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An Early Learning User’s Guide for Illinois School Boards

Investments in quality early childhood education services can be one of the most cost-effective strategies for schools.

Investments in quality early childhood education services, from birth through age five, can be one of the most cost-effective strategies for school districts to fulfill their overall objective of ensuring that all children in their districts succeed in school and go on to success in college and careers. This guide provides key questions and principles to guide how school boards can be thoughtful in their design, implementation, and funding of early learning programs to ensure that they are effectively investing in programs that will contribute to the district’s long-term goals.

Key Findings

In order to support early learning, school boards should:

  • Assess the current status of early learning in the community
  • Articulate goals for early learning
  • Build on state systems
  • Focus on instructional quality and leadership
  • Instill family engagement practices
  • Respond to a growing population of bilingual children
  • Support comprehensive services

School districts should leverage their dual roles as providers of services and essential partners in early learning systems building to advance high-quality early care and learning.

Policy Team & Collaborators