SIC’s Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study Receives ExceleRate Illinois Gold Circle of Quality Designation

April 27, 2021

Southeastern Illinois College’s Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study (MJOCCS) has been awarded the Gold Circle of Quality designation again from ExceleRate Illinois, the state's new quality recognition and improvement system for early learning and development providers.

"Every early learning and development provider who participates in ExceleRate Illinois makes quality a priority," said Cynthia L. Tate Ph.D., Executive Director, Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development. "The higher the designation, the higher the program's demonstrated quality and comprehensiveness in meeting children's early learning needs."

"We are proud to receive the Gold Circle of Quality again," said Caroline McSparin, Director of the MJOCCS. "Providing quality in early learning and development will help the children in our district be better prepared for success in school and in life."

ExceleRate Illinois helps families make more informed choices about their children's early learning. It establishes standards to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. Additionally, it provides a framework for early learning and development professionals to identify opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Research in science and brain development shows that children who are more meaningfully engaged in early learning experiences from infancy through the first five years of life are more likely to be successful in school and in life. With the right engagement, children can form a healthy foundation of neural pathways in the brain, which impact their ability to think, react, process and grow.

ExceleRate Illinois is a comprehensive system that includes Licensed Child Care Centers, Licensed Family Child Care, Preschool for All and Center-Based Prevention Initiative Programs, Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. ExceleRate Illinois is administered through INCCRRA under the joint direction of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education. For more information or to find a Child Care Resource & Referral Agency in your area, visit:

SIC’s MJOCCS has been serving Southern Illinois families for 44 years, is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The center cares for children ages 15 months through six years of age, and is currently at capacity with a waiting list. For more information, visit or contact McSparin at 618-252-5400 ext. 3400.

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