It took years, some would say decades, to get universal preschool off the ground in Illinois. So when Preschool for All got a green light three years ago, it was cause for celebration, especially among early childhood education advocates who had worked assiduously behind the scenes and on the frontlines to make it happen. But then, a curious thing happened. In some places, shiny new preschool classrooms set up shop, and nobody came.
Going door-to-door to find children and bring them to preschool is the norm for Blue Island District 130.
Home visiting programs show families how to help infants and toddlers get ready for preschool.
Working parents who can’t afford private preschool but are not eligible for subsidies are among the toughest to serve when it comes to early education.
A program that started out serving hard-to-reach preschoolers in the
Austin neighborhood has since spread to suburbs south and west of the
Less than half of the children of immigrant parents are in preschool, one study found. Advocates say families need extra help navigating the pre-k maze.
A mother of four moves five times in two years. Sporadic preschool
access leaves her children at risk of falling behind their peers.
Illinois has won national recognition for its Preschool for All program, and ranks first in the nation for providing preschool to 3-year-olds. A new agenda is now on the horizon: Find and enroll youngsters who are the most at-risk of academic failure, including children of immigrants and those who are homeless.