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The Illinois Early Learning Project is a source of evidence-based, reliable information on early care and education for families, caregivers, and teachers of young children in Illinois.


What’s New on IEL?

Two children sitting at table, writing

Handwriting for Young Children

In this tool kit, we will explore why writing skills are important to young children, the stages of development that lead from pre-writing to writing, and the importance of play in learning to write.
dad and child with computer tablet

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) can support communication for children with disabilities. AAC is found in many formats and should be individualized for a child’s particular communication needs and strengths. In this case, one size doesn’t fit all! 
boy in wheelchair and blue, winter coat

Dealing with Ableism in Early Childhood Settings 

“Ableism” refers to ideas and actions that devalue people with disabilities. Even in inclusive early childhood settings, sometimes families report that they or their children with disabilities encounter ableism. Learning about disabled peoples’ experiences can help educators and caregivers deal with ableism in programs for young children.
parents, young child and a baby sitting on a couch

Additions to the Family: Help Young Children Prepare

Families add new members in several ways: the birth of a baby, adoption, fostering, or welcoming relatives who need a place to stay. Such situations will affect children already in the family, and they may need support to adjust.
teacher sitting at child's table in school setting, surrounded by children

Food Allergies and Young Children

In this episode, we talk with Dr. Ruchi Gupta and Sarah Valaika from the Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research (CFAAR) about caring for children with food allergies in the early childhood classroom.
preschool girl with paintbrush at table outdoors painting.

Creating Reggio Emilia-Inspired Classrooms

This Q&A gives educators answers to questions about building optimal Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood classrooms.