Program Highlights & Locations
Chicago Commons is a leading provider of high-quality, comprehensive early childhood education using the Reggio Emilia approach for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Chicago Commons operates four accredited year-round early education preschools in Back of the Yards, Humboldt Park, and Pilsen.
At Chicago Commons, parent and family engagement plays a key role in the success of our children. Parents are considered co-educators with the teacher to help ensure their child stays on track to learn. Parents or guardians can volunteer in the classroom, participate in monthly parent meetings, and join in family workshops on financial topics, nutritional eating, exercise classes and more. Learn more about how our multi-generational learning program, Family Hub, supports the parents/guardians of the children at all four of Commons early education centers.
- Focus on kindergarten readiness and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
- Classrooms known for creative environments, nature-based play areas, and extensive art studio materials
- Teacher qualifications far exceed Illinois licensing requirements
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited and recognized by ExceleRate Illinois as GOLD Circle of Quality programs.
- Diverse learners and children with special needs welcome
Our Approach: Reggio Emilia
At Chicago Commons, we view the early years as crucial to the development of children as individuals. Using the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, children at our early education centers are empowered to author their own learning process. Through exploration and discovery, our children develop their interests while building the skills to be kindergarten ready. Chicago Commons is among the first in the nation to systematically implement the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach with children from under-resourced communities.
The Reggio Emilia approach is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and parent engagement. In Reggio, the parent, teacher and surrounding environment are all considered co-teachers of a child’s education. Children learn through touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing. Art is an essential component and the learning environment features natural materials and plant life.
Our classrooms are known for their creative environments and documentation panels line the hallways with children’s work. Educators from around the country have visited our schools to observe our Reggio Emilia-inspired practices.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our centers are leveraging the power of technology. In addition to weekly calls to families, we are also provide technology-based learning for families.
-Teachers and family workers are conduct visits with children as both check-ins and to support families with virtual reading, activities, and lessons.
-The early education team is integrating an app called Ready Rosie – an evidence-informed and research-based family engagement and early learning resource – to support virtual learning.
-Teachers are creating virtual story time and placing it on YouTube for families to view.
-Centers are communicating these resources to families through a monthly digital newsletter, sent utilizing a text message platform.
-Lastly, teachers continue to receive professional development via technology platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Tuition and Aid
- Need-based tuition based on income eligibility
- Subsidized Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) accepted
- Early Head Start & Head Start eligible
- Competitive monthly preschool tuition rates for ages 3-5 years
Our Early Childhood Centers
Paulo Freire Center
1653 W. 43rd Street, Chicago, IL 60609
Back of the Yards (New City)
Open from 7am to 6pm
Ages 6 weeks to 5 years
Assistant Site Directors: Mallory McGhee and Gloria Fernandez
Site Director: Joanna Burke
For more information call: 773-826-6260
In addition to the four schools that we operate, Chicago Commons partners with 10 other community-based early childhood providers in communities across Chicago. Commons provides professional development training, supportive staff, and evaluation to our Community Partner Programs. For enrollment information, contact the individual sites.
Chicago Commons uses Teaching Strategies GOLD and CLASS assessment tools to evaluate its academic impact and classroom quality. Through GOLD, we know that between 85% to 99% of our children are meeting or exceeding widely-held expectations across the various educational domains. By using CLASS, we also know that Chicago Commons’ centers consistently outperform the local and national averages for teaching quality.
CLASS measures the quality of interactions in a classroom between teachers and students. Research shows that when instructional support scores move above a 3.25, there is significant impact on student achievement that lasts through 3rd grade. Below are Chicago Commons’ results compared with the national average.
CLASS Scores 2018 (based on a 7-point scale)
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