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Meet Shari, Infant Teacher at Joliet Early Learning Center

Meet Shari, an Infant Teacher at our Joliet Early Learning Center in Joliet, Illinois. She became a Hope Member in 2019 and teaches infants alongside her two Assistant Teachers, Rocio and Ariana. Since she shares a name with another Hope Member at the Joliet Early Learning Center, the students have lovingly dubbed her with the name “Ms. Baby Shari.”

At home, Shari also goes by the name “Mom” to her three adult children and you can probably find her chasing after her sweet dog, Gunner. Her positive and loving energy is infectious and warms up every space she walks into. We talked with Shari about what inspired her to join OHU, the best part about being an Early Learning Center Teacher, and more.

OHU Teacher, Shari smiles at one of her students playing.
Shari and Assistant Teacher, Ariana, playing with two of their students. 

What did you do before coming to One Hope United?

I did work at another daycare center, but then I had a 15 year hiatus where I was working at a cabinet shop as a Cabinet Finisher. I stained and lacquered cabinets. I did enjoy that, but then the housing market crashed and I thought: Let’s go back to what I know.

What do you love about working here?

We are such an inclusive organization, we don’t turn anybody away. Everybody is welcome. Working here, I feel like family. I’ve never felt so appreciated working in a place before. They really take care of you here, listen to your concerns and act on them. It’s just amazing! And it’s really easy to make it amazing when the people you work with are amazing.

Teacher, Shari, and Assistant Teacher, Rocio, take a walk outside with students at the Joliet Early Learning Center.
Taking a walk around the block with her students and Assistant Teacher, Rocio.

What is your day-to-day like as a Teacher at OHU?

Every day is a little different. I work with babies, and you kind of just have to go off their mood. Whatever they’re feeling is what we go with. In the morning when they come, they usually play and I get breakfast ready. My Assistant Teachers come in at 8 am. The babies play, we read stories, we do projects, and a lot of hugs. A lot of hugs… that’s the best part. I get paid to love, it doesn’t get any better than that! Whatever the babies need, that’s what they get.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming an Early Learning Center Teacher?

Be able to go with the flow. #1 you need to love it and #2 you just need to be able to go with the flow. We help each other out, sometimes you’ll help in another room and you get to learn other rooms and ages.

One Hope United Teacher, Shari, feeds a baby at lunch.
Lunchtime! Helping one of the littlest eaters in the class enjoy his lunch!

What are you most proud of since becoming a Hope Member?

The relationships I’ve been able to build with the families. I’ve always told the parents, “Your babies are our babies and we’re a team.” We take care of their babies all day long and try to be like a second set of “parents” while mom and dad are at work.

 

Top Box Foods & One Hope United Distribute 200 Thanksgiving Meal Kits

By noon last week on Friday, cars lined South Ernie Krueger Circle and spilled onto Sunset Avenue as they made their way to Busy Bee Children’s Center. Families excitedly waved as they waited for the “Thanksgiving Dinner Box Giveaway” event to start, an event hosted by Top Box Foods and One Hope United to distribute 200 free meal kits to families in Waukegan, Illinois, and the surrounding area.

This pop-up event was one of many created by Top Box Foods, a Chicagoland nonprofit. With more than 33 million people in the U.S. living in food-insecure households, the nonprofit partnered with other local organizations and sponsors to share Thanksgiving meal kits with communities in an effort to combat food insecurity during the holiday season. Across the U.S. the price of food is steadily on the rise due to factors like the increased cost of fuel. This year alone, the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner increased 20% from last year, according to data from the Farm Bureau’s annual survey report.

OHU’s Early Learning and Child Development’s Director of Programs, Shanta Payton said, “Since COVID, communities such as Waukegan are seeing an increase in unemployment and food insecurity. A recent Community Needs Assessment completed by Start Early showed that 38.2% of families in Waukegan live in extreme poverty. Some families we serve do not have the financial resources to afford food which is why this event is so important.”

The community support in Waukegan was felt by everyone from the event organizers greeting guests to the attendees that shared the event and carpooled with friends to Busy Bee Children’s Center. Even with freezing temperatures and a few snowflakes, Hope Members were all smiles as they unloaded hundreds of boxes from the Top Box Foods truck. As families drove up to the giveaway station, Hope Members loaded up their cars with two boxes filled with Thanksgiving meal kits that included a frozen whole chicken, dry goods, and produce.

“Top Box Foods is a well-respected company that aims to provide families with healthy, affordable food. This is well-needed for the families we serve. We look forward to partnering with this organization again in the future,” Payton said.

A special thank you to the event sponsors, Humana and the American Diabetes Association. Because of their generous support, this event was possible!

Let’s take action to fight food insecurity this holiday season. Need ideas?

  • Volunteer at your local food bank, meal center, or with an organization like Top Box Foods. Find your local food bank by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting 211.org.
  • Donate food or supplies to your local food bank. Many food banks operate off donations. Check with the food bank to find out what items (e.g. dry goods, produce, dairy, and frozen meats) are most needed.
  • Organize your own food drive. Ask your friends and family to collect canned food and dry goods and donate to your local food bank.

To learn more about our upcoming community events follow One Hope United on Facebook.

 

About Top Box Foods

Top Box Foods is a year-round resource for affordable, nutritious fresh fruit, vegetables, and proteins for anyone and everyone who want to bring healthy food home, and help their neighbors do the same. As a nonprofit community-based organization, Top Box Foods focuses its work in food deserts to increase access to healthy and affordable food with the help of great neighborhood partners, the crucial involvement of volunteers, and generous corporate sponsors. For more information or to find a Top Box Foods location near you go to www.topboxfoods.com.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Children for Preschool

Beginning preschool is an important milestone that will likely bring feelings of excitement, anxiety, and curiosity for both parents and kids. The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic may make the transition even more daunting. One Hope United Early Learning Centers are ready to welcome preschoolers back to the classroom, and want to make sure your little one is ready for a fun year of learning! Here are 5 simple steps our teachers recommend to prepare your child for preschool, so they are ready for all the fun, exploring, and learning they will experience in the years ahead.

 

1. Talk with your child about their feelings around school.

Your child may need some time to find the right words to convey how they feel about going to school. They will likely encounter a mix of excitement and nervousness, especially because many children are wary around strangers when they first meet them. 

Young mother sitting with her son sitting in her lap. They are facing each other and their foreheads are touching.

If your preschool offers a virtual or in-person back-to-school or meet-the-teacher event prior to the first day, this can go a long way toward helping your child feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Remember to point out things like the classroom library, blocks, or fire trucks, as your child will likely remember and hold onto memories of favorite classroom items as they prepare for their first day of school. Marybeth Mlikotic, Director of Programs at One Hope United’s Bridgeport Early Learning Center, shared, “Seeing toys, games, and play areas ahead of time helps children connect with the concept of school, and focus on specific activities they’ll be doing at school. It can be tough for children to connect with the concept of making friends, but things like having their own locker, playing restaurant, or bringing their blanket or lovie for naptime is easier for a child to visualize.”

As a parent, you can help your child get used to the idea of school by asking them some open-ended questions, like what they are most looking forward to, or what they may feel nervous about. It is also important to validate children’s feelings and discuss any changes to their day-to-day routines ahead of time, so they are ready for and used to their new schedule when it is time to start school.

 

2. Prepare them for the social-emotional aspects of preschool.

Children in a preschool classroom may range in age from 2 to 5 years old, and may be at various stages of social, emotional, and intellectual development. Your child’s preschool teacher will likely focus on many aspects of social and emotional growth in the first few months of the school year, so children become more comfortable with concepts like sharing, getting to know their classmates, dealing with disagreements, and helping themselves when they are experiencing tough emotions. After developing this social-emotional foundation, children will have the tools they need to build on other aspects of their development, like language, literacy, and math.

Happy young woman holds her son in her lap.

One of the best things parents can do to prepare their children for the social and emotional components of their school life is to practice interacting with family members and friends in a group setting, and even role-playing certain scenarios, like what their child should do if they are feeling sad, or how to show kindness to classmates. 

Marybeth said that an important piece of helping children feel comfortable socially in their new preschool environment is becoming acclimated with teachers and staff members at school. That’s why teachers at OHU’s Bridgeport Center take steps like hanging photos of team members in each classroom, so that when a teacher, staff member, or maintenance team member enters the classroom, children are already familiar with their face. Children also practice expressing their emotions through activities like journaling or drawing pictures. Additionally, students answer a question of the day that may address topics like what it felt like to say goodbye to their parent or guardian that morning, or how to help a friend feel better if they are sad. 

“It’s about more than learning ABC’s and 1-2-3’s,” Marybeth shared. “One Hope United’s Early Learning Centers care for the whole child, and help them develop equally important skills, like negotiating space, conflict, and relationships.”

 

3. Stick to routines and schedules at home.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have faced challenges creating a steady day-to-day routine for children. In the weeks leading up to a child’s first day of school, it can be beneficial for parents to start their back-to-school schedule ahead of time. A predictable weekday is a helpful way to support a child’s emotions and prepare them for success in the classroom environment.

Mother and daughter brush their teeth in front of a mirror.

Each day in the classroom at OHU Early Learning Centers follows a predictable pattern, and this is a key part of acclimating children to the school environment. Kids get used to lining up for lunch, playing at recess, and prepared lessons. An at-home schedule which includes things like a standard bedtime, a space for your child to hang their coat and backpack, and daily playtime at home after school can help your child adjust to the school year.

 

4. Encourage curiosity.

Parents can also play a significant role in supporting children’s interests and academic development at home. Through daily activities like those on this list from the Mayo Clinic, parents can set their children up for success in preschool and beyond.

Toddler boy holding a magnifying class in front of his face.

OHU administrators take a unique approach to learning by tailoring each curriculum to their student’s areas of interest. Marybeth Mlikotic shared, “our teachers ask students what students would like to learn about. If children in their classroom love trains, their teacher may create a week’s lesson plan around transportation or arrange for a truck driver or fire marshal to visit the classroom. We take this approach to all learning opportunities. It’s all about encouraging a child’s natural curiosity to foster a love of learning.”  

 

5. Take care of yourself!

OHU programs focus on important self-care items like healthy eating, exercise, and mental health. The busy back-to-school season presents both challenges and growth opportunities for children and parents. Family activities that center around things like being active, drawing, and free play can go a long way in supporting children’s mental and emotional health. And of course, self-care is important for parents too! When parents take time to take care of their health, their children are more likely to develop healthy day-to-day habits.

A family of four ride bikes together on a gravel road.

 

Final Thoughts 

While the preschool transition may be challenging, OHU is here to help parents and children with the transition, so students have the tools they need to be happy, healthy, and successful as they return to in-person learning. Marybeth concluded, “One of the most important things parents can do to feel comfortable and set their child up for success in preschool is to be really intentional about their goals. Parents should visit the preschool or early learning center and feel that they understand the center’s policies and procedures, as well as its culture and philosophy. Parents should make sure these approaches match with what they want for their child.” 

Social-emotional skills are the foundation of preschool learning, and are key to ensuring students’ future academic success. Parents can support their children’s transition to preschool by establishing and practicing a daily school routine, and by encouraging their curiosity and interests. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges in preparing children for in-person learning, communities can come together to support our youth, and ensure their future academic growth and success. 

Interested in enrolling at a One Hope United Early Learning Center? Learn more here.

 

Additional Resources

Impacts of Early Childhood Education study in Educational Researcher
https://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/ycdsVk2Xu4vSV8gxECVS/full

The Long-Term Effects of Universal Preschool study published by National Bureau of Economic Research
https://econpapers.repec.org/paper/nbrnberwo/28756.htm

Early Childhood Education Benefits study by Virginia Tech
https://vtx.vt.edu/articles/2017/04/vtcri-earlychildhoodeducation.html

 

*This blog was updated on November 2, 2022 to include additional information.

Leslie Johnson Named Executive Director for Early Childhood Programs

Leslie Johnson, a leader with over 20 years in early childhood, human service, and social service experience, joined One Hope United as Executive Director of Early Learning and Child Development on March 11, 2019.

In this executive leadership role, Johnson 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.

“Working with families and communities in the ELCD arena has always taught me more about myself and fostered my passion for serving others. I do believe that quality services in Early Learning and Child Development create a solid foundation for children and families to grow exponentially,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s experience includes work in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Healthy Families programming, directing regional management and support staff to work with families to achieve their goals.

Johnson worked as a Management Consultant to Head Start and Early Head Start programs in both Illinois and Indiana.  She also worked for the Indiana Institute of Disability and Community as a Research Associate and Child Care Health Consultant, where she was a member of the initial team that implemented the Quality Rating and Improvement System used for child care providers across Indiana.

As Johnson continued her career, she has been fortunate enough to lead regional programs such as Success by Six and has most recently led Statewide Supports for Child Care Resource and Referral programs in Indiana. She holds a BS in Public Affairs from Indiana University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, where she received Outstanding Professional Honors in her cohort.

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 received 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 NAEYC.

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 three 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 centers or the Waukegan center 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 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.wpengine.com/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.

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