Bright Promises Continues to Invest in Quality Education for Chicago's Early Learners

November 6, 2019

About EQUIP: Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program

Launched in 2004, the Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) provides grants to early childhood education agencies in Cook County to implement sustainable quality improvements that directly benefit low-income children between the ages of birth to five.
Parents celebrating pre-school graduation with their children at past EQUIP grantee partner Learning Bridge Early Education Center.

EQUIP is an effective and impactful model of grantmaking that has helped early childhood agencies implement and sustain critical quality improvements. With EQUIP funds, organizations obtain the assistance of an external consultant to plan, implement, and institutionalize a quality improvement project in a specific area of service. Examples of past quality-improvement projects supported through EQUIP include parent engagement and support of effective parenting, promoting social and emotional development, understanding how trauma affects children and how to promote resilience, and the assessment and understanding of special needs and/or mental health issues among early learners.

While focused on addressing a key area of quality improvement, EQUIP grants go far beyond their stated outcomes. They have positive, reverberating effects throughout the funded agencies. EQUIP remains one of very few sources of support available to early childhood centers for quality improvements.Furthermore, Bright Promises provides our EQUIP partners with multi-year funding to ensure that quality improvements are lasting and sustainable.

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Grant Recipients

Bright Promises Foundation is proud to make grants to seven leading early childhood educations agencies serving low-income children ages 0-5 in the Greater Metropolitan Chicago Area to support their quality improvement projects.

Children's Place Association: Children's Place will use their EQUIP grant to to extend their successful CLASS teacher training program to ten Early Learning Center assistant teachers. Children's Place will continue to engage with an expert consultant in CLASS to train staff and provide hands-on coaching in the classroom. Through this training, teachers are becoming better equipped to respond to each child's unique learning style, engaging and providing improved learning that will help all children to grasp and benefit from the material.

HANA Center: With an EQUIP grant, HANA Center established a classroom lending library program, equipping it with rich and age appropriate children’s literature. Next, HANA Center will dig deeper and focus on enriching engagement by offering anti-bias children’s literature that promotes social justice, socio-emotional learning, tolerance, and cultural diversity. A consultant will train the teaching staff on how to incorporate and convey anti-bias literature and issues into every day lesson planning and activities.

The Carole Robertson Center for Learning: The Carole Robertson Center for Learning is in the process of examining, refining, and embedding a mental health/social-emotional learning (MH/SEL) approach into all aspects of their organization. CRCL will use their EQUIP grant to work with a cross-functional team of staff ambassadors to build upon this framework, and review and refine organizational practices in mental health and social emotional learning.

Children and their parents and caregivers participate in a sing-along at the Chinese American Service League, current EQUIP program partner.

Chinese American Service League: CASL will use their EQUIP grant to provide better emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support by providing CLASS training to their preschool teachers.

Gads Hill Center: By training education staff on the Teaching Strategies Gold system and the developmentally appropriate activities from the Parent as Teacher curriculum, Gads Hill Center will use their EQUIP grant to help children achieve kindergarten readiness and maintain developmental readiness at home and in school.

Onward Neighborhood House: Onward’s Music Enhancement project was born out of an Erikson Institute’s Math Collaborative, where teachers learned to incorporate foundational math concepts into everyday activities. One of the methods used to teach young children math concepts was music. With there commendation of staff, Onward is working with a music consultant who specializes in developing songs and music that help children understand numbers and math. The consultant will be working with teachers on simple ways to incorporate music into their lessons.

Children at Onward Neighborhood House, current EQUIP program partner, dress up as super heroes.

Northwestern Settlement: The center works with children who experience multiple and varied forms of childhood trauma. In order to address the effects of those trauma, Northwestern Settlement wants to ensure that staff is prepared to address and identify types of trauma through an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) assessment for every child. With targeted intervention, staff will be able to better assist children with both long and short-term gains in their health and development.