CHICAGO, IL (July 22, 2020)— Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Rockford has been awarded grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a Head Start program to serve 80 children (ages three to five years old) in Hickory Hills and its surrounding areas.
Easterseals will operate a full-day, full-year center in or near Hickory Hills with infant and toddler classrooms, as well as preschool, with an expected opening date in the fall of 2020. Enrolled families will have the opportunity to participate in group and individualized learning activities prior to the opening of the center. The Hickory Hills area was formerly served by Pillars Community Health, which made the decision to end its early childhood education services at the end of its Head Start grant period on June 30, 2020.
“We are so excited to expand our services to the families and children of Hickory Hills,” says Sara Ray Stoelinga, President & CEO of Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Rockford. “Research shows that high-quality early childhood education has deep and long-lasting benefits for children and Easterseals has a long history of providing the highest quality of care and education for our earliest learners.”
Easterseals has been providing Head Start and Early Head start programs to families in south and west suburban Cook County as a grantee since 2015, and in Chicago—as a delegate of the Department of Family and Support Services—since 1992. Our program, in partnership with 31 private early childhood centers in Chicago and suburban Cook County, offers high-quality, comprehensive early learning services, including center-based and home-based options, to over 1,500 children from 0-5 and their families. Easterseals also receives funding to provide Preschool for All and Prevention Initiative programming through the Illinois State Board of Education.
Families that enroll with Easterseals can expect a positive and inclusive learning environment that prioritizes health and safety and fosters school readiness in children of all abilities. Through relationships, play, and implementation of a research-based curriculum, children progress in social skills and emotional well-being, fine and large motor skills, language and literacy, and concept development. All children receive health and developmental screenings, nutritious meals, oral health, and social-emotional support. Parents and families are supported in achieving their goals through family engagement, leadership opportunities and access to community resources.
For information about enrollment, families are invited to call 708-330-7207 or apply online.