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Illinois Early Learning Guidelines

2013 Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
Introductory Material

Thank you to Robert R. McCormick Foundation Board and staff for their generous support of the project with a commitment that demonstrates respect for the process and for the Illinois stakeholders, and, most significantly, a reverence for the importance of supporting children from birth to three years. The McCormick Foundation continues to be a valued partner in furthering development of a high quality early learning system for our youngest children.

Thank you to the Early Learning Guidelines Workgroup members for their substantial contribution of time to guide a process that never lost sight of children from birth to three, and to the Writing Team members for their tireless commitment to getting the content just right.

  • Barbara Abel, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Jennifer Alexander, Metropolitan Family Services
  • Vincent Allocco, El Valor
  • Casey Amayun, Positive Parenting DuPage
  • Jeanne M. Anderson, Nurse Family Partnership – National Office
  • Gonzalo Arroyo, Family Focus – Aurora
  • Anita Berry, Advocate Health Care
  • Jill Bradley, Illinois Action for Children
  • Sharonda Brown, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Ted Burke, Illinois EI Training
  • Stephanie Bynum, Erikson Institute
  • Jennett D. Caldwell, Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity, Inc.
  • Jill Calkins, Tri-County Opportunities Council
  • Alexis Carlisle, Department of Children and Family Services
  • Lindsay Cochrane, Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • Kimberly Dadisman, Chapin Hall Center for Children
  • Kathy Davis, Springfield SD 186
  • Elva DeLuna, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Claire Dunham, Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Bridget English, Jacksonville SD 117
  • Mary English, Jacksonville SD 117
  • Jana E. Fleming, Erikson Institute
  • Mary Jane Forney, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Phyllis Glink, The Irving Harris Foundation
  • Julia Goldberg, Childcare Network of Evanston
  • Pat Gomez, La Voz Latina
  • Marsha Hawley, Kendall College
  • Theresa Hawley, Educare of West DuPage
  • Lynda Hazen, Head Start DuPage
  • Artishia Hunter, Postive Parenting DuPage
  • Jean Jackson, Community Child Care Connection, Inc.
  • Raydeane James, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Leslie Janes, Carole Robertson Center for Learning
  • Jamilah R. Jor’dan, Jor’dan Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Susan Kaplan, Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health
  • Leslie Katch, National-Louis University
  • Joanne Kelly, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Kathy Kern, Parenthesis, Inc.
  • Ashleigh Kirk, Voices for Illinois Children
  • Rebecca Klein, Ounce of Prevention Fund – Hayes Center
  • Jon Korfmacher, Erikson Institute
  • Linda Langosch, Community & Economic Development Association of Cook County
  • Rima Malhotra, Chicago Public Schools
  • Janet Maruna, Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
  • Jean Mendoza, Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative
  • Paulette Mercurius, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
  • Susan R. Miller, Consultant
  • Lauri Morrison-Frichtl, Illinois Head Start Association
  • Heather Moyer, Teen Parent Connection
  • Christina Nation, Parents as Teachers – Springfield School District
  • Nara Nayar, Advance Illinois
  • Kristie Norwood, Chicago Commons
  • Sessy Nyman, Illinois Action for Children
  • Gregory O’Donnell, Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Marcia Orr, Before and After School Enrichment, Inc.
  • Patricia Perez, City Colleges of Chicago
  • Christy Poli, Bensenville Birth to Three Program
  • Rosaura Realegeno, Family Focus – Aurora
  • Susan Reynolds, Chicago Public Schools
  • Vanessa Rich, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
  • Kate Ritter, Illinois Action for Children
  • Jessica Roberts, Voices for Illinois Children
  • Celena Roldan, Erie Neighborhood House
  • John Roope, Chaddock Child and Family Center
  • Allen Rosales, Christopher House
  • Gina Ruther, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Christine Ryan, Chicago Public Schools
  • Andrea Sass, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Linda Saterfield, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Joni Scritchlow, Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
  • Mary Self, Make A Difference – Bradley Elementary School District
  • Cherlynn Shelby, Department of Children and Family Services
  • Kathleen M. Sheridan, National-Louis University
  • Heather Shull, Early Explorations, Inc.
  • Julie Spielberger, Chapin Hall Center for Children
  • Lauren Stern, El Valor
  • Mary Lee Swiatowiec, Childcare Network of Evanston
  • Barbara Terhall, Easter Seals Joliet Region, Inc.
  • Dawn V. Thomas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Victoria Thompson, Children’s Home Association of Illinois
  • Marsha Townsend, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
  • Sharifa Townsend, Illinois Action for Children
  • Melissa Veljasevic, 4-C: Community Coordinateed Child Care
  • Rebecca Waterstone, SGA Youth and Family Services
  • Xiaoli Wen, National-Louis University
  • Deb Widenhofer, Baby TALK, Inc.
  • Candace Williams, Positive Parenting DuPage
  • Katie Williams, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Cass Wolfe, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
  • Janice Woods, Chicago Commons – New City
  • Tweety Yates, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Over the course of this process, the Work Group has relied upon the input and lessons learned from numerous stakeholders within Illinois and from peers in other states. Thank you all for taking the time to guide us with your extensive feedback during interviews and conversations.

A total of 24 interviews were conducted; thank you to representatives from the following Illinois entities for their time and expertise:

  • Advocate Healthy Steps for Young Children
  • Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
  • Erikson Institute
  • Illinois Birth to Three Training Institute
  • Illinois Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics
  • Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership
  • Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Child Care Licensing
  • Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), including the Bureaus of Child Care and Development, Child and Adolescent Health, and Early Intervention; the Head Start Collaboration Office; the Healthy Families Program; and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start
  • Illinois Early Intervention Training Program
  • Illinois Head Start Association
  • Illinois Home Visiting Task Force
  • Illinois Infant Mental Health Association
  • Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies
  • IIllinois State Board of Education’s Early Childhood Division
  • Kendall College
  • Professional Development Advisory Council
  • Western Illinois University

Thank you to the following states, representatives of which participated in in-depth interviews:

  • California
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

To our Illinois state agency partners, thank you for committing not only to the work of the creation of ELGs for birth to three but also to the longer term impact that will come from the implementation of this content across all programs in Illinois.

  • Illinois Department of Child and Family Services
  • Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Illinois State Board of Education

Project management from the Ounce of Prevention and Positive Parenting DuPage thank the following individuals for being part of the team: Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, for project coordination and staffing; Barbara Dufford, our communications designer; Jessica Rodriguez Duggan, our technical writer; and Catherine Scott Little, national expert on early learning guidelines and processes to create them, for guidance on process design and review of the complete content.


IEL Resources

  • List of standards
    IEL has created a convenient HTML list of the standards included in the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines.
    English | Spanish
  • IEL FAQ: What Do Parents Need to Know About the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age 3? About

Guidelines Posters and Brochures

  • Guidelines poster
    IEL has a large poster that lists all of the standards in the Guidelines.
    English | Spanish
  • Guidelines brochure
    This handy pamphlet, which also lists all the standards, can be handed out to parents and others interested in learning more about the Guidelines.
    English | Spanish
  • Order online
    Use our online form and IEL will mail up to 10 posters and 20 brochures free of charge to any address within the state of Illinois.

Additional Resources

Print Version

IEL is providing access to a PDF of the full 170-page printed version of the Guidelines:

Guidelines Webinar

This webinar provides a short overview of the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three. It also provides a tour of the resources available on the Illinois Early Learning Project website that can support the use of the guidelines in practice and at home.


Find resources related to the Illinois Early Learning Birth to 3 Guidelines:


The opinions, resources, and referrals provided on the IEL Web site are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice, or of other appropriate services. We encourage you to seek direct local assistance from a qualified professional if necessary before taking action.

The content of the IEL Web site does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education; nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education.