DECATUR – Achieving the highest level in the county, the Adele P. Glenn Early Childhood Education Center at Richland Community College has received a level 2 certification from the Illinois Quality Counts rating system.

Participation in the rating system is voluntary for child care providers, and certification levels recognize service that goes beyond minimum state standards. The highest quality rating is level 4.

A representative from Child Care Resource Services visited in April and evaluated the center on criteria including space and furnishings, personal care routines, language reasoning and activities. On a seven-point scale, the college received top scores with interactions and program structure, center director Kim Brummett said.

“The idea of an outside agency validating the years of hard work you've done, it's very exciting for us,” she said. “We want to do what's best for the children with keeping up with trends in education and make sure they get the skills they need to go on and succeed.”

Darbe Brinkoetter, dean of continuing and professional education, said in addition to the rating demonstrating the center's commitment to quality care, it increases the state funds they receive for reimbursements by 10 percent.

She added that the center's location at the college allows for more flexible hours and gives the children exposure to different careers through field trips to the Culinary Arts Institute, Richland Student Farms, David Erlanson Art Gallery and other programs. The center operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.

“Parents can be comfortable knowing that their children are in a good quality environment and can be confident they are being well cared for,” Brinkoetter said. “There's also the benefit that they know their children are going to get a lot of one-on-one attention.”

The college is expanding the center, which will have more room for a teacher workspace and a lab for Heartland Technical Academy students. Scheduled to be completed by early fall, the expansion also will increase the number of children from 52 to about 72.

Because child care centers are transitioning to a new quality rating system ExceleRate Illinois, Richland has been granted a provisional Silver Circle of Quality rank.

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