Early Childhood Lab School

Children playing with toys from the ECC child care center.

Affordable care, please call the ECLS office for current rate information.

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Proud holder of a Silver Circle of Quality from ExceleRate Illinois

ECC's Early Childhood Lab School is a Silver Circle of Quality from ExceleRate Illinois, which recognizes the completion of a rigorous self-assessment and continuous quality improvement process. Programs must meet or exceed specific quality benchmarks on the learning environment and instructional quality, along with selected administrative program standards, staff qualifications, and professional development.

The lab school provides full- and part‑time early learning and preschool for children ages six weeks through 5 years. Children receive safe, dependable, and attentive care at reasonable rates and in a convenient location for parents. Childcare service is available for currently enrolled ECC students and ECC employees.

We believe in providing an atmosphere where the parents are our partners.  Families are welcome to come to the ECLS to read to the children, share a special family tradition with the classroom, or facilitate an activity. We want your child to feel loved, secure, and happy each morning when coming to school. We encourage you to share any customs, traditions, celebrations, and child-rearing practices to help us make a meaningful home-school connection for your child.

  • Full- and part-time care is available.
  • Flexible scheduling by time block.
  • Goal-oriented learning programs are tailored to each age group.
  • Highly trained, attentive, and enthusiastic professional staff.
  • Indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Instruction in art, music, dance, large and small motor development, language, science, and math.
  • Suitable accommodations for children to nap.

Students may utilize the childcare center at their discretion while working or taking online classes.

Financial Assistance

Financial aid and state subsidies are accepted, and additional childcare assistance is available to PELL-eligible students through CCAMPIS Grant funding. Limited space is available each semester. For more information, call 847-214-7376 or email ECLS@elgin.edu.


Our programs focus on the child's total development, including social, emotional, physical, and intellectual elements. We believe a sound philosophy of education for young children is based on understanding a child’s growth and development. Our programs strive for a warm, caring, and positive environment where a child’s feelings and a good self-image take high priority. We believe children need a curriculum that is individualized to each child’s stage of development, with equal amounts of structured activities and free play.


Learning programs are tailored to each age group.

Early childhood lab school age-appropriate programs.
Program Age Group Program Info
Infant & Toddler Care Six weeks to 2-year-olds Program Cost and Details
Programs for Preschoolers 2 to 5-year-olds Program Cost and Details


The lab school is open to ECC students and staff during classes. Arrangements for additional weeks may be available to current enrollees who need to attend to on-campus responsibilities. Consult a current ECC academic calendar at elgin.edu/calendar for specific closures throughout the year. Parents with children currently enrolled at the ECLS may register the day class registration opens. New enrollees will be accepted one week after class registration opens. Spaces are not held from one semester to the next. Everyone must register each semester again on a first-come, first-served basis. Any hour is subject to cancellation if minimum enrollment is not met. Full-time enrollments are preferred.

You must register for a minimum of one three-hour time block at least two days per week in any combination of the following:

  • 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (4 p.m. on Fridays) 

The following is required before the first day of attendance:

  • Birth certificates
  • Medical records
  • Emergency information
  • Emergency releases

Registration must be made in person by visiting Building M, Room M137.

Operating Schedule

Open all year when classes are in session. Students with classes starting before 8 a.m. will be accommodated when possible. View the academic calendar for specific closures.

Fall and Spring Semester*

  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Thursday
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays
  • 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. available by request

Summer Semester*

Hours are based on enrollment needs and are charged on an hourly basis.

  • 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Thursday
  • Closed Fridays

* Any hour is subject to cancellation if minimum enrollments are not met.