EQUIP Early Childhood - Improving Early Childhood Care and Education for Low-Income Families
The EQUIP Early Childhood quality Improvement Program ensures access to high-quality early childhood education for children ages 0-5 across Chicagoland. In 2023-24, Bright Promises is partnering with 7 community organizations to implement sustainable quality improvements that promote a love of learning and healthy physical and mental development.
Nearly 3,000 children ages birth to five and their families are benefiting through the EQUIP grant initiative this year, with thousands more benefiting from the increased capacity and knowledge gained by our grantee partners.
Over the last decade, EQUIP has used an effective and impactful model of targeted support and ongoing evaluation that helped early childhood agencies implement and sustain critical quality improvements. As the early childhood sector evolves and the needs of children and families shift, Bright Promises is committed to remaining responsive to chidlren’s changing needs. Therefore, next year Bright Promises will employ our innovative process of convening leaders with different areas of expertise in fields related to children’s health and well-being for a series of moderated discussions to help us identify under-recognized and under-funded needs of Chicagoland children ages birth to five. Then, we will work with experts to develop a grant program to respond to these needs
Below is a summary of Bright Promises current partnerships and some of our grantee partner’s recent accomplishments. Bright Promises wishes to express our gratitude for all of our grantee partners. You are our reason for being, and it is an honor and privilege to be in partnership with you. We also wish to express our gratitude for our generous donors whose support fuels our mission. Thank you!
- Christopher House - The social emotional learning (SEL) supports offered through Christopher House's family of schools have proven to be critical for the success, stability, and development of the children and families they serve.
With Bright Promises support, Christopher House provided additional teacher training and professional development opportunities that resulted in 90% of preschoolers meeting the widely held expectations of SEL development for students transitioning to kindergarten. 53% of preschoolers transitioning into kindergarten tested "kindergarten ready", which is an 18% increase in kindergarten-readiness.
- Concordia Place - Bright Promises partnered with Concordia Place to ensure that anti-bias education is the foundation of their early care and education programs. This impacts not only their interactions with children, families and staff, but will also shape their curriculum to ensure that it follows anti-bias principles and is culturally relevant. With Bright Promises support, Concordia Place delivered "The ABC's of Anti-Bias Education" training to staff, resulting in 93% of participants reporting an increased knowledge of anti-bias and inclusion in early childhood.
"I learned about the history of racism, AND that I can feel comfortable talking about race and exploring differences.”
"I learned SO Much! The origins of race, ways to talk to my preschooler about race, how to be mindful everyday about how I’m responding to race and what media I am bringing into our home.”
"I learned new ways of approaching topics of race and bias with my children."
"I learned how important it is to talk to children young, including (especially) my white child.
- TUCC Early Childhood Centers - As a result of Bright Promises support, fathers and father figures becoming increasingly involved within the daycare setting at TUCC Early Childhood Centers. This past year, there has been an increase in male participation in the daycare center and through various activities. There is a rise in male involvement in improving mental health, parenting, and family communication.
Fathers who participated in this program were engaged, willing to participate, and open to receiving wisdom and knowledge from the facilitators and speakers during the groups and outings. Additionally, TUCC leveraged Bright Promises support to discover innovative approaches to creating a father-friendly atmosphere and supporting fathers as advocates.
- A House in Austin – A House in Austin is committed to hiring staff from the community as they understand the children and parents in a unique way. While hiring staff that understands the community brings great value, it does require A House in Austin to find new and unique opportunities to train and provide support for their staff. With Bright Promises support, A House in Austin is providing staff and volunteer training led by speech and occupational therapists and additional curriculum support for staff.
- Chicago Commons - Bright Promises is supporting Chicago Commons to administer a leadership development training workshop for ten of its early childhood leaders. Through this project, Chicago Commons will achieve quality improvements within its four primary ECE centers located in Humboldt Park, Pilsen, and Back of the Yard). Leaders will learn to actively listen and engage with their staff, enabling them to better understand individual perspectives, concerns, and aspirations. By establishing a more positive organizational culture from the top down, Chicago Commons will cultivate more positive interactions between trained educators and their leadership team, effectively resulting in a more quality learning environment for the children served within their early childhood education centers.
- Children’s Place Association- With Bright Promises support, Children's Place will provide a program of training on Instructional Support and intensive, coordinated follow up, observations and feedback for Early Learning Center staff. Through this training teachers will become better equipped to respond to each child’s unique learning style and to engage in and provide improved learning opportunities that will help all children to grasp and benefit from the material. This will equip teaching staff to provide the best support and prepare children for kindergarten and academic success.
- Onward House - Since the beginning of the pandemic, the increased number of children qualifying for Early Intervention and Special Education services for developmental delays and other diagnostic categories, such as autism spectrum disorder, has been staggering. The parallel challenge of provider shortages in the field is only perpetuating the already existing inequities for low-income children in urban environments. With Bright Promises support, Onward House is engaging a speech-language pathologist (SLP) consultant to train staff, furthering Onward House’s commitment to enhancing the services for children with disabilities.
Cover image provided by A House in Austin