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About Us

Child HuggingCenter History 

The College of Applied Sciences and College of Education established the WIU Infant and Preschool Center in the fall of 1977 as a lab-training site. In 1990, the College of Education took over the full administration of the center. An average of 600 college students utilize the center for observation or hands-on experiences with the children each semester. These students come from many departments and disciplines across the university. 

The center is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services to serve children, six weeks to six years of age. We accept any children within the specified age range, including children with special needs. 

Goals of the Center 

The WIU Infant and Preschool Center strives to maintain a program that is geared to the optimal development of the growing child. The goals of the center are to aid the children to:

  • develop and maintain positive feelings about themselves and about their own abilities to create and to learn;
  • develop their awareness of the world around them through sensory experiences—opportunities to see, hear, taste, smell—that are prerequisites for developing concepts and solving problems;
  • develop and improve language through listening, speaking, and dramatic play activities, which form the basis for reading, writing, and other communication skills;
  • develop an ability to express, both verbally and nonverbally, feelings such as joy, happiness, fear, and anger in acceptable ways;
  • develop maximum physical growth and health through motor activities and proper nutrition;
  • develop an awareness of their strengths and limitations; cope with success, failure, and change;
  • develop effective ways of coping with stress in their lives;
  • develop and support the dispositions of persistence, focused participation, hypothesis testing, risk taking, and self-regulation through a curriculum that encourages choice and active participation;
  • develop the capacity to see themselves as a part of humanity who show respect and concern for rights and property of others;
  • develop an appreciation for life, through interactions with others and by caring for pets and plants in the classroom.

We strive to meet these goals through children's involvement with caring adults, varied materials, and engaging experiences.