About the Center


The Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study, is operated by Southeastern Illinois College to serve as a laboratory for Southeastern's Early Childhood Students and others who find a need for the study and observation of children.

The Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of young Children.  We maintain a Star Level Three on the Quality Rating Scale granted by the Illinois Department of Human Services.


The Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study is a place for children where they, under the guidance and supervision of adults who understand their developmental needs, have the opportunity to grow and develop intellectually, socially, physically, and emotionally. The Center seeks to supplement the home in guiding the development of the child's total abilities as s/he is learning to relate to others, accept limits, and discover his/her own potentials.

The Center provides a climate in which the growth and development of the total world about the child is strengthened, and the foundations of adequacy and independence are nurtured. While learning to live happily with themselves and their peers, the children have an opportunity to explore materials and discover their abilities. Growth in cooperation, self-discipline, initiative, independence, problem-solving, and creative thinking are encouraged.

Core Values

Standards of ethical behavior in early childhood care and education are based on commitment to core values that are deeply rooted in the history of our field. At the MJOCCS we have committed ourselves professionally to:

  • Appreciating childhood as a unique and valuable stage of human life cycle.
  • Basing our work with children on current knowledge of child development.
  • Acknowledging and supporting the close ties between the child and family.
  • Recognizing that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community and society.
  • Respecting the dignity, worth and uniqueness of each individual child,family member and colleague.
  • Helping children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust, respect and positive regard.
  • Fostering an appreciation for and building a natural connection between the arts and learning.

Curriculum Goals

The early years in a child's life set the tone for future learning. Our goal at the MJOCCS is to stay current on research in child development so that we are able to build a foundation for each child that lasts a lifetime. Our goal curriculum is designed with specific objectives for each age level and child; however, the following goals are incorporated into every classroom:

  • Developing safe and healthy habits in young children.
  • Fostering positive self-esteem.
  • Providing opportunities for expression.
  • Supporting the development of social skills.
  • Stimulating cognitive problem-solving skills.
  • Strengthening communication skills necessary for listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
  • Enhancing fine motor and gross motor skills.
  • Assessing the individual needs of each child.

Program Quality / Standards of Excellence

High quality early childhood education benefits children. Children who experience a quality program are more likely to have greater academic success, enhanced self-esteem and increased self-control. The MJOCCS aligns the program and curriculum with federal and state guidelines, is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In addition the MJOCCS has a grant through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to provide a pre-kindergarten program for eligible 3 through 5 year-olds.  For more information about program quality you can visit the following websites:

NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct offers guidelines for responsible behavior and sets forth a common basis for resolving the principle ethical dilemmas encountered in early childhood care and education. The MJOCCS staff adheres to the NAEYC standards and the following Statement of Commitment as a professional guide.

Statement of Commitment

As individuals who work with young children, we commit ourselves to furthering the values of early childhood education as they are reflected in the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. To the best of our ability we will:

  • Ensure that programs for young children are based on current knowledge of child development and early childhood education.
  • Respect and support families in their task of nurturing children.
  • Respect colleagues in early childhood education and support them in maintaining the NAEYC Code of Ethical conduct.
  • Serve as an advocate for children, their families and their teachers in the community and society.
  • Maintain high standards of professional conduct.
  • Recognize how personal values, opinions and biases can affect professional judgment.
  • Be open to new ideas and be willing to learn from the suggestions of others.
  • Continue to learn, grow, and contribute as a professional.
  • Honor the ideals and the principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.