U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren reads a book to children at A Child's Place Learning Center in Antioch Oct. 6 (Jason Arndt/Ill. Hi-Liter)

U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren reads a book to children at A Child’s Place Learning Center in Antioch Oct. 6 (Jason Arndt/Ill. Hi-Liter)

A Child’s Place of Antioch holds open house Saturday

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren, of the 14th District in Illinois, paid a visit to Antioch’s A Child’s Place Learning Center earlier this month to receive insight from the small business.

The district is comprised of parts of McHenry, Kane, Lake, Kendall, DuPage, DeKalb and Will counties.

The small business is one several early childhood education businesses in Illinois facing the struggles of a diminished employment pool and reduction of enrollment, according to business owner Francine Maze.

“It’s about the shrinking candidate pool for early childhood education,” said Maze, whose business on 1410 Deep Lake Road in Antioch has served up to 125 children at one point.

However, citing some job losses in the community, and rising operational costs in the early childhood education industry, enrollment has dropped to 90.

Hultgren, a Republican seeking re-election, listened to Maze’s concerns before he read a book to children at the learning center.

“It’s the cost, with taxes being so high, it is dependent on the economy being good, people having jobs,” Hultgren stated. “It is about Mom and Dad working, so they can send their kids to a place like this, where they can get a great education.”

The education includes bolstering a child’s technology awareness, social skills along with preparing them for a grade school education.

“We offer more social programs for children in early childhood education,” Maze said. “It greatly improves their social skills when they enter grade school.”

The Deep Lake Road business touts a secure facility, creative curriculum and educational programming, interactive technology learning programs, bus transportation to local school districts and preschool programs.

However, limited job opportunities for parents, and a rising operational costs have left the small business with a diminished workforce.

Furthermore, early childhood education centers do not receive state subsidies to offset food costs.

Hultgren believes there is a correlation.

“When I look at the numbers, I think that is directly tied to how many people are working in this area,” he said.

In spite of struggles, Hultgren witnessed first-hand, the benefits of the Antioch business.

“I wanted to come here, meet the teachers, meet the kids and see the good things that are happening here,” he said.

The teachers, according to Maze, are hired based on specific requirements.

“We are looking for at least an Associates Degree,” she said, adding hands-on experience in the classroom is another requirement.

A Child’s Place also has three other branches, with the first popping up in McHenry in 2005, followed by a 2008 addition in Volo, capped off with a 2009 in-school day care at Big Hollow School District in Ingleside.

The Antioch branch opened in 2012.

Maze holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Illinois-DeKalb, and received her Masters in Education

A Child’s Place of Antioch is opening its doors to families and friends Saturday, Oct. 29, when they plan to unveil enrollment specials and offer trick or treating to children.

The event starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m.

For further questions, contact them at (847) 838-7669.

A Child’s Place Inc., serves children aged six weeks through 12 years.

 
 

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