Parenting Resource Center

When looking for quality child care, choose carefully - look for a place where your child is warmly welcomed, where safety and health are priorities and where learning happens through play. Choose a child care program or family child care provider where children experience language and develop early literacy skills through books, songs, and meaningful conversations with their caregivers. Children who have rich early learning environments are better prepared for school and are more likely to have the social skills needed for a successful start in kindergarten and beyond.

Search our online Early Childhood Resource Directory to find child care, preschool and family child care providers in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.

ExceleRate Illinois is a statewide quality rating and improvement system designed to make continuous quality improvement an everyday priority among early learning providers. Learn more about ExceleRate Illinois.

More about Center-Based & Preschools Programs  

 More about Family Child Care Providers  

Here our some points to consider during the decision-making process to help start your search.
Sign up for Ready4K here!

As as parent, you wear many hats. You are your child's first and most important teacher and you are the leader for your family. Learning & workshop opportunities are offered throughout the year to help you strengthen your parenting and leadership skills while connecting you with other parents & caregivers who also have children the same age. Workshops are FREE and offered with community partners.

The Chicago Parent Program (CPP) is a FREE 12-session group parenting program designed to strengthen parenting skills and communication and improve young children’s behavior. Upon completion of the program parents & caregivers will:

• Be more consistent with their parenting strategies
• Feel more confident as parents
• Strengthen and promote interactions and relationships with their children

For parents & caregivers of children ages 2-5 years, this program is free and open to ALL Oak Park & River Forest families. Child care is available. This program is led by trained staff from Easterseals & other community partners. Register for the Spring series here.

Parent Leadership Training. Starting in October 2017, we partnered with Community Organizing & Family Issues (COFI) to offer their unique Family Focused leadership development and community organizing model. The training gives parents & caregivers the tools to become advocates for their family and early childhood Community Ambassadors in Oak Park & River Forest. Learn more about the launch of the program.

Find additional learning & workshop opportunities offered by community partners on our PRP Community Calendar.
Parenting doesn't come with instructions, but fortunately Oak Park and River Forest is committed to your success as a parent. There are free home visiting programs offered year round to families with children birth - 6 years. When you participate in home visiting you will:

• Learn important information about how to support your child's development and growth.
• Attend social activities with other families and children in the program.
• Receive information on resources and networks available in the community, including health and nutrition information and more.

All services are FREE and offered by highly qualified staff.
Get what you need to be your child's first teacher!
Learn more about home visiting.
Call: 708-358-5485
Home visiting referral form.
The first five years of your child’s life are the most important to develop lifelong skills needed to be successful.

A quick check of your child’s development 1-2 times per year helps you:

• Celebrate when your child reaches milestones.
• Teaches you how to support their healthy development and behavior at home.
• Create a relationship between your child’s caregiver, service provider and/or doctor.
• Increase early identification of your child’s strengths, as well as developmental and behavioral concerns.

Our publication "Watch and Help Me Grow" describes milestones children generally reach from birth until age 5. Find the electronic version here or request a copy for FREE if you are a Oak Park & River Forest parent/caregiver.

Visit our online Early Childhood Resource Directory for child care resources, health and safety information, referrals to early childhood services, and more.

If your child is under the age of three, and you have concerns after speaking to your child’s doctor, you may wish to contact your local Child and Family Connections (CFC) office directly. They can help determine if your child is eligible for early intervention services, and help you get those services. For children age three or older contact you local school district's department of special education. Learn more.

Learn more about how to tell if a child's development is on track.

Resources for children with special needs.
Play is FUNdamental! Children at play are highly motivated, developing physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills at the same time as they are expressing ideas and creativity, and learning concepts.

Take a look at our calendar, which links to our partner organizations, to learn about workshops, activities for young children and other important information.

Search a local list of music, gym, swim programs and more.

See a list of early childhood scholarships & reduced cost activities.