As working parents of twins, it was very difficult getting our children into a daycare setting.
As a result, we bounced from daycare to daycare until we could find one that had openings, let alone fit our needs. We settled on in-home daycares but were never fully satisfied. We finally found what was needed at Cox Children’s Center.
Our children were able to grow in an environment that was not only interactive and fun, but academically structured to aid them for their upcoming school years. The staff were very kind and nurturing, and worked with the children to develop skills they would have not had at the in-home daycares we were at. The facility was very clean and geared for learning, with children grouped into appropriate age groups.
We were delighted to receive emailed progress reports on classroom activities and looked forward to them daily. It was also a pleasure to learn that Cox strives for excellence by staying accredited through continued certification and national accreditation.
It has been almost two years since we were at Cox and our children still benefit every day from the early education they received there.
Our first child attended the UIS Cox Children’s Center from the age of 10 months – 5 years. When I was researching possible daycare settings, I was very impressed with the professional, courteous manner in which all my questions were met – I had a checklist of things to ask (printed from an internet search). I admired the clean, colorful Infant room with its separate, quiet side for nap time. I received a tour of the entire facility, and Cox just felt like the right place. There is a policy handbook with guidelines and expectations, and we were always able to work well within these parameters. The staff worked with me and my husband regarding our infant’s bottles, snacks, and/or meals. By the time baby 2 arrived and started at Cox she was 15 months old and her sister was 3 years old.
We were always very pleased with the full-time staff and part-time student workers. We honestly believe the Director has a real knack at choosing the best professional, caring staff. As parents who were away from our child(ren) for 9 hours a day, we had total confidence in their needs being met at Cox. The daily sheets, Daily Journals, art work and other communications were reassurances of the excellent care our children (and we parents!) were receiving. There are many opportunities parents have to get involved with the various learning experiences. I hope the Pre-K class continues to host the “Mystery Reader,” because my girls and I were just talking about them trying to take a turn in the near future (they are 2nd and 4th graders).
Any expectations we had with this daycare experience were exceeded. We were pleasantly surprised with how quickly the staff developed an affectionate, yet very professional, relationship with each child. The staff were/are very nurturing for individual needs, and very professional regarding privacy if any difficulties arose (child #2 has been quite a “leader” since her Toddler 1 days!). Our second daughter also attended Cox Children’s Center until Kindergarten. Both girls loved the snacks and meals (and occasionally talk about Monkey Bread, and Ms. Rosemary’s green beans!).
Since we began our relationship with Cox, it was “school” to our child(ren). We consider our children to be privileged to have had so many years in such a wonderful learning environment. Both girls were well-prepared for Kindergarten, and the staff (including the school-age summer camp) helped make the transition a smooth one. Actually, any time a child is ready for the next classroom, easing the child into it is always very well-planned and carried out. Our two girls have maintained special friendships with five of their former classmates. We kids and parents see each other every few months and have many shared memories. Our kids’ first “sleepovers” when they were 6 or 7 years old were with their buddies from the UIS Cox Children’s Center. Our kids are 10 and 8 years old now. I have also kept in contact with several of the teachers – as they all have a special place in our hearts.
When we first moved to Springfield, one of the first concerns our family had was finding an excellent preschool for our oldest daughter, who was nearing the age of 3 and was incredibly shy given that our family had moved from Minnesota to Chicago, Chicago to Springfield in those three years. We had no family or friends in the area, so we could not rely on recommendations from people we knew and trusted. However, my husband’s and my new colleagues consistently suggested that we check out the preschool at the University. After my visit to the Cox Center, I knew that we had found the ideal place for Thalia. The center’s staff members were engaging, and the walls were filled with projects that had a purpose. Learning was interactive, sometimes dirty, and all the times fun. Teachers encouraged students’ individual interests, while challenging them to explore unknown areas. Teachers likewise encouraged family members to share their hobbies and talents with the class, bringing music, culture and much more into the curriculum. With the help of her teachers, Thalia blossomed from a quiet observer to an active participant, even leader, in group games and activities.
My second daughter, Isis, began attending the Cox Center when she was 1. A firebrand with intense emotions and equally intense opinions, she promptly screamed for a month. I was afraid that she would never adjust to a childcare setting, but I should have known better. Her teachers, with calm patience and much affection, made my toddler comfortable with her surroundings and gave her a voice even before she could speak complete sentences. Like her sister, she blossomed in the care of the staff at the Cox Center, learning how to handle disappointment and frustration alongside her A, B, Cs.
Both girls entered kindergarten well-prepared for the intellectual challenges that awaited them. More importantly, staff at the Cox Center helped my girls be prepared for the social challenges of elementary school: lend a helping hand, be compassionate to others, look for similarities, not differences in the people around us. Although it has been nearly 2 years since our family left the Cox Center, my daughters still benefit from their time at this amazing preschool. Not only have they made friendships that continue to this day on soccer fields and at playdates, they enjoy an occasional visit back to be a mystery reader or to help plant a spring garden. Walking through the door of the Cox Center is a bit like coming home – hugs and smiles abound.