The Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP), now in it's 13th year, continues to have a transformative impact on the lives of young children ages zero to five who live in low-income areas across Chicago.
More than 830 children and 177 staff have been served through a range of quality improvement projects including efforts designed to build effective classroom management, increase parent engagement and empowerment, and provide education on trauma, brain development, and social-emotional learning.
All grantees report being satisfied with their chosen consultant and identify their planning committee as a useful tool for effective project implementation. Among second-year grantees, planning committees have been tasked with identifying strategies and techniques to ensure an exchange of knowledge between current and future teachers and to establish a culture of professional development.
At some sites, parents have become active participants in elements of the quality improvement projects, with one grantee hiring a Parent Engagement Coordinator and another establishing a Parent Ambassadors Committee. Though only six months into the 2016/2017 EQUIP grant cycle, positive strides are being made at all 10 agencies!
- The teachers at Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park are better able to self-regulate and support the children in their classrooms.
- At Gads Hill Center, teachers are more open to suggestions for improvement and willing to try new approaches. The consultant has been effective in influencing the way teachers think about challenging behavior.
- New classroom layouts at the Schaumburg Children’s Home + Aid have helped children become more active participants in the learning environment.
- Staff at Channing’s Childcare Academy in Austin are energized by their professional development training for early intervention and screening and are using new strategies to build relationships with parents.
- There has been an increase in the number of fathers who attend parent meetings at Onward Neighborhood House in Belmont Cragin.
"[Our consultant’s] enthusiasm has infected our staff…and helped them begin looking at their classrooms in a different light."
- Children’s Home + Aid, Schaumburg
- Evaluation – The 2017 EQUIP evaluation is underway and the final report will be available in early June. The report will identify trends and assess the degree to which past grant recipients have been able to implement and sustain the quality improvements they proposed.
- The guidelines and application for 2017/2018 EQUIP grant cycle have been posted on the Bright Promises Foundation website. Applications are due via email by May 19, 2017.
Bright Promises Foundation 2016-2017 EQUIP Program Partners:
- Channing's Childcare Academy in Austin
Early Intervention and Screening
- Children's Home + Aid in Schaumburg
Social Emotional Learning
- Chinese American Service League in Chinatown/Bridgeport
- Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
Enhanced Parent Engagement around Curriculum & Benchmarks
- Montessori School of Englewood
Englewood Health and Nutrition
Bright Promises awarded a total of $50,000 to first year program partners.
- Children’s Home + Aid in Palatine
Social Emotional Learning
- Children's Place Association in Humboldt Park
Trauma Awareness -Children with Special Needs
- Gads Hill Center in Pilsen
Positive Behavior Management
- Howard Area Community Center
Rogers Park Conscious Discipline (Positive Behavior Management)
- Onward Neighborhood House in Belmont Cragin