This October, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Every Child Ready Chicago, a new collective initiative to build the systems infrastructure needed to ensure all of the city’s children enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive. Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce) is proud to support Mayor Lightfoot and the City of Chicago, providing strategic and logistical support to the initiative.
In support of the public launch of the initiative, Start Early president Diana Rauner and senior vice president of advocacy and policy Kristin Bernhard spoke with local media about the state of early learning in the city and what the initiative means for Chicago’s families and children.
In an appearance on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” Diana Rauner shared the importance focusing on children before birth through age 5. “We know the first five years of life, beginning before birth, are a critical time to build attachment relationships, to build and lay the foundation in the brain to manage frustration, handle communication, build social and emotional skills and the critical language skills that help children enter kindergarten as curious, competent and independent learners.”
She continued, “We need to ensure the settings where children find themselves, child care settings, Head Start programs, pre-K settings, that those are high-quality, stimulating environments that are staffed by people who are well-trained and well-compensated.”
The aim is to develop a multiyear strategic plan to create a strong and equitable system where all parents and children, particularly those in under-resourced communities, have access to quality services.