The Early Learning Council was created by Public Act 93-380 in 2003 with a membership including top state officials and non-government stakeholders appointed by the Governor, the Early Learning Council is charged with enhancing, coordinating and expanding programs and services for children birth to five statewide. The Council builds on existing early childhood programs and planning initiatives to achieve a comprehensive early learning system, to ensure that all Illinois children are safe, healthy, eager to learn, and ready to succeed by the time they enter school.
The Early Learning Council is committed to developing a high-quality early learning system that will be available to all children birth to five throughout the state and that includes PreKindergarten, child care, Head Start, health care and parental support programs. The Early Learning Council works collaboratively with other state councils to improve the lives of children and families.
The early childhood framework is based on the vision of every child entering kindergarten safe, healthy, ready to succeed and eager to learn. We celebrate diversity and partnering with community stakeholders who value a bright future for all young children in Illinois. We are committed to universal access for all children birth to age eight, to high quality programs and services, prioritizing children with high needs and families that are hard to reach. When Illinois’ vision is realized, we will see all young children's needs being met, including early childhood education, physical and mental health, and family support.
At the highest level, a well-coordinated, accessible, easy to navigate early childhood system will include the components listed below. All of these components need to have specific progress benchmarks and outcomes for 2015.
- Ongoing preventive health care -- including all appropriate well-child care, screenings and immunizations, and periodic developmental screening to determine whether children may be exhibiting developmental delays that warrant intervention services.
- High quality early education programs and services birth to eight with continuous improvement under TQRIS where applicable, and with aligned of standards, instruction, assessment, and supports as students/families transition from infant toddler programs into prekindergarten programs and from prekindergarten programs into kindergarten and beyond.
- A well educated and compensated workforce.
- Diverse funding mechanisms and delivery systems; integration and maximization of funding streams set at appropriate, sustainable levels.
- Increased participation, at an earlier point (i.e. before prekindergarten entry) by children/families with high needs, including children and families who are hard to reach, ELL, homeless, and disabled.
- Parent engagement, including multiple information channels that help parents identify highquality service providers.
- Community systems coordination and development.
- Public awareness on the benefits of high quality early childhood programs and services and the ongoing work of the Early Learning Council, and increase policy makers’ understanding and support.
- Data integration and availability, used to inform policies, practices, instruction, services, and evaluation.
- Evaluation and assessment that provides information on improved program quality and improved child outcomes.
- Ongoing monitoring of the ELC's vision and plan.
We are committed to:
- serving the hardest to reach children and families first and providing them access to thehighest quality services.
- ensuring that resources are sufficiently allocated to provide high quality services forevery age from birth to five.
- all children entering school are healthy and ready to learn.
- a holistic approach to family and children’s needs.
- ensuring that family engagement and partnership is integrated and embedded in allearly childhood programs and services.
- striving for an early childhood system that is transparent, easily navigated and accessedby the families it is intended to serve.
- ensuring that all children have well-educated and well compensated teachers.
- ensuring that the learning and care continuum from birth to third grade is aligned,allows for smooth and effective transitions, and reflects best practices.
State Advisory Council Grant
The SAC grant consists of federal funds allocated to support the work of state early learning councils. Illinois' areas of focus are:
- Engaging Hard to Reach Families
- Improving Data Collection
- Increasing Capacity and Improving Facility
- Developing the Workforce
- Enhancing Community Collaboration
Council members serve on a voluntary, unpaid basis; represent both public and private organizations; and reflect the regional, cultural, and racial diversity of Illinois. Members serve three-year terms, except for the initial appointments; half of the initial members were appointed to a two-year term so that terms are staggered. The President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives each appoint one member to the Council. All other Council members are appointed by the Governor.
Much of the work of the Illinois Early Learning Council is accomplished through its committees and work groups which benefit from the variety of perspectives and experience represented by the diverse membership of these groups.
New committee structure
Summary of Committee Work Areas
Early Learning Webinars
The Early Learning Council hosts periodic webinars on topics of interest to the ELC and the broader early learning community. Links to past webinars and the schedule of upcoming webinars are available below.
October 19, 2012 - Illinois Shared Learning Environment (ISLE) - (Webinar)
January 23, 2013 - Gateways to Opportunity Registry - (Webinar) (Slides)
February 13, 2013 - Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program - (Webinar) (Slides)
February 27, 2013 - Updates in Child Care Licensing - (Webinar) (Slides)
March 12, 2013 - Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) - (Webinar) (Slides)
March 27, 2013 - Exploring Local Partnerships and Federal Funding - (Webinar) (Slides)
April 11, 2013 - Special Education/Early Intervention - (Webinar) (Slides)
May 8, 2013 - The Common Core - (Webinar) (Slides)
May 22, 2013 - Home Visiting Models - (Webinar) (Slides)
June 19, 2013 - Infant Mental Health - (Webinar) (Slides)
November 12, 2013 - Head Start 101 - (Webinar) (Slides)
November 19, 2013 - Latino Infants and Toddlers in Policy and Practice in Illinois - (Webinar) (Slides)
For more information, contact Cynthia Sandoval at firstname.lastname@example.org