More Needs to be Done to Get Illinois’ Kids Kindergarten-Ready: Report

June 25, 2019

Chicago – The second KIDS Kindergarten-Readiness Report reveals the glaring need to improve access to—and the quality of—child care and preschool in Illinois.

As an organization that operates high-quality early learning programs throughout Chicago’s South and West Suburbs, Illinois Action for Children recognizes and values the continued importance of this data.

The data in this report demonstrates that only 26 percent of children in Illinois are ready to enter kindergarten, mirroring the percentage of 4-year-olds who have access to Pre-K in the state. We know that children are more likely to be held back, need individualized services and support, and be suspended or expelled if they are not kindergarten-ready when they begin school.

“We must reframe the conversation about child care and early education,” said Teresa Ramos, V.P. of Public Policy and Advocacy for Illinois for Children. “Kids start learning in their earliest years, laying the foundations for learning in elementary school, high school, college, and life. This KIDS Report data makes clear just how critical the need is for affordable, high-quality early care and education throughout Illinois.”

The significant investments in early care and education made by Governor Pritzker’s administration and the Illinois General Assembly in the new state budget are a positive step. This commitment needs to be maintained—and more needs to be done to reach children in our state’s most economically-isolated communities.

There are also steps that school district leaders can take to strengthen the alignment between all levels of the early care and education community. Districts can offer professional development to Pre-K teachers and child care providers, share their data with the early childhood pipeline, and work with child care providers to strengthen partnerships that ease the transition to kindergarten.

The KIDS data confirms that more children across the state must be able to access high-quality early childhood experiences. That includes both increasing the number of programs providing quality early learning services, giving programs the resources they need to meet the complex needs of children and families and supporting meaningful, intentional transitions from early childhood programs to kindergarten.

To learn more about the KIDS report, please visit