April 12, 2018

Rainbow’s End goes beyond child care with hands-on learning and focus on child development

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — With a variety of activities available for children, there is always something happening at Rainbow’s End Child Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

The center provides licensed child care for children from the age of six weeks through second grade. Located at 650 S. State St., behind SIU’s Student Health Center, the center operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Openings are available now and for summer program 

There are now openings at the center for children ages 1 to 5 years old, and afterschool care for school-age children. Also, preparations are underway for “Professions – What Kids Want to be When they Grow Up” — the school-age summer program for children in kindergarten through second grade.

Each week, children in the summer program will go on a series of field trips and scheduled events, Lyndsey McCann, the center’s assistant director, said. Each week, children will participate in:

  • a water day
  • field trip day
  • community service day
  • touch of nature day
  • learn about a different profession

“We try to make each event unique and fun for the kids while hands-on learning is being implemented,” McCann said.

Individual attention and fun educational programs  

Children participate in a variety of educational activities at the center under the direction of skilled and experienced teaching staff, assisted by early childhood education students from the university. 

Among the program offerings is “Stretch-n-Grow,” a fitness, nutrition and wellness program for kids ages 2 years old and up. The weekly sessions last 30 minutes for each class. Children participate in classes that include exercise, activities and discussions on health and related issues such as nutrition, hygiene and safety. 

The center partners with the university’s Behavior Analysis Therapy program run by Erica Jowett Hirst, an assistant professor in the Rehabilitation Institute’s Child Behavior Research and Training Lab. 

Hirst’s students come to classrooms to observe and suggest strategies to help with classroom management. They also work one-on-one with select children to provide early intervention and additional behavioral support. 

Activities designed to include the whole family 

There also are numerous fun activities for children, including quarterly family programs. Previous programs have included: 

  • Family tailgating experiences
  • Holiday concerts
  • Ice cream socials
  • Lullaby concerts
  • Parent workshops
  • Numerous other kid-friendly activities 

Open to children throughout the community 

Preference is given to children of SIU students, faculty and staff as enrollment in an age group fills up. The cost varies depending on the child’s age and also whether the parent is a student, faculty/staff member or from the community. 

Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack are provided. The center is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. In addition to numerous classrooms, there is an indoor activity room and three playgrounds.  

The center has a low child-to-teacher ratio and participates in the Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care Subsidy Program.    

Fundraiser is set for April 17 

The center is holding a fundraiser next week to help buy classroom materials and summer playground equipment. A fundraiser night is from 5 to 8 p.m., April 17, at McAlister’s Deli of Carbondale, 1382 E. Main St., Carbondale. Ten percent of all sales during those three hours will go to the center. 

To learn more about Rainbow’s End Child Development Center, visit rainbowsend.siu.edu or visit the center and take a tour. You can also find out more or register a child by calling 618/453-6358.