About Cox Children’s Center


Our Center’s primary mission is “to provide a model of high quality early education and care in a safe, secure, nurturing environment for children of students, employees, and the surrounding community”.  Secondly, the Center provides lab, practicum and work experiences for UIS students and students of other higher education programs.


The Cox Children’s Center is committed to providing the best early care and educational experience to children of central Illinois as proven through our continued dedication to achieving national accreditation.

Center Purpose

The Cox Children’s Center was established in 1970.  The center is a resource for university students, faculty, staff, alumni and community clients.  The programs are designed to provide early childhood care and education for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age.  Our center also serves as a site for practicum experiences for university students seeking hands-on learning in the field of early childhood education.


The Cox Center is dedicated to reflecting state-of-the-art practices in working with children, families, and other adults. As theorist suggest (Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Erikson), children learn through their individual experiences with the world.

Young children are active and curious participants in the construction of their knowledge. Teachers challenge children to make predictions, to explore, to discover, to challenge, to represent and to reorganize their ways of thinking.

Positive development of self-image is important and is a priority in all aspects of program planning. Teachers provide opportunities for learning in an environment of respect and trust between and among all participants, young and old. In building upon trusting, respectful relationships, teachers learn the needs of individual children and plan for the successful fulfillment of those needs.

The unique qualities of each child and adult are valued and differences are respected. We create an environment of cooperation and collaboration to enhance the process of learning to work together.

Understanding that the child is a member of his/her family, it is our goal to collaborate with family members in creating the best environment for each child. Building an equal relationship between family, child and teacher is an integral part of our philosophy.

Special Certifications

NAEYC accredited program:  Early Childhood programs accredited by the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation have voluntarily undergone a comprehensive process of internal self-study and improvement. Each NAEYC-Accredited program must meet all 10 of the standards, which are based on the latest research on the education and development of young children.  NAEYC accreditation is the mark of high quality for programs. High-quality programs provide a safe and nurturing environment while promoting the development of young children.

ExceleRate Illinois: Gold Circle of Quality:  The UIS Cox Children’s Center is an early learning program that has achieved the Gold Circle of Quality through ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s new quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development programs. ExceleRate Illinois recognizes a program’s commitment to quality beyond the basic state licensing requirements (which cover seven broad areas including staffing, programming, health, safety and hygiene). The Gold Circle of Quality shows that our program has gone the extra mile to make sure children receive enhanced learning and care experiences. Recognition by ExceleRate Illinois demonstrates that we have met specific
standards of quality and are helping to give children a good start in learning and in life.