UCECP Early Learning Lab: Infants & Toddlers


OFFERED: Monday —  Friday   9:15 — 2:00

The purpose of this program is to equally benefit parents and children by providing one–to–two days per week of fun and learning in a safe, stimulating and loving environment that promotes a variety of skills and social relationships. This program provides children with the beginning steps to knowing themselves as a learner and as a member of a group.  Children are able to work through transitions and sharing so that they are better prepared for learning in a group setting. Teachers help children and parents work through separation.



Imagine walking into a classroom and hearing your infant shriek with excitement as they put their hands on different textures; or the joy on your infant’s face after making a masterpiece out of paint using their entire body.  This is what makes the Infant Early Learning Lab different.

We strive to make a difference in your child’s life from the beginning.  We consider your infant part of our family as they begin their journey through our programs.


Toddlers learn to explore the classroom in a creative and artistic way. Teachers in the Toddler Early Learning Lab stimulate children’s thinking, imagination and curiosity with a variety of amazing art experiences. You may see children: painting on a drum, using paper mache, creating natural material dioramas, engaged in light and color play, growing grass in the literacy sensory table, playing with dirt, exploring ice and rocks or exploring facial features with photo collage


Registration is $120 for the first child and $75 for the second child. This registration fee covers all processing expenses. Fees include a supply charge for consumable items that are used within the classrooms. The registration fee is non-refundable and due at time of registration.

• Tuition is collected a month in advance.
• Members of the Union Church of Hinsdale receive a 10% discount on tuition.


5 days per week 9:15 – 2:00

(Infant Classroom minimum age: 26 weeks -14 months and walking)
(Toddler Classroom minimum age: 14 months and walking — 24 months)

The Early Learning Lab program includes time to eat lunch with friends, story time, nature walk and a specific focus.

Classes meet:

  • Monday:$225 per month
  • Tuesday:$230 per month
  • Wednesday:$230 per month
  • Thursday:$230 per month
  • Friday:$225 per month



The Union Church Early Childhood Program is licensed by the State of Illinois. We follow the teacher-to-child ratio mandated by the state.

Infant Classroom: (6 weeks -14 months and walking) — 4 children with
1 teacher and a shared infant/toddler Float.

Toddler Classroom: (14 months and walking – 24 months) — 5 children with 1 teacher and a shared infant/toddler Float.

Teacher Credentials and Background

Esther Thoele – Ms. Thoele has been with the UCECP since 2011. Ms. Esther Bachelor’s Degree from Purdue University and Associates Degrees in Fine Arts/Children’s Wear and Design from Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY). She teaches various community children’s art classes at Lake Katherine and local libraries. “I love seeing the world through a child’s eyes and the perspective they give us.”

Dena Brockob – Ms. Brockob holds a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University, a Masters degree in Education with a concentration in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University and English as a Second Language Endorsement from Roosevelt University. She has been a First and Second grade classroom teacher. “I am thankful for the opportunity to work in a nurturing loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their confidence while they play.”

Michelle Waters – Ms. Waters has volunteered her time working with children of diverse language. She has been a substitute teacher for preschool ages 2-5. Michelle has volunteered her creative skills in a number of Chicago public schools. “It amazes me to see young children progress through play. Their imagination takes off and naturally, they have the ability to extend their interest through the activities that are provided to them.”