Research consistently demonstrates that high-quality early childhood programs play a critical role in preparing children for success in kindergarten and build a foundation for lifelong learning.
Over one million neural connections are formed every second during the first few years of a child’s life. During the first five years, 90 percent of their brain’s physical size is formed and developed[i]. The early childhood years are a period of incredible growth, flexibility, and adaptability. Meaningful, stimulating experiences provided by parents and other caregivers are a critical part of healthy early childhood development.
In Illinois and across the nation, many of the children who could benefit the most from a high-quality early childhood program do not have a space available to them or are in programs that are not of high-quality[ii].
To address this gap, Illinois Action for Children has spent the past decade building high-quality early learning programs to serve over 1,100 children and their families in the west and south suburbs of Cook County. We serve families starting at the prenatal stages until the age of five through home visiting and center-based programs. Our model is designed to reach those families who are the most at risk in the communities where they live and to provide the support, resources and opportunities that families need to thrive.