Why Early Childhood Opportunities Matter
Brains are built, not born. 85-90% of brain growth occurs in the first 1,100 days of life. Research shows that children who have had early experiences during the first 2,000 Days come to school more prepared and successful in school and life. Currently, under 20% of the children entering School District U-46 come to school ready to learn. Early experiences and positive relationships with caring adults help build a strong, healthy foundation for learning. Therefore, access to high-quality early care and preschool programs are vital to children's long-term success in Kindergarten.
Community Demographics and Early Learning Landscape
Elgin has 112,000 residents and 10,000 children ages five and under, and the surrounding communities combined an additional 8,000 children.
School District U-46, the second-largest system in Illinois. It includes 11 communities that will serve a combined 18,000 children five and under in the future.
Our community faces the challenge of what is considered a "slot gap," which is a shortage of early learning slots compared to the number of eligible children based on living at or under 185% Federal Poverty Level. The eleven communities that School District U-46 will serve in Kindergarten have a shortage of 2,552 spaces for children ages birth to two-year-old and 1,392 slots for 3 to 5-year-olds.
EPEL is currently leading community planning to work together to build a plan to offer equitable access to additional high-quality programs. We use data to measure our progress and identify community needs for families.
Elgin Community Data Birth to Five
Innovation Zone Data