Driving Change In Early Childhood
With an exclusive focus on educating, serving, and leading in the early childhood field, our work to improve the lives of young children and their families is supported by four pillars:
Above all, we remain true to our founding mission and to the conviction that all children deserve an equitable opportunity to achieve their full potential.
We are a premier graduate school in child development and a leader in continuing education for professionals who work with young children and their families. On our downtown Chicago campus and through distance learning, we uniquely prepare adults to become informed leaders and practitioners. We offer a range of advanced degrees and certificate programs in child development, early childhood education, and social work.
Our students, faculty, and staff provide a wide range of direct services to children and families in Illinois. More than 7,000 families have been served by our Fussy Baby Network, Center for Children and Families, and Early Childhood Project, a partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Each year, our students put in more than 49,000 hours of field service at 68 agencies serving children and their families.
Our Early Childhood Project with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) annually provides clinical assessments, early intervention, and mental health services to more than 4,400 children who become involved in the state child welfare system because of abuse and neglect.
Since 2009, our Center for Children and Families has provided mental health services to more than 3,000 families with young children from three locations in Chicago. A new satellite clinic in the Little Village neighborhood was made possible by a $1 million multi-year grant from the Pritzker Foundation and a second leadership gift of $500,000 from the Sacks Family Foundation.
Current projects are changing the way early childhood professionals approach complex problems. Our groundbreaking research includes several studies that are the first of their kind in the field on topics including:
Our Policy and Leadership team works collaboratively with communities and their leaders to inform policy and systems change that ensures all children receive equitable opportunities to achieve their full potential. We do this through three initiatives:
Hosted by WBEZ reporter and renowned author Natalie Moore, 1,800 Days explores early childhood care and education from its conception, to its current state, to experts’ predictions of its future. The first 1,800 days of every child’s life — the time from birth to kindergarten – is the most intense period of development in their lifetime. This is the story of early childhood in the U.S.