Our Commitment to Equity
The Collaboration for Early Childhood began in 2003 with the purpose of ensuring opportunity for all children. Equity is infused in everything we do. It is the backbone of our founding mission and vision, and it is embedded in the red outer band of our program services model because it encircles all parts of our work. Equity is the lens with which we work with other agencies and how we partner shoulder to shoulder with the Oak Park and River Forest communities. Whether you’re a parent, provider, or systems leader, caring about children means working to ensure that they have access to opportunity.
2020 elevated the importance of our equity work and the importance of agencies like ours in a crisis. The health pandemic and racist violence of 2020 called for us to focus our work in both health equity, racial equity, and the places where the two intersect. It meant supporting people at their most vulnerable, and hoping that the support facilitated healing. In August 2020, The Collaboration for Early Childhood begin their partnership with The Mary Morten Group to help staff and the Board of Directors keep their focus on diversity, racial equity, and inclusion. We also partnered with the New Teacher Center to help co-host early learning professional development opportunities about equity and develop our Racial Equity Framework, which you can find the graphic of in right-hand column of this page. We invite you to learn more about the pieces of that framework by clicking on the graphic.
The Collaboration’s commitment to equity continues to drive our work, because there is still so much to do to truly become a community where every child can thrive. The work evolves as we grow as an agency. To see 2020 from an Equity lens, view Page 21 of our 2020 IGA Report’s Timeline of Equity Events: Racial Equity, Health Equity and the Collaboration’s Response that our Executive Director, John Borrero compiled. You can also learn about the innovative work we are doing during the 2021-22 program year as members of the #CareConstellation Cohort, through IDEO and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Below, take a look at some of the recent ways equity has been at the heart of our work in the Early Childhood arena.
- #CareConstellation Cohort Member: Building the Preschool to Prison Pipeline
- Early Childhood Equity Summit
- Development of the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s Racial Equity Framework (pictured below) and Application Toolkit.
- Heather Duncan of the Collaboration and Sylvia Swirsky, Parent Leadership Co-Facilitator participated in Illinois Action for Children’s Equity From the Start: Reimagining the Early Childhood System
- Families First | La Familia Primero partnered up with ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson for the Parent Workshop: How to Teach Black History to Our Children
- The Collaboration’s Family Engagement Program Service area, in Partnership with First United Nursery School, hosted The Antiracist Preschooler facilitated by Juanta Griffin, Multicultural Coordinator at the Oak Park Public Library
- In partnership with New Teacher Center, hosted a 3 Session PD Series: Trauma Sensitive Practices for our Earliest Learners
- Responded to recent events with a series of resources to fight racism against Asians
- Three Part Series: Talk to Your Child about Racism, Talk to your Child about the News, Recognizing and Supporting Children who have faced Trauma.
- Helping Every Child Thrive: Health Equity in Early Childhood Physicians’ Network Web Series
- Created a free, three-part telehealth session: “Running on Empty: The Cost of Caring in the Time of COVID-19.”
- Partnered with the Oak Park Public Library and Equity Team Oak Park to launch a virtual program for children transitioning to kindergarten in the midst of COVID-19 called Ready, Set, Kindergarten! in the Summer of 2020.
- Received a Rapid Response and Recovery Grant from the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation to learn about the innovative strategies, challenges, and stories from early learning centers about providing child care during COVID-19.
- Partnered with Sarah’s Inn to develop resources for helping children who have been affected by domestic violence.
Above: Oak Park residents painting the Black Lives Matter mural on Scoville Avenue. Photo by Paul Goyette.
The Collaboration invites members of our community to take action. Help us to light the way for young Black and Brown children and ensure a path of promise for Black families in our community. Here is what you can do today:
- If you are a parent and you think that your child has been deprived of opportunity because of his/her race, we would like to know about your experience. We would like to listen to you and use our position in the community to help resolve issues around access to opportunity.
- If you are a teacher or program staff and you would like training on how to identify your own biases, and gain strategies on how to adopt equity as your lens, or if you want to make sure that you are creating a bright path for Black children in your preschool classroom, we would like to hear about your needs and make training opportunities available to you.
- If you are a program director, or teacher and one or more of your classrooms is struggling to understand and navigate the impact of stress or adversity in the life of a child in your program, let us know. The Collaboration would like to pair you with a clinician who will work with you to examine and understand what you are seeing in the classroom and give you strategies for retaining and helping this child to thrive in your classroom.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for More Information?
Head to our Contact Us page and fill out our contact form and someone from our team will get back to you. We look forward to hearing from you!