10 One Hope United Early Education Centers Now NAEYC Accredited

Rigorous quality assessment puts OHU early learning centers in nation’s top 10 percent.

One Hope United now has 10 early education centers that have receved accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.

Waukegan Early Learning Center joins nine other One Hope United child care and early education centers that have already earned this prestigious mark of quality, including Aurora Early Learning Center, Elgin Child & Family Resource Center, and Sprouted Child Care & Early Education (Wilmette) . All of One Hope United’s eligible centers are now accredited or undergoing accreditation by NAYEC.

In the 30 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized and coveted sign of high-quality early childhood education. Less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens nationally achieve this recognition.

NAEYC Accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards across four categories—children, teaching staff, partnerships with families and communities, and administration—to recognize and drive holistic quality in early learning programs.

With guidelines for everything from teacher preparation to safety standards, NAEYC Accreditation ensures that programs are safe, well prepared, and intentional about ensuring children’s success. As a reputable indicator of quality, NAEYC Accreditation correlates with children’s greater readiness and success in school and beyond, increased educational attainment rates, and overall healthier lifestyles.

Find a NAEYC Accredited One Hope United center in your area:

Western Suburbs

City of Chicago

Northern Suburbs

*Opened in July 2016, Joliet Early Learning Center is still in the accreditation process.

      5 Things to Know about Head Start

      All parents want to provide the best opportunities for their children to learn, grow and thrive. This is especially true when it comes to education. No child should miss out on a quality education because of their family’s ability to pay.

      That’s why One Hope United is pleased to offer Head Start or Early Head Start programing at four of our child care and early education centers. These programs combine quality child care and education with other programing and resources to help set every child up for success:

      Not sure if your family is eligible? It’s easy to find out and One Hope United is here for you every step of the way.

      Here are five things you should know about the Head Start Program at One Hope United:

      1. Head Start Seeks to Give Every Child an Equal Chance

      Head Start, a federally funded program, is designed to give every child equal access to the resources and support they need. Established in 1965 for low-income families, Head Start promotes school readiness for children ages birth to five. These programs enhance children’s social and cognitive development by offering children and their families educational, nutritional, health, social and other services.

      The services Head Start provides are designed to set up children for success by the time they are ready to start kindergarten. One Hope United combines Head Start with child care assistance to provide a full day of early childhood care and education for families who are working or in school at a significantly reduced cost.

      2. It’s Easy to Find Out if You Qualify for Head Start

      There are four ways you and your child can qualify for Head Start:

      1. You meet the income qualifications, OR
      2. You receive public assistance, OR
      3. Your child is in foster care, OR
      4. You or your child lack permanent housing.

      Families with children from birth to age five who meet specific criteria in any one of these four categories can receive Head Start or Early Head Start programming. Families receiving public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income), or families with low incomes, according to the Poverty Guidelines published by the Federal government, are eligible.

      One Hope United has family support specialists to assist families with the eligibility process. Families can either call or walk-in to one of the Bridgeport, Edgewater or Waukegan centers with proof of income and the child’s birth certificate. They will then fill out an application (One Hope United can provide assistance) and complete an interview. The family will soon receive a notice about their child’s/children’s eligibility. The eligibility/enrollment process can be started at anytime during the year.

      3. Parents Receive Support, Too!

      All Head Start families have a family support specialist that they work with for as long as they participate in the program. Assistance in finding medical providers, mental health professionals, and nutrition counseling are just some of the services that are provided. Plus, families receive two home visits that serve as building blocks to establishing a positive relationship.

      Many of One Hope United’s staff are bilingual. If there is a language barrier, One Hope United will provide translation support services. We want to clearly communicate with families so they understand the services they’re eligible for and feel comfortable with all we can provide.

      4. Parents Are Part of Their Child’s Education

      One Hope United families who are part of the Head Start program are actively involved with their child’s education by helping to set goals and determining how best to support their child.

      Parents and One Hope United teachers and staff have at least two parent conferences a year where assessments are reviewed, strengths are determined and priorities are set for continued development.

      5. We Offer Quality Education For All

      One Hope United’s Head Start locations in Bridgeport and Edgewater are accredited by NAEYC (The National Association of Education of Young Children), a distinction held by only 6% of centers in the country. A NAEYC accredited center is one that is recognized as providing exceptional care and a variety of educational, developmental, and personal services. All preschool classrooms are led by a licensed teacher who is certified to teach up to the third grade.

      The suburban Waukegan location is currently undergoing accreditation by NAEYC. This location offers Early Head Start services to low-income infants, toddlers and their families.

      At One Hope United it is our vision to help every child, every family live a life without limits. If you feel limited by the specific circumstances that makes your family eligible for Head Start, please contact one of our centers today or use the form below.

      Contact Us

      One Hope United to Name Edgewater Early Learning Space for Toni Sandor Smith

      Edgewater and Andersonville families and community members are invited to a dedication event and open house at One Hope United Edgewater Early Learning Center Friday, August 17, starting at 12:30 PM. Parents, children, community leaders, and neighbors are invited to tour the center, located at 5244 N. Lakewood Ave. (enter on W. Berwyn Ave. just west of Lakewood), and enjoy refreshments and a musical performance by award-winning saxophonist Michael Salter following a dedication ceremony.

      The ribbon-cutting ceremony will name a learning space for Toni Sandor Smith, a member of One Hope United’s board of directors for nearly 20 years. Smith, a retired partner of the executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart, lives in Edgewater and is a frequent visitor to the center and a favorite storybook reader of its students.

      Smith, a New York City native, moved to Chicago in 1963 and joined Spencer Stuart in 1970 as a receptionist. Four years later she became the firm’s first female consultant and eventually its first female partner. She founded and led the firm’s nonprofit practice and helped place executives in many of Chicago’s and the country’s leading nonprofits.

      Smith has been equally ambitious at One Hope United. She cofounded the organization’s first annual gala, which has grown into Hope In Action, an annual event that attracts more than 300 guests and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to support work for children and families in Chicago and beyond.

      As a member of the board’s governance committee – and serving several terms as chair – Smith has helped evolve the board from a group of mission-dedicated volunteers to a team of accomplished executives who, in addition to a passion for the mission, bring fundraising capacity and professional expertise that allow them to be more strategic and proactive in steering the 120-year-old, $50 million organization.

      “As a member of our board of directors for nearly 20 years, Toni Sandor Smith has been an outstanding servant of One Hope United, seeing the organization through immense change and growth. I speak for the entire board when I say we are thrilled to recognize her service by naming a space for her in her own community, at the Edgewater Early Learning Center,” said board chair Theresa A. Dear.

      In addition to serving on One Hope United’s board, a role she will step down from next year, Smith has volunteered with the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Chicago Network, the Executive Service Corps of Chicago, Lakeview Pantry, the Oriental Institute, and Steppenwolf Theatre.

      Chicago native Michael Salter is an award-winning saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. Salter was nominated for a Grammy award for a salsa big band recording with Angel Melendez and the 911 Mambo Orchestra. Since July 2008, Salter has been a member of Orbert Davis’s Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. The group’s latest CD, Havana Blue, was listed as one of the best CDs of 2016 by Downbeat Magazine. A passionate and dedicated educator, Salter is also a Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Teaching Artist, which allows musicians from the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic to work directly with youth from Chicago Public Schools.

      Music by Michael Salter

      The Edgewater Early Learning Center, located in the North Shore Baptist Church, has been serving families in Chicago’s Edgewater and Andersonville neighborhoods with the highest quality early education and care for more than 30 years. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the center provides individualized care for children, including children with special needs, in an environment designed to foster growth and development, and includes Head Start classrooms, which provide services and preschool to families living at or below the federal poverty level.

      Free and Open to the Public

      RSVP Requested at onehopeunited.org/tonismith

      Questions? Call us at 773-907-0278

      Sonja Crum Knight Named Executive Director for Early Childhood Programs

      Sonja Crum Knight

      Sonja Crum Knight, an early childhood leader committed to realizing high quality outcomes for children and families through education, practice, and advocacy, will join One Hope United as Executive Director of Early Learning and Child Development, beginning April 10, 2018.

      In this executive leadership role, Knight will oversee One Hope United’s 12 child care and early education centers, which provide high quality early care and education to over 2,200 children each year, as well as our home visiting programs, which help young and first-time parents navigate their new responsibilities and support their children’s development. All of these programs serve children and families living in northern Illinois and Chicago.

      “I am humbled and honored to join an organization with such a rich legacy of service to children and families,” said Knight.

      Knight comes to One Hope United from YMCA of the USA, where she served as technical advisor for early childhood equity improvement, leading a cohort of eight YMCA associations across the country to discover and improve strategies for improving access to high quality early care and education. She also has worked extensively with the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University as a quality assessor and trainer. She holds a PhD in education from Capella University and a master of education in early childhood administration from National Louis University.

      “I am thrilled to welcome Sonja Crum Knight to One Hope United,” said COO Margaret Vimont. “She brings a wealth of experience as a child care provider, quality assessor, and educator to early childhood professionals, along with a passion for equal access to early education and a highly inclusive management style. Together, these make her an excellent fit to lead our early learning and child development programs, which lay the foundation for our vision – For every child and family, life without limits.”

      Kindergarten Ready? At Wilmette Child Development Center, 100%.

      The scores are in – 100% of the children who graduated from preschool at One Hope United Wilmette Child Development Center (3013 Illinois Rd., Wilmette) last month demonstrated kindergarten readiness, according to the Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment tool.

      One Hope United’s child development centers specialize in supporting and partnering with working families to prepare their children for lifelong learning and success, starting in our infant program. By achieving kindergarten readiness, these children are meeting an important milestone early in their academic lives – and are poised to stay on track: studies show that children who attend pre-k are more likely to graduate from high school, and those who attend a center-based program, like One Hope United’s, score significantly higher on reading and math tests than their at-home counterparts.
      Here’s a look behind the numbers at what makes One Hope United a nurturing environment for children and families’ education and growth:

      • Individualized, Center-Based Learning: One Hope United employs the Creative Curriculum, which is built around classroom “centers” such as Science, Writing, Literacy/Reading, and Dramatic Play. Children self-navigate through the centers and learn through play and social interaction. Teachers encourage and customize each child’s education based on their individual strengths and temperament, and adjust it based on observations and formal assessments.

      • Exclusive “Healthy Lifestyles” Curriculum: One Hope United’s self-developed Healthy Lifestyles curriculum promotes lifelong wellness by incorporating daily movement and teaching children to make healthy food choices and maintain good habits such as brushing teeth, visiting the dentist, and screening for hearing and vision. The Wilmette center also hosts movement classes, which encourage physical fitness, creative expression, and relaxation.

      • Parent, Family, and Community Engagement: Parent involvement in their child’s learning has been linked to higher student achievement. The Wilmette center provides opportunities for family involvement in daily routines as well as at special events. Parents are welcome to visit the program and often stop by to share their talents and family culture. The center also helps kids and families engage with the surrounding community through partnerships with Avoca School District, Glenview Park District, and Wilmette Public Library.

      • Accredited Quality at Every Level: The Wilmette center is one of only 6% of U.S. centers to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This accreditation looks at 10 standards and criteria across four categories – Children, Teaching Staff, Partnerships with families and communities, and Administration – to provide a holistic measure of a program’s quality.

      Parents can expect all of these features to be enhanced when the Wilmette center relocates to a newly updated facility, in winter 2018. Located near I-94, between Glenview and Old Orchard Roads, the new center will feature brand new classrooms, nontoxic materials including carpeting and paint, and a dedicated gym designed specifically for early childhood gross motor activities. Families who enroll children now at the current location are guaranteed a space in the new child development center.

      Families who live or work nearby may also consider One Hope United’s Des Plaines (9375 Church St., Des Plaines) and O’Hare (2300 E Devon Ave, Suite 171, Des Plaines) centers, both of which are also NAEYC accredited. For more information, visit onehopechilddevelopment.org.

      OHU Leader Joins Bowman Leadership Fellows Program

      We are excited to announce that Carisa Hurley, an Early Learning Director of Programs here at One Hope United, has been accepted into the Erikson Institute’s Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program!

      The Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program chooses fifteen professionals who provide direct service, advocacy, and funding support while working in the early childhood sector. The fellowship is incorporated into a 10-month leadership program designed to enhance each participant’s knowledge-base, provide skill application, and connect them to a larger network for influencing early childhood policy and system changes.

      The intentions of this fellowship are to “…provide professionals in the field with the knowledge and tools to extend the impact of their work by influencing policy change that can transform early childhood on a larger scale.” says Geoffrey A. Nagle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Erikson Institute.

      The fellowship program provides evidence-based information and the analytical framework to apply a racial equity lens to early childhood policy. Monthly seminars covering subjects such as the public policy life cycle, federal and state policy, and other related topics provide fellows with a solid foundation to distinguish important early childhood issues and be given the opportunity to translate learning into action.

      All of the fellows chosen are child advocates working within various organizations, therefore the overarching goal is to enhance their role and expand their influence to frame policy issues and recommendations guided by their organization’s mission and the diversity of the population they serve.

      We wish Carisa all the best as she begins her fellowship on June 16th!

      Click here to learn more about our Child Care and Early Learning programs.

      The Girl Scouts Visit Des Plaines CDC

      On a sunny Friday afternoon in May, 10 girls and two leaders from Junior Troop 41171 of the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Girl Scouts worked on their Bronze Award project at OHU’s Des Plaines Child Development Center campus.

      The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve and the third highest honor that can be earned as a Girl Scout.  The Bronze Award encourages girls to make a lasting impact on their community.

      The scouts were asked to come up with various ideas for a community service project for their Bronze Award.  They were also presented with a couple of options by their leaders.  Several of the girls had an interest in gardening and decided that working on the educational gardens at One Hope United fit their interests best.

      They spent several hours researching various options, voting on which they thought would work out best and how much would fit in the area assigned to the project.   The girls spent 5 hours weeding and preparing two gardens and a series of planter boxes.  They planted perennial plants as well as vegetables and herbs.

      As the afternoon progressed the children at OHU came outside and had the opportunity to observe or help the Girl Scouts if they were interested.  Many children chose to help. In the end, the Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Girl Scouts said, “They really enjoyed working with the students at the school as they came out to help and watch the girls work.”

      Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Girl Scouts visit Des Plaines Early Learning Center