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Chicago’s Universal Preschool

Nashone Greer-Adams is doing amazing things. Mayor Emanuel had the privilege to be joined by the founder of Little Angels Learning Center in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood to talk about the importance of early education, serving the whole family, her own personal journey, and her plans for the future.

Mayor Emanuel Announces New Early Childhood Education Site in Englewood

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Roderick Sawer joined today the Department of Family and Support Services and Chicago Public Schools to announce the Little Angels Learning Center in Englewood. Little Angels, which currently operates out of a shared space in Alpha Temple Church, will be built on lots purchased through the Department of Planning and Development Large Lots program.

“Early education is a necessity for every child, not a luxury for some children,” said Mayor Emanuel. “In Chicago, we are proud to build out more early education sites alongside community-based organizations across the city, to provide every student with the high-quality, early education that they deserve.”

“Mayor Emanuel understands that education is the most critical investment we can make in our children, and that starts on day one,” said Nashone Greer-Adams, Founder and Executive Director of Little Angels Learning Center. “I am proud to work with the city to expand Little Angels so that we can continue preparing students in Englewood for kindergarten and beyond.”

Once built, Little Angels will serve approximately 100 children a year, from birth through five years old. Little Angels Learning Center is a community-based partner in the Englewood community.

“Little Angels will help prepare students in Englewood with a quality education that provides the foundation for a successful academic career,” said Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward. “I am proud to work with Mayor Emanuel to support this much-needed investment to the Englewood community and ensure our children are prepared for a successful future.”

These projects build on investments of both the Department of Family and Support Services and Chicago Public Schools to ensure that City-administered programs are high-quality and effectively prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

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Capital investments in early education were recently released in the CPS budget, including the first year of funding towards making pre-k universal in Chicago. Four additional early education sites, which will open between Fall 2018 and Fall 2019, will be at Dore Elementary, Perez Elementary, Gads Hill Center and Asian Human Services Passages Charter School. The mayor first announced early education programming sites in the 2018 budget as an initial investment to implement universal full-day pre-k for all 4-year-olds.

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To help ensure a greater capacity going forward, a capital funding for the new Pre-K centers is included in the proposed CPS FY19 capital plan. Chicago Public Schools recently proposed nearly $1 billion in a capital plan —the district’s largest single-year capital investment in more than two decades — to promote equitable access to high-quality resources by investing in educational programming, overcrowding relief, facility maintenance, athletic spaces, and IT and security upgrades.

As the first step in Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious plan to establish free Pre-K for all 4-year-olds by 2021, CPS is expanding full-day Pre-K next year to accommodate an additional 3,700 students. Under this ambitious plan, an additional 180 full-day CPS classrooms will be added for this fall and will serve the families most in need – or roughly 15,000 of the city’s 4-year-olds. In the first year, the expanded programming will focus on families of four who make less than $46,435 per year. Before the Mayor took office, less than 6,000 4-year-olds had access to Pre-K; this plan will ensure that 24,000 children are served.

Families can apply for preschool programs through the universal online application. This online site provides a single point of entry to access a comprehensive menu of over 600 programs for three- and four-year-olds available under Chicago CPS, DFSS and city-administered community-based sites citywide. All locations can be found at http://www.chicagoearlylearning.org.

Mayor Emanuel recently spoke with Nashone Greer-Adams on the Chicago Stories podcast. The two spoke about the importance of early education, serving the whole family, and her plans for the future.