your child’s learning experience.

“We do a lot of field trips, special activities, and parent / child events throughout the school year. For example, we go to the pumpkin patch every year,” May said.

In addition to preschool children, the RLCF Children’s Center also accepts infants and toddlers. Anyone interested in enrolling a child or learning more about the Center is invited to contact May at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1393 or [email protected]. For more information about the ExceleRate Illinois system, visit online at www.excelerateillinois.com.

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