Chicago Commons is a leading provider of high-quality, comprehensive early childhood education using the Reggio Emilia approach for children from birth to 12. Commons operates four year-round early education schools and has a dozen community partner schools.

At Chicago Commons’ Four Early Education Schools:

Nearly 1491 children served
86 after school programs
$15,644 median family income
  • 1320single-headed households

Racial/Ethnic Makeup

Chicago Commons - Education - Ethnicity

Children In Our Schools Were Successful In The Classroom:

Children 0–3 Years:

  • 88%
    met and exceeded widely held expectations in social emotional learning
  • 91%
    met and exceeded widely held standards in cognitive abilities
  • 84%
    met and exceeded widely held standards in literacy
  • 80%
    met and exceeded widely held standards in math

Children 3–5 Years:

  • 95%
    met and exceeded widely held expecations in social emotional learning
  • 95%
    met and exceeded widely held standards in cognitive abilities
  • 91%
    met and exceeded widely held standards in literacy
  • 85%
    met and exceeded widely held standards in math
  • Our Approach: Reggio Emilia

    For more than 25 years, Commons has paired its Reggio Emilia inspired approach to help thousands of children strengthen their skills, develop self-sufficiency and foster intellectual curiosity. Early learning prepares children for lifelong learning and beyond. Commons offers a rich educational approach to families and communities with limited resources, and adapts its programing to the needs of the people and communities we serve.

    The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy that views the preschool years as crucial to the development of children as individuals. Based on the principles of respect, responsibility, parent and community engagement, the Reggio approach empowers children to author their learning process.

    In Reggio, the parent, teacher and surrounding environment are all considered co-teachers of a child’s education. Chicago Commons is one of the few Head Start programs in Illinois that uses the approach.

    Educators from around the country have visited our schools to observe our Reggio Emilia inspired practices.

  • What The Experts Say

    • Studies have proven that from birth to age five are some of the most critical years in development. According to James Heckman’s “The Heckman Equation”, that period of time builds the “foundation of cognitive and character skills necessary for success in school, health, career and life.”
    • Early learning can boost a child’s earnings later in life by 1.3 to 3.5 percent, according to the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
  • School Environment

    Reggio Emilia emphasizes the role of environment and refers to it as the child’s third teacher. Children’s words, images, theories and projects are displayed on documentation panels for parents and the whole school community to see.

    Our schools are:

    • Bright, warm and welcoming
    • A place where children’s curiosity is encouraged
    • Providing rich experiences in art, literacy and math with classrooms and art studios fully stocked with learning materials

    Our teachers:

    • Facilitate learning
    • Are trained to observe and listen to children
    • Present materials and ideas that inspire children to explore, create, question and build
    • Provide support and guidance that expand on a child’s natural interest
    • Train to work with students with special rights
  • Why Kids And Families Go Further With Chicago Commons

    Chicago Commons’ Early Education Program offers:

    • Comprehensive early childhood education to children ages 0-3 (Early Head Start) and 3-5 (Head Start)
    • A Reggio Emilia inspired program
    • Breakfast, lunch and snacks daily
    • Year-round programming from 7am-6pm daily
    • Three teachers in every classroom, exceeding national and state standards
    • Low cost or free educational services depending on income eligibility
    • Programming in West Humboldt Park, Back of the Yards and Pilsen as well as other communities on the south and west sides through our community partners
    • A one-stop-shop experience for families and children to receive services

    Commons’ schools are all NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredited based on the quality of learning environment, program administration, and provider qualifications and training.

  • Community Partners

    Through our Early Education Community Partner program, Chicago Commons works with other agencies across the Chicagoland area providing needed support to make them high-quality Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Our Community Partner team provides training and technical assistance to all of our partner agencies in the areas of eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, attendance, health & safety, family support, and all comprehensive educational services. Chicago Commons' comprehensive coaching system helps our partners achieve Head Start/Early Head Start compliance standards and reach new levels of excellence. If you have questions or are interested in becoming a partner of Chicago Commons, please contact Aurora Rodriguez at

    See our Community Partners
  • CLASS Scores — Chicago Commons Directly Operated Schools

    Chicago Commons uses the nationally recognized Pre-K CLASS Tool (Classroom Assessment Scoring System). The CLASS tool measures the quality of interactions in a classroom between teachers and students. The CLASS measures emotional supports, classroom organization, and instructional supports. Research shows that when instructional support scores move above a 3.25, there is significant impact on student achievement that lasts through 3rd grade. Below are Chicago Commons’ results compared with the national average.
  • CLASS Scores 2017 data (1-7 scale)

    CLASS Scores 2017 emotional support for Commons 6.15/National average 6.00 CLASS Scores 2017 classroom organization for Commons 6.14/National average 5.73 CLASS Scores 2017 instructional support for Commons 3.74/National average 2.83

Service Request Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.