We are excited to come together in person in Springfield after several years! Whether you can join us in person, or virtually, we are pleased to present several tools and opportunities for advocates to support legislative advocacy efforts throughout the current Illinois legislative session. With our easy-to-use resources, you can call for increased investments and improvements to early childhood services in the state.

Agenda At-A Glance:

6:30-10:30 a.m. Morning Travel to the Inn at 835

10:30 a.m. Welcome

11:00 a.m. Legislative Session Overview & Early Childhood Education Priorities

11:35 a.m. Depart for the Capitol, or, Advocacy Training and Q&A

1:00 p.m. Governor JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Stratton Address Advocates in the Rotunda

1:45 p.m. End Capitol Activities

2:00 p.m, Buses depart from the Inn at 835

Early Childhood Advocacy Day 2023

Building Tomorrow Together

Below, find information on how to participate in Early Childhood Advocacy Day in Springfield on April 18 both in-person and virtually.

Why Advocate?

Take Action Icon in RedAdvocacy: building support for a topic or issue. Advocacy allows you to use your voice and share your story on how an issue, policy or decision has or may impact your life or the lives of those you love. Each year, legislators make important decisions at local, state and federal levels that have real impacts, and you should feel empowered to contact your legislators to help them understand what their decisions mean for communities. For example, crafting a state budget is one of the most important things legislators do. Your advocacy can ensure they consider and priorities early childhood priorities in their decision-making. 


  • Grow, strengthen the state’s early care and education system through an FY24 budget that includes the funding levels outlined in Governor Pritzker’s Smart Start Illinois proposal
  • Support legislation to create a state family and medical leave insurance program.
  • Support legislation to extend the sunset re: staffing flexibility in state preschool classrooms.
  • Support legislation to codify the state’s existing IDHS home visiting programs in law.

View our complete Illinois Legislative Agenda to learn more about priorities Start Early supports during the Spring 2023 legislative session. 

What to Expect: Springfield

Registration is now closed for Early Childhood Advocacy Day in Springfield, IL.

If you registered and are no longer able to attend, please contact events@startearly.org so we can open up your spot to someone on the waitlist.

Bus Information

Some advocates will be riding buses with us down to Springfield, those buses will be departing from the locations listed below. Please double check departure times and meeting points!

  • Start Early: 33 W. Monroe St, Chicago
    • Bus departs at 6:15 a.m.
  • Educare Chicago: 5044 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago
    • Bus departs at 6:30 a.m.
  • SEIU: 2229 S. Halsted St., Chicago
    • Bus departs at 6:10 a.m.
  • ECDEC: 2626 S. Clearbrook, Arlington Heights
    • Bus departs at 6:20 a.m.
  • Elgin: 115 South Grove Ave, Suite 211, Elgin
    • Bus departs at 6:05 a.m.
  • Aurora: 850 Ridgeway Ave, Suite E, Aurora
    • Bus departs at 7:05 a.m.
  • Peoria: 442 W. John H Gwynn Jr Ave, Peoria
    • Bus departs at 8:30 a.m.

What to Expect: Virtual

talk bubbles icon in redIf you can’t be with us in person, join advocates from across the state virtually on Tuesday, April 18 to speak out on behalf of young children and families. We need your voice to champion the importance of early childhood programs to Illinois lawmakers.



Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there any cost to attend Early Childhood Advocacy Day?
    • No! This is a free event, open to all!
  • Can I bring my child(ren) to Advocacy Day?
    • Early Childhood Advocacy Day will be a long day, and especially so for little ones. If you think your little one is up to it, they are welcome to attend, but keep in mind the trip from Chicago to Springfield is approximately 3.5 hours, and there are no activities for children at the capitol building.
  • Will I be able to speak with my lawmaker?
    • We hope so! Some lawmakers might be on the legislative floor, in hearings, meetings, or other appointments while others may be in their offices. We highly encourage you to contact your lawmaker to schedule an in-person meeting. Let them know you are available to meet between 11am-1:45pm. If you are unable to speak with your legislator, you can always leave materials with their administrative staff. We encourage you to follow up with them. Not sure how to contact your lawmaker? Check out our informational videos below.
  • Will there be other people/groups at the captiol?
    • The state capitol is a busy place. There is a chance that other groups may present also for their interests during the same time.
  • What will be provided during the day?
    • We will provide transportation (first come, first serve), snacks, lunch, training and materials. If you do not wish to receive training, you can proceed to the state capitol to meet with your lawmaker.
  • If I want to register a large group, who do I contact?
    • To register a large group, please send an email to advocacy@theounce.org. We will send you a follow-up email with additional details on registration.
  • I have never advocated before so I’m nervous about speaking with my lawmaker.
    • Don’t be nervous. Lawmakers made it to the legislature because they were voted in by people like you. Therefore lawmakers represent their constituents—you! And you probably have advocated before, but didn’t realize it. Advocacy means building support for an issue. You advocate when you speak up and educate someone on a topic. Anyone can advocate by simply sharing their personal stories.
  • Why do we have to leave so early?
    • On Early Childhood Advocacy Day, we want to allow as much time as we can for you to meet with your lawmaker, so we take into consideration traveling time, rest stops, lunch and training.
  • Information About Security at the State Capitol Building
    • Bags are subject to search and backpacks are discouraged. Metal detectors may be used. Pocket knives, pepper spray and mace will be confiscated.

Stay Connected

Is your community group interested in hosting a dialogue with your state legislators about the  importance of early learning and care? Or do you have questions on the legislative session or the resources offered? Contact us at Advocacy@StartEarly.org and follow us on Twitter @EarlyEdIL.

Take Action

Urge Your Legislators to Prioritize IL’s Youngest Learners in the State’s FY 2024 Final Budget

Act Now

Advocacy in Action Resources

Our advocacy how-to- graphics and short videos offer step-by-step overviews on ways you can be an advocate for early childhood programs and stress the importance of investments for the state’s youngest learners.