Enroll Now!

Take a Virtual 360 Tour of Our Early Learning Centers

Chicago Heights

Ford Heights

Ford Heights

Harvey-South Holland

Harvey-South Holland


Dolton Virtual Tour


Check out our Enrollment Checklist – this will help you understand the kinds of things you'll need to enroll your child.


Request Information


We serve families starting at the prenatal stages until the age of five through home visiting and center-based programs. Our Early Learning Programs provide the important early education young children need so they will be ready to succeed when they start school.  

We are now enrolling pregnant mothers and those with children up to age five. Illinois Action for Children's (IAFC) Early Learning Program options include centers and home visiting. Our enrollment specialists are here to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the enrollment process. Learn more or let us know how we can help

Illinois Action for Children’s Early Learning Programs provide safe, nurturing, high-quality learning experiences throughout southern and western Cook County suburbs. 

Our programs are offered at no cost – to ELIGIBLE families!

As a state and national leader in the early care and education field, Illinois Action for Children is distinguished by its “Strong Families, Powerful Communities” approach to child development, PreK and Head Start, and other family and community supports.


Online applications are only accepted for first time families who have no record of previously applying or enrolling to the Illinois Action for Children Head Start or Early Head Start Programs. 

If you have previously applied or enrolled at any of the Illinois for Action Children Head Start or Early Head Start programs, you should contact us by phone at 708.365.1500 or email earlylearning@actforchildren.org.

Apply Now

Here’s Why You Should Check Out IAFCs Early Learning Programs

All IAFC Early Learning Programs are available at no cost for eligible families. Our programs are supported by state funding from the Illinois State Board of Education, federal funding from the Office of Head Start, and contributions from corporations and individual donors.

Since 1969, Illinois Action for Children has been dedicated to creating the foundational conditions that allow young children to reach their full potential in school and in life. As a state and national leader in early childhood care and education, IAFCs programs, services and advocacy improve learning and life outcome for children and families, including reducing the effects of poverty. Our goal is for all children from diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds to thrive.

Research shows that the first five years of life are the most important for healthy brain development, and that contributes to lifelong wellbeing and achievement. That's why IAFCs Early Learning Programs are based on close partnerships with the adults in children's lives. It is through this approach that together, we can help prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed!

We’re committed to helping families. That includes parents and guardians, just like you.

Your children will enjoy a safe, high-quality education with qualified teachers and staff.

  • Throughout our Early Learning Centers, we utilize the Creative Curriculum that allows children to learn through their interests.
  • Educators in IAFC programs support children’s social and emotional growth and development through feelings charts, posted classroom rules, and other techniques that create a positive classroom climate.
  • All staff, consultants and volunteers in IAFC programs are prohibited from using negative or harmful behaviors towards children.

We are committed to the success of your child and your family, and we believe that communication is key.

  • Our parent educators will partner with you, in your home (or at one of our Early Learning Centers).
  • The Parents as Teachers curriculum is used for planning home visits.
  • This curriculum focuses on child-centered parenting, parent-child interaction, and family well-being.
  • Affordable, high-quality early care and education is a necessity for working families.
  • We understand that it can be a struggle to balance work, budgets, and family.
  • Our services connect families to resources for finding, qualifying, and paying for child care and early education programs.

We take the guesswork out of the enrollment process.

  • Transitioning from preschool to kindergarten can be difficult for children and families. IAFCs Early Learning Programs staff provide opportunities for parents to meet teachers and administrators from their local school and learn about the transition to kindergarten.
  • Staff share registration dates and help parents with school enrollment requirements.
  • Children spend time learning about what the transition to kindergarten means so they are better prepared to cope with the change.
  • Personalized needs assessment.
  • Support with identifying and locating the required enrollment documentation.
  • Referrals to other agencies and organizations that best suit your family’s needs – even if it is not with IAFC.

We partner with families to provide support where it’s needed and encourage your input and involvement in all areas of your child’s development.

Illinois Action for Children has spent the past decade building high-quality early learning programs.

There’s no wrong door when you start your early care and education search with Illinois Action for Children.

  • We will work with every family who contacts us to help identify the early learning program that is the best fit for your family and your child, even if it isn’t ours.
  • Given our deep roots in Cook County and our position as the Child Care Resource and Referral agency, we have numerous relationships with both home- and center-based providers in southern and western Cook County.
  • We also maintain a robust database of more than 7,000 child care providers, so we can help you find the best program to meet your specific needs – even if it isn’t one of ours.

You can find an IAFC Early Learning Program that’s conveniently located to your home, work, or school.

We work with you to create successful sendoffs for kindergarten.

  • Our Early Learning Programs have an open-door approach to communication with families.
  • Program staff communicate with all enrolled families in multiple ways; newsletters, messages, home, phone calls or text messages, home visits, parent-teacher conferences, and parent meetings.
  • Families are strongly encouraged to communicate regularly with their child’s teacher, parent educator, or family engagement specialist, especially if there are any questions or concerns about your child or the Program.
  • In addition to IAFCs four directly-operated Early Learning Centers, we’ve partnered with more than a dozen community-based early learning centers in southern and western Cook County to make sure your children enjoy a safe, quality education with qualified teachers and staff. Check out our partner sites.
  • Following the guidelines established in Illinois Action for Children’s Early Learning Programs, your children will receive an outstanding education and much more.
  • IAFCs Early Learning Programs serve more than 1,100 children and their families.
  • Through our unique approach, 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 families who may be furthest from opportunity and in addition to providing high-quality early care and education, also providing the supports, resources, and opportunities families need to thrive.