Maintaining Kindergarten Readiness in Underserved Communities

The Carole Robertson Center for Learning was founded as an afterschool program, serving youth on the West Side of Chicago after the closure of their high school. Today the center serves over 1,000 children from birth to age 17 and their families. The center is one of the only organizations in Chicago that offers every early childhood service delivery model: center-based, a network of family childcare homes, home visiting, microcenters, and small partner sites.

The grant from CME Group Foundation will help enable the Carole Robertson Center for Learning to boldly address the need for kindergarten readiness among Chicago's pre-K children in the underserved North Lawndale and Little Village communities. The center will identify around 100 preschoolers who will enroll in kindergarten in 2021 and will bring their families together to orient them to BASES-K.

The center has been closed since early March, and since then their staff has reprogrammed their entire direct services delivery mission into one managed through every possible virtual channel, including phone check-ins. The center has also been distributing essential goods like diapers, formula, and age-appropriate books every Monday from various locations.

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