About EPEL

 

EPEL is a nonprofit organization located in Elgin, Illinois. Using a collective impact model, EPEL examines and works to build connected local systems with partners to create ways to impact capacity, to provide resources, early childhood initiatives, information, and support for families and providers of children under five years of age.

Our Mission

EPEL is building a connected community dedicated to helping young children thrive.

Our Vision

Our children are happy, healthy, and ready for Kindergarten.

What We Believe

EPEL is driven to ensure that all children have access to quality early care and education in Elgin and surrounding neighborhoods. In partnership with our stakeholders, we are committed to promoting policies and practices that intentionally meet the needs of children and families from diverse backgrounds and social identities.

Our Purpose

  • Ensure a shared vision for young children is clearly held, broadly disseminated, and acted upon in the community.
  • Support awareness and access for families to high-quality care and early learning experiences.
  • Coordinate efforts across all birth to five programs to increase impact and efficiency.
  • Support quality improvement and capacity building of birth to five professionals and organizations.
  • Respond to community data about strengths, gaps, and needs.

Since beginning discussions in 2011 around a table in a local coffee shop, our vision has been that all children would arrive at Kindergarten prepared, healthy, happy, and ready to learn. This vision takes a village of support in the three overlapping systems of early learning and development, family leadership and support, and health while keeping thriving children and families at the center of our work. This system model is why we work with families and caregivers, educators and staff, health professionals, and systems leaders.

Through partner collaboration of over 80 organizations, our work in the community falls into four mobilization paths: Early Learning, Community Engagement Partnerships, Family Engagement, and Health & Development. EPEL and partners work to build aligned resources, services and identify gaps that families and data have identified to meet the needs of our youngest learners best. EPEL is committed to improving practices with a lens toward equity, advocacy, and data.

EPEL is driven to ensure that all children have access to quality early care and education in Elgin and surrounding neighborhoods. In collaboration with our partners, we are committed to promoting policies and practices that intentionally meet the needs of children and families from diverse backgrounds and social identities.

Children have approximately 2,000 Days from birth until they enter Kindergarten. 90% of brain growth occurs in the first five years of life, so our community's collective responsibility is to support and help prepare our youngest learners for school and life during this critical time. Community leaders who knew the importance of the first five years formed EPEL as a collaborative collective impact community partnership in 2012 to ensure young children's healthy growth and development through local system development in Elgin. The collective impact work brings together early childhood providers, the school district, government, health care, social services, and an array of community-based cross-sector stakeholders.

History of EPEL

In 2011, community, health care, religious, and school district leaders met at a coffee shop to discuss what the design of an early childhood collaboration of public and private partnership would look like in Elgin to improve the journey of our youngest learners in becoming prepared for Kindergarten.

In 2012, the Elgin Partnership for Early Learning (EPEL) was formed as a collaborative community partnership to ensure the healthy growth and optimal development of young children in the context of their families through local systems development in Elgin. Community partners committed to taking action by giving up individual agendas and adopting an approach called Collective Impact, which leverages its partners' commitment to contribute and collaborate to improve local early childhood resources and sustainable outcomes. The collaborative work brings together early childhood care and education providers, community-based organizations, education, government, health care, social services, and a broad array of community stakeholders. The following ideas describe the foundational beliefs which provide a basis for the work of EPEL.

In 2021, Elgin Partnership for Early Learning filed for 501C-3 to stand alone as a nonprofit, rebranded and adopted a new logo to symbolize the mission and vision of children and families in the center of the work with overlapping circles that signify the cross-sector systems of support.