Children are curious, thoughtful, open-minded and wonder-filled. In fact, children’s brains develop faster in the first five years of life than they ever will again. They are also at a crucially important point in their development where they have the potential to master valuable skills that will play a role in the way they live the rest of their lives and contribute to our communities. This is what Oak Park and River Forest knew when they came together to establish the Collaboration for Early Childhood.
Children are the focus of everything we do here at the Collaboration.
Data shows that investing in strong early childhood systems and care reduces crime, teen pregnancy, and high school drop-out rates. Early childhood education has the potential to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
While we never lose sight of our children, let’s not forget that our children grow up right here in our community. We cannot support strong children without first supporting strong communities that have the tools and connection to the resources they need to nurture our children. That’s why we work with families, health care professionals, community partners, and teachers to do this work. Our program services model reflects that and so do our organizational mission, vision, and core values.
The Collaboration is supported through contributions by all of Oak Park’s governing agencies. Foundation, individual and corporate gifts also provide significant financial support. Significant volunteer and consultant time and services also support the operations of the Collaboration.