Since its inception, innovation has been at the core of Chicago Commons’ approach to early childhood education. We have pioneered child centered curricula within communities of highest need, and engaged parents and families in supporting and championing their children’s education.  Chicago Commons opened one of the first kindergartens in Chicago more than 120 years ago using the Pestalozzi/Froebel method, a child centered philosophy of education. Pestalozzi and Froebel introduced the concept of kindergarten early in the 1800’s, and created curricula based on the idea that children have unique needs and capabilities that are best addressed through ‘free work’ and games.

Twenty-five years ago, Chicago Commons adopted the Reggio Emilia approach to educating children, and operates award-winning preschools on Chicago’s south and west sides. Commons’ child development centers were some of the first Reggio schools in the U.S.,  and one of the few Head Start programs in Illinois to us the approach. Our child development programs has garnered regional and national recognition for its approach, results, and adaptations of Reggio Emilia. The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy that views the preschool years as crucial to the development of children as individuals. The program is based on principles of respect, responsibility, and community, and empowers children to learn through self-directed discovery. Ultimately, Chicago Commons tailors the Reggio Emilia approach to meet the needs of each child. We work from the recognition that every student has the potential to love learning and, ultimately, be academically successful.

Annually, our child care centers provide quality Early Head Start,  Head Start, Preschool For All, Prevention Initiative, and child care services to more than 1,200 children from birth to  12 years at four year-round centers and a dozen community partner sites. While Chicago Commons’ four child development centers serve Pilsen, Back of the Yards and West Humboldt Park, our community partner sites also provide early education and child care services in communities all over Chicago. Here is a list of those sites and communities.

FY15 Program Outcomes     Reggio Emilia Fact Sheet

Child Development Centers:

Taylor Center for New Experiences and Nia Family Center (West Humboldt Park)

Guadalupano Family Center (Pilsen)

Paulo Freire Family Center (Back of the Yards)



Since the 1980s, Chicago Commons has grown to become one of Chicago’s largest non-profit providers of senior care. Our program helps seniors and disabled adults to continue to live in their homes and communities as long as possible, preventing or delaying the need for institutional care. As a leader in senior care, our purpose is to lengthen lives and ensure the seniors and adults with disabilities maintain their independence and quality of life. The senior care program also enables care takers and/or family members with the opportunity to work or go to school knowing their loved ones are in safe hands.

Chicago Commons’ Senior Service program consists of two parts an Adult Day Service and Home Care program.

Adult Day Services

Our Adult Day Service (ADS) centers provide a secure and engaging environment that promotes social and physical health. Our two ADS centers we are able to provide health monitoring, hot meals and snacks, social activities, field trips, physical and mental care. Commons’ ADS centers can each accommodate up to 130 adults daily and are open Monday through Friday from 6:30am-5:15pm. We operate with fully-trained staff and a Registered Nurse on duty.  Transportation to and from seniors’ homes can be arranged in our wheelchair- accessible vehicles.

Home Care Services


Home care services support seniors in their home through the help of an aide. Aides assist with personal care, cleaning/light housekeeping, medication reminders, planning and preparing meals, laundry, shopping, running errands, escorting to appointments, and “welcome back” after hospital stays. In-home care aides also provide friendship and support for loved ones who may be isolated through age and infirmity. Chicago Commons’ Home Care Services employs hundreds of trained staff to provide quality service and care in the homes of seniors. Services are available 7 days a week 24 hours a day and can be scheduled based on the needs of the customer. Last year we provided nearly 500,000 hours of care to 1,500 seniors in their home.