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Examining the push to get kids starting school strong.
How I Teach
August 16, 2019
No worksheets here: This Chicago kindergarten teacher wants to bring play back to classrooms
The misconception that play cannot be rigorous and meaningful robs students of their opportunity to learn in a developmentally appropriate manner.
August 9, 2019
With 8,000 vacancies across city pre-Ks, Lightfoot urges Chicago families to apply
With the start of school three weeks away, Mayor Lori Lightfoot took the podium at a West Humboldt Park center to urge more families to apply for preschool.
August 5, 2019
Educators trusted with babies and toddlers don’t make a living wage — Illinois wants to change this
Across Illinois, early childhood educators are paid far less than their counterparts in K-12 schools. Under the proposal, teacher pay would start at about $40,000 a year.
July 23, 2019
At Chicago job fair, hundreds line up for a chance at support-staff jobs
People lined up outside of the gymnasium at Richard J. Daley College, seeking to fill many of the crucial positions that support teaching and learning.
July 15, 2019
Chicago’s early learning chief stepping down as universal pre-K plan enters second year
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a vacancy to fill at a critical juncture of Chicago's universal pre-K rollout.
July 9, 2019
How to get more English learners prepared to enter kindergarten? Illinois wrestles with answer.
The state found that only 26% of kindergarteners statewide met requirements to be considered “on track.” For English learners, that proportion dropped to 17%.
June 25, 2019
In the second year of statewide assessment, three out of four Illinois children still aren’t kindergarten ready
In 2017, Illinois spent an average of $15,337 per student in K-12 but only $3,306 for a child under age 6.
June 24, 2019
After yearlong delay, Chicago’s plan for gifted children heads to new school board
Chicago's new school board will weigh a proposed plan on accelerating children, including allowing early entrance to kindergarten and grade skipping.
June 20, 2019
Greg Jacobs made a film about early learning. He met exhausted parents and underpaid providers.
A new documentary from Chicago filmmaker Greg Jacobs takes a close look at early childhood education — highlighting the struggles of exhausted parents and providers.
Undercounting the youngest
June 18, 2019
As citizenship question swirls, Illinois early childhood advocates gear up for another census challenge
In Illinois, early childhood advocates are also fretting over a group that has long been undercounted: babies and toddlers.
June 18, 2019
lllinois weighs how to rebuild child care program that saw exodus of children, caregivers
Illinois plans to embark on a marketing campaign to woo more families into its child care assistance program — and, in some cases, lure back providers who dropped out.
June 12, 2019
A law made it harder to expel Illinois preschoolers. But it’s been slow to catch on.
A third of providers interviewed for a new study reported inaccurate information about Illinois' law. Nearly 20% said they didn’t know the law existed.
June 10, 2019
I’m a longtime education advocate. Here’s why I’m hopeful about Chicago’s next chapter.
In my time in Chicago, I certainly have not witnessed anything this broad, this inclusive, or this deliberate to make sure diverse voices in our city are heard.
May 31, 2019
‘I don’t understand how it works’: Parents voice frustration during decision week for Chicago preschool
Over the course of a 1½-hour meeting Thursday, emotions ran high as parents described frustration at the system, particularly the central application.
Asked and answered
May 30, 2019
Here are 12 things Chicago parents want to know about universal pre-K
Parents asked — and we answered — questions about enrollment, curricula, half-day programs, naps, and more.
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