In 2000, Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce) developed the first Educare school to serve the children and families rebuilding their community after the demolition of the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest public housing developments in Chicago.
Since then, we’ve partnered with diverse communities and early childhood champions across the country to build a national network of 25 birth-through-age 5 schools and improve access to high-quality early education across the country. Start Early acts as the backbone organization for the Educare Learning Network to generate network-wide resources, highlight and share Network innovations and solve practice and policy challenges.
As one of the nation’s most diverse and effective networks of high-quality early childhood schools, our Educare schools are learning hubs that innovate, evaluate and share best practices to transform the lives of young children and their families in under-resourced communities, and positively impact the broader early childhood field. Educare schools integrate research, practice and policy to ensure more children and families experience quality early learning and care, positioning them for academic and lifelong success.
Our comprehensive program incorporates what science says children need to thrive. The use of data and research to drive continuous quality improvement is foundational to our approach, and teachers and staff are empowered to continually develop their passion and practice. Program evaluation shows that when children leave Educare for elementary school, they are more academically, socially and emotionally prepared for kindergarten.
Each year, Educare Learning Network schools serve nearly 4,000 children, providing high-quality early education experiences that enrich and empower the entire family. Additionally, our Network facilitates meaningful professional development experiences for over 3,000 early childhood professionals each year.