CPS Early Learning Applications Now Available for SY 14-15 

Part of a Three-Year, $36 Million Investment in Early Childhood Education, Chicago: Ready to Learn! Expands High Quality Early Learning Options Across the City



February 28, 2014



CHICAGO – CPS today launched the website for Chicago: Ready to Learn!, a forum to provide high quality early education options for the City's youngest learners. Starting on March 3rd, parents will be able to apply to CPS' early education programs by going to cps.edu/readytolearn. Children who will be 3 years old by September 1, 2014 and reside in the City of Chicago are eligible to apply. Parents will also be able to enroll in other early learning programs throughout the year.


"I believe the most important thing we can do for our city is set our children on a path for success, which is why we are committed to providing every student in Chicago with a high-quality education – from cradle to career, from pre-kindergarten to college," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "Investing in these high quality early education options pays dividends for our communities by ensuring we are giving our children the resources and tools they need to eventually graduate 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound."


The Mayor launched Ready to Learn by bringing CPS and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) together to manage resources under one early education system. Through a coordinated application and review process, Ready to Learn has allowed CPS and DFSS to better distribute funds while also ensuring that all programs receiving city funding have the quality staff and resources to prepare students for Kindergarten and beyond.


Ready to Learn is also part of Mayor Emanuel's three-year, $36 million investment in early childhood education that has significantly expanded early learning opportunities citywide. This three year investment will expand access to DFSS and CPS' early learning programs for 5,000 new children who are not currently being served and raise quality of current programs for 6,000 children already enrolled by adding wraparound services such as intensive parent engagement, nursing services, or community partnerships. This investment has also helped increase the quality and quantity of early learning options in communities across the City where they have been limited in the past, which includes a new Early Learning and Wellness Center serving Englewood and the Back of the Yards communities.


"We know that the early years are critical to a child's future success, which is why we have made this commitment to ensuring that all students are prepared for a 21st century education before they walk through our doors," said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "Through our partnership with DFSS, we can ensure that students receive the instruction they will need to prepare them to graduate and be successful in college and career."


Research indicates that high-quality early childhood programs boost academic skills, foster independence, and instill a lifelong love of learning. Further, children who attend high-quality early childhood programs are 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school and earn a 33 percent higher salary on average. In addition to the academic benefits, early childhood programs connect children with wrap-around services like parent engagement and empowerment opportunities, access to social services, and medical and dental providers. The latter is particularly important, as research has shown that children who have regular medical care during their pre-school years begin kindergarten healthy and have better attendance and academic performance throughout the year.


Applications for CPS school-based early childhood programs can be accessed by visiting cps.edu/readytolearn, or can be picked up at a local elementary school or at one of 17 application sites throughout the city. Children who will be 3 years old by September 1, 2014 and reside in the city of Chicago are eligible to apply. All applications must be submitted in person at one of the 17 centralized application sites, or at local elementary schools on designated days. Proof of residency, income and the child's age will be required with all applications. The deadline for submitting an application is April 11, 2014, and notification letters will be sent to parents in early May.


Application sites are located at:


7507 West Birchwood

9:00 am – 4:00 pm



4728 North Wolcott

8:00 am - 3:00 pm



4837 West Erie

8:00 am - 3:00 pm



3116 West Belden

8:00 am - 3:00 pm



2908 West Washington

7:45 am – 2:45 pm



950 West 33rd Place
(Main Building)

7:45 am – 2:45 pm



1624 West 19th Street

8:00 am - 3:00 pm


Little Village Academy

2620 South Lawndale

8:00 am - 3:00 pm



3542 South Washtenaw

8:30 am – 3:30 pm



4655 South Dearborn

9:00 am – 5:00 pm



4707 West Marquette

8:15 am – 3:15 pm


Community Partnership
Program Office

400 West 69th Street

8:00 am – 5:00 pm



8546 South Cregier

7:45 am – 2:45 pm


Network 10

11424 South Western

8:00 am - 3:00 pm


Wendell Smith School

744 West 103rd Street

8:45 am – 3:45 pm


Central Office

125 S. Clark St., 9th Floor

8:00 am – 5:00pm


Hall Mall/ECE Office

4638 W. Diversey

8:00 am – 5:00pm




For all students with disabilities, as well as those students in the most financial need, school-based early childhood programs remain free of charge. Those families who do not qualify for free and reduced lunch may be asked to contribute a tuition co-payment based on a sliding income scale. For more information and application assistance, parents may call the Ready to Learn Hotline at (312) 229-1690.


Parents interested in enrolling their children in community-based early childhood programs (for children ages 0 to 5) should contact agencies directly. Information on early learning options in all neighborhoods can be found at www.chicagoearlylearning.org. By texting your zip code to (773) 886-1819, parents can also receive locations of nearby early education centers.


"Chicago Ready to Learn! provides our children with a level playing field and a chance to excel both academically and in life," said DFSS Commissioner Evelyn Diaz. "Working with CPS, we can make sure that our youngest learners receive the full force and benefits of early learning programs and are able to make the most out of the opportunities presented to them."



Chicago Public Schools serves 400,000 students in 658 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.


Page Last Modified on Friday, February 28, 2014