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University Children's Center

Amber Brooks, Center Director

446 E Ontario Street Suite 150 Chicago IL 60611
(312) 867-7056 Contact this center

Ages: 6 weeks to 5 years
Open:

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Neighborhood:
Streeterville

Welcome

Welcome to University Children’s Center located in the heart of downtown Chicago! We are very excited to meet with you and your family.

UCC uses an educational program which provides unlimited opportunities for the development of the whole child. We offer a unique curriculum for every age level, centered around developmentally appropriate and fun activities that encourage children to develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. The center provides priority care for children of Northwestern University faculty, staff and students, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation employees, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and The American Association of Advertising Agencies. University Children's Center is also proud to accept families from the surrounding community.

Amber Brooks, Center Director

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Business Partner Message

University Children's Center has partnered with Northwestern University and The American Association of Advertising Agencies to ensure priority access to their employees and students.

  • Accreditation Seal Every Day · Every Child · Excellence · Accreditated · Knowledge Universe
  • NAEYC Accreditation NAEYC
  • Eco-Healthy Child Care Accreditation Eco-Healthy Child Care

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children with teacher

AMERICA’S MOST ACCREDITED

We’re so proud!

Nationally only 10% of daycares are accredited–nearly 100% of our learning centers are. That’s a big difference, and that means KinderCare kids are getting the very best. Here’s why.

illustrated bear in rocketship

SCHOOL-READY

Our kids are taking off!

By kindergarten, our kids are testing ahead of their peers. Read all about it.

Accreditation

Many of our child care centers are accredited by national organizations that require us to meet rigorous early childhood education standards and guidelines for high-quality care and education. Programs that are accredited have demonstrated their commitment to go beyond the state’s minimum licensing requirements to meet and maintain these high standards of quality.

Monthly Activities

June's Learning Focus

Children 6 weeks to 3 years old: Wonderful Water and Insects and Spiders

Infants and toddlers will be exploring the wonderful world of water as the children in Discovery Preschool dig into the creepy-crawly world of insects and spiders! Infants will have the chance to practice splashing, scooping, pouring, and playing with bubbles, while toddlers will take a swim on the creative side as they paint with water and create habitats for sea animals. Children in Discovery Preschool will focus on science as they learn about the differences between insects and spiders, how caterpillars turn into butterflies, and how bees pollinate flowers and make honey. Children’s creativity will blossom as they use dried pasta to create butterfly artwork!

Children 4 to 5 years old: Staying Safe and Exploring the Arts

In this modern world, safety is never overrated—and that’s why we take the first half of June to teach children all about how to keep themselves safe in different situations and places. After that, children will delve into the arts as they learn about visual art, musical art, dancing, and acting, and discover the different types of art, music, and dance that exist around the world. Preschoolers will focus on number recognition in order to learn their phone numbers and how to call 911, the Pre-K class will examine how art concepts and techniques are used in famous works of art, and our kindergartners will collaborate on a group project together, such as making first aid kits or choreographing their own dance routine! 

Our Programs

Infant Programs (6 weeks - 1 year)

Babies grow and learn every day. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing "home away from home" where babies can explore and make new discoveries. We know that learning through play is extremely valuable at this age and our Early Foundations® Infant program is designed to give babies the skills that will serve as the building blocks for a lifetime of learning.

Toddler Programs (1 – 2 Years)

As toddlers develop friendships, self-esteem, and curiosity, our Early Foundations® Toddler program will help them explore their world in a safe and nurturing environment. Our unique curriculum is based on the philosophy that children learn best through experiences. So each day is filled with fun activities that excite and develop toddlers, giving them the comfort and confidence to speak those first few important words, as well as make their first friends.

Discovery Preschool Programs (2 – 3 Years)

At this age, children are making new discoveries daily. And as two-year olds begin to exert their independence, our Early Foundations® Discovery Preschool program is prepared to open their eyes to a world of learning, sharing, and exploring. Our holistic approach in the classroom engages young minds with a blend of music, art, and movement, as well as the early education fundamentals they'll need as they continue on to preschool.

Preschool Programs (3 – 4 Years)

As preschoolers gain more self-esteem, they may feel ready to take on the world. Our Early Foundations® Preschool program enhances that confidence by providing activities to help children become problem solvers and lifelong learners. Through independent exploration, structured activities, and hands-on learning, children will work on early literacy, math, science, and social studies concepts. A healthy dose of running, jumping, and dancing keeps them active too.

Prekindergarten Programs (4 – 5 Years)

Prekindergartners are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime – school. And our Early Foundations Prekindergarten® program is designed to get them ready by teaching letters and words, math concepts, and valuable social skills. With small group instruction, independent play in an organized atmosphere, and whole-group activities, children will have all the right skills to hop, skip, and jump right into kindergarten.

Summer Programs (preschool, prekindergarten, and school-age)

Don’t miss out on KinderCare’s Summer of Wonder: Six themed programs that will make summer exciting, educational and tons of fun. Whether your child is in our preschool, Pre-K or school-age programs, all of it is designed to help children learn while soaking up the fun. We offer flexible scheduling options to meet the needs of busy families like yours so we hope to see you there.

Learning Adventures - Enrichment Program

Cooking

The Cooking Adventures program gives children opportunities to participate in fun, developmentally appropriate cooking experiences. They will learn about recipes, ingredients, cooking vocabulary, and the importance of a healthy diet. The curriculum includes lessons on picnics, pizza, and heart-healthy meals.

Math

The Math Adventures enrichment program is designed to teach important mathematics concepts such as geometry, numbers, measurement, and probability. Your child will learn about length, height, and weight. He will learn about shapes and solids. He will learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and count money. Math is everywhere and giving your child every advantage now will add up to success later in life.

Music

Ongoing research proves that early exposure to music helps children think, reason, create, and express themselves. Children will laugh and learn about rhythm, vocal melodies, and a variety of musical genres and instruments, which can lower stress and advance memory. Learning never sounded so good.

Phonics & Reading Adventures

Set your child up for advanced success with literacy through phonics, the study of letters and sounds. Reader books, games, and activity cards help your child understand the basics of vowels and blending syllables, giving him confidence and command of language.

Spanish

Spanish Adventures provides young learners with a foundation for later success with the Spanish language. Music, games, children's Spanish literature, and other tools give children multiple opportunities to hear, practice, and see Spanish language for vocabulary and conversational development. Curriculum includes lessons on greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family, body parts and pets as well as how to get engage conversationally during common scenarios at home, a restaurant, or at the zoo. Qué pasa?

Science Adventures

Teachers & Staff

  • Amber Brooks

    Amber Brooks, Center Director

    My education philosophy can be summed up into the sentence "All children are capable of success-no matter what!

    Prior to her start at the University Children's Center, Amber worked for a great deal of Early Childhood Education programs in positions ranging from an instructor to Director. In 2010 she moved to the state of Washington, and joined forces with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the South Puget Sound where she served as a Programming Director and later took over volunteer coordination. Soon after, she took over the Vice President role at the Tacoma Urban League, where she created and implemented middle school aged programming for at-risk youth in the Tacoma Community. 

    In 2013, Amber found KinderCare where she became the Director of a Learning Center in Renton, Washington. After having a son, she and her husband relocated back to their home city of Chicago to live amongst family and friends. She became a part of the UCC family in August of 2015.

    Previous Experience:
    Before coming to our Center, Amber worked as a Director of School Aged programming for Youth Guidance in Chicago. She has also served as a Director and Volunteer Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound and the Vice President of the Tacoma Urban League. She joined the KinderCare Education family in 2014 where she served as the Center Director for KinderCare.
    Favorite Children's Book:

    Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

    Year Started:
    8/3/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    12
    Education:
    Child Development Associate Degree, Bachelor of Arts, Master's Degree of Business Administration
  • JoAnn

    JoAnn, Infant Classroom

    Ms. JoAnn Horton joined the UCC team in September of 2013.  Ms. Jo has an associates degree in Early Childhood Education, and is currently enrolled in the child development associate program at Rasmussen College.  Ms. Jo began working with young children in 2004 at Woodlawn Early Childhood Development Center.  Ms Jo loves working with children and strives to assist with their development and to provide comfort to their families.

  • Austin

    Austin, Pre-K

    Mr. Austin has been in in the Early Childhood Education field for a little over two years. He came to the KinderCare Education family in July of 2013, where he served as a teacher in Boston. He enjoys teaching because it grants him the opportunity to watch children learn, grow, explore, and discover. He also enjoys having Friday afternoon dance parties with his class.

    Year Started:
    9/7/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    Two
    Education:
    Bachelors Degree
  • Yazmin

    Yazmin, Preschool

    Ms. Yazmin holds Associates in Arts from Richard J. Daley college.  She has been continuing her education at Governor’s State University working towards her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  Yazmin has been working with KinderCare Education since 2014.  Yazmin enjoys working with young children because she loves getting to see how they learn something new.   She believes: “Children are like sponges, and being able to provide them with the necessary skills to help with their educational development is an opportunity I feel fortunate to be part of .”  In her spare time, Ms. Yazmin enjoys watching Disney movies with her niece.

  • Mandy

    Mandy, Two's

    Ms. Mandy Foley holds a BA in psychology with a focus on child development, learning, and personality.  Before this, she also studied elementary education.  Mandy joined the UCC teaching team in summer of 2014, and has experience working as a nanny as well as practicum during her college days.  Ms. Mandy is a veritable treasure trove of Disney facts and songs…she knows them all!  In her spare time Mandy enjoys drawing and painting, and loves to learn about animals.
     

  • Tijuana

    Tijuana, Two's

    Ms. Tijuana Finney has been working in the ECE field since early 2001, she has a range of experience including working with children from infancy through preschool.  Tijuana also has experience in a managerial capacity as a director at a former center.  Tijuana speaks both Spanish and English and enjoys using that skill in the classroom.  Tijuana has also presented at Illinois state NAEYC conferences for other educators.  Tijuana enjoys having the opportunity to make a difference in each child’s life, it makes her feel as though she has made a major accomplishment!
     

  • Karen

    Karen, Waddlers

    Ms. Karen Underwood was born and raised right here in Chicago. She is a single mother, with two young adult sons.  Karen has been working in the early childhood since 1990. Along with her field experience, Karen has completed early childhood education courses at Kennedy King College and obtained my Early Child Development Degree. Karen loves working with children because of the joy she gets watching them grow and explore. Karen enjoys helping children develop their independence and teaching them about the world around them through a nurturing environment.
    Some fun facts about Karen include that she loves music, loves dogs, enjoys eating out and shopping.  Karen is a hard worker but enjoys reading when she has a chance, as well as cooking, baking, traveling, and attending educational workshops

  • Lici

    Lici, Infants

    Ms. Lici Booth holds BS in Family and Child Studies from Northern Illinois University.  She has experience working with infants and toddlers in both volunteer and teaching capacity.  Ms. Lici believes working with children is important because “She loves to guide them in exploring and trying new things in the environment.  Also, she stives to be a role model of where life might take them one day.”
     

Upcoming Center Activities

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June
June's Learning Focus

Children 6 weeks to 3 years old: Wonderful Water and Insects and Spiders

Infants and toddlers will be exploring the wonderful world of water as the children in Discovery Preschool dig into the creepy-crawly world of insects and spiders! Infants will have the chance to practice splashing, scooping, pouring, and playing with bubbles, while toddlers will take a swim on the creative side as they paint with water and create habitats for sea animals. Children in Discovery Preschool will focus on science as they learn about the differences between insects and spiders, how caterpillars turn into butterflies, and how bees pollinate flowers and make honey. Children’s creativity will blossom as they use dried pasta to create butterfly artwork!

Children 4 to 5 years old: Staying Safe and Exploring the Arts

In this modern world, safety is never overrated—and that’s why we take the first half of June to teach children all about how to keep themselves safe in different situations and places. After that, children will delve into the arts as they learn about visual art, musical art, dancing, and acting, and discover the different types of art, music, and dance that exist around the world. Preschoolers will focus on number recognition in order to learn their phone numbers and how to call 911, the Pre-K class will examine how art concepts and techniques are used in famous works of art, and our kindergartners will collaborate on a group project together, such as making first aid kits or choreographing their own dance routine! 

About Our Center

Our staff would like to welcome you to visit our center. The staff takes pride in keeping up to date with the latest trends in Early Childhood Education. Ongoing training is offered to the staff during the year at the center and through the various training opportunities in the community.

Special Features

  • Spring Break Camp
  • Winter Break Camp

Meals & Menus

Meals Served

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • PM Snack

Additional Menu Options

  • Gluten free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Special diets
  • Organic

Holidays Observed

We are closed on New Year's Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and  Christmas Day.

Health and Safety

University Children's Center is equipped with a keypad entry, as well as secure indoor and outdoor play spaces. We offer an organic menu as well as the ability to work with a variety of food allergies. UCC is a nut-free facility. All of our staff are First Aid and CPR certified.

At KinderCare, what families say about us means a lot. Read below some of the great experiences our families have had with us.

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Our staff would like to welcome you to visit our center. The staff takes pride in keeping up to date with the latest trends in Early Childhood Education. Ongoing training is offered to the staff during the year at the center and though the various training opportunities in the community.

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Resources for Parents

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