In addition to the $13.25 million in federal early-childhood grants for Evanston kids announced last week, another $8.5 million has been awarded to the Childcare Network of Evanston, it was learned Monday.
Together, the federal grants will infuse more than $21 million into the local economy over the next five years to help prepare 3-to-5-year-olds for school through services focused on social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.
The larger grant was awarded to Evanston/Skokie School District 65 for early Head Start services, in conjunction with the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston.
In the District 65 classrooms at its Early Childhood Center, children receive instruction from certified early childhood teachers in formative literacy in reading and math, and problem solving, while encouraging curiosity and cooperating in groups, according to a district statment.
“Since these are district classrooms, there is an intentional emphasis on preparing young children for kindergarten,” the district stated.
“This is a great opportunity to follow the vision recently unveiled by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell for continued improved service for our children and families,” said CNE’s executive director Andrea Densham.
CNE will support 144 children who will receive weekly education and family support visits in their home from early childhood specialists and 28 children who received early childhood services in family care settings.
In addition to these core services, CNE will provide peer groups for parents; connection to medical services through Erie Family Health Center; linkage to career services through National Able Network; coordination with youth service orgaizations to ensure community schools are linked to early learning support; and transition planning for children entering kindergarten.
District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren said “we look forward to working alongside the Childcare Network of Evanston and our community partners to provide much-needed programming and services to the children and families of Evanston and Skokie.”
“We at CNE look forward to working together with District 65 as we all focus on improving outcomes for children and families,” Densham added.
Both organizations are partners in the recently established Evanston Crade to Career initiative that involves some two dozen Evanston organizations working together to help the community’s youth become prepared for future careers.