Stories from the Ounce

Learn more about the impact the Ounce has on children, families and communities.

Build It Back Better—rethinking and improving early learning and care

In this blog, Kristin Bernhard, senior vice president of policy and advocacy, shares our work towards building back a better early childhood system that addresses and diminishes the inequities that exist for our youngest learners and families.

What is home visiting and how has it changed during the COVID-19 pandemic

Learn more about our Healthy Parents & Babies doula and home visiting program and how we’ve changed the look of home visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students return to Educare Chicago as the school reopens

Our early childhood center, Educare Chicago, welcomes students and families back this month. Learn what school looks like during the age of COVID-19.

Early learning and care in a new world

Now that the pandemic is pushing into summer and likely beyond, we’re continuing to innovate and evolve our approach to ensure our most vulnerable children and families don’t get left behind. Learn about the work we’re doing to support our youngest learners virtually.

How you can help ensure every child gets counted

Estimates from the 2010 Census put the undercount at or above 1 million children under age 5. Find out ways to spread the word about the importance of the Census and help ensure every child gets counted.

KPMG: Champions for early learning

This past Giving Tuesday, we partnered with KPMG’s Family for Literacy program who matched funds raised to give books to 26 early childhood programs. Recently, we sat down with Kerri Neis, associate director at KPMG, to discuss why fighting illiteracy and supporting the Ounce is important to their company.

The child care crisis is solvable, if we pay attention to what works

In this blog, Kristin Bernhard, senior vice president of policy and advocacy, identifies an innovative policy solution that is addressing our nation’s child care crisis.

30 years of dedicated service

Nick Wechsler, director for program development at the Ounce, was recently honored as the recipient of the Home Visiting Leadership Award. Read Nick’s inspiring story and how he has been influencing the home visiting field in Illinois for 30 years.

A passion for helping children learn, play and discover

Meet Annaliese, a teacher at the Ounce’s birth-to-five school Educare Chicago, who has dedicated her life to helping her students learn, play and discover the world around them.

Why intervene early?

A nurturing and supportive environment during a child’s first years lays the foundation for future success in school and life. To truly appreciate why this time of life is so crucial, it helps to understand what science tells us about the first five years of life.

“I’d like to encourage us to be bold”

Ireta Gasner, vice president of the Illinois Policy Team at the Ounce, shares her passion for advocacy and discusses why early learning is a cause she cares so strongly for.

Celebrating a legislative win for early childhood in Oregon

We sat down with Dana Hepper from the Children’s Institute in Oregon, to learn more about her instrumental role in getting the Student Success Act Bill passed, which will result in a $1 billion dollar annual investment in early learning and K-12 education.

The inspiring story of Payton & the power of Early Intervention

Born 15 weeks too soon, Payton entered a world of medical challenges. Today, Payton is a healthy and smart 13-year-old whose inspiring successes are credited to many – including the early intervention services he received along the way.

The importance of family engagement

Family engagement is one of the most powerful predictors of a child’s development. Hear more from our research team on our work in family engagement and its benefit to the children and families we serve.

Becoming a new mom is transforming

Ounce Affiliates Board chair shares about her new life as a mother and why she is so deeply connected to early childhood education.

Ounce receives accreditation for professional development programs

The Ounce is proud to announce that we’ve received IACET accreditation for our professional development trainings. Learn more about how we’re building expertise and scaling our impact in the field.

Leaders meet to discuss the Ounce’s home visiting and doula work

The Ounce hosted the newly appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health for a visit to our Hayes Investment Center, where much of our doula and home visiting work happens in support of pregnant mothers, new parents and young children.

Preparing students for the next step

This summer, Educare Chicago and several Ounce partners are working together to ensure that students and families are ready for the next chapter in the student’s life.

Spotlight on Ounce ambassadors

For more than a decade, Linda and Cheryl Simon have been ambassadors for early childhood education. Find out more about why investing in our earliest learners is so important to them.

Red Nose Day spotlight: Educare Learning Network

Millions of dollars were raised this past Red Nose Day, a campaign with the mission to end child poverty. Learn more about how Educare schools across the nation are leveraging Red Nose Day funding to reach more children in need.

A Mother’s Day surprise

This Mother’s Day, we delivered cards filled with words of encouragement to moms in our Healthy Parents & Babies Program. Read more about how your greetings helped make a new mom’s day.

Early Childhood Advocacy Heroes: Gladys Montes

In a recent interview, Gladys Montes shares about her work with United Way of Miami-Dade and Educare Miami-Dade and how their programs have supported those communities in need.

Ambassador program helps parent find her voice

Casey Henderson, mother of Payton, a student at Educare Central Maine, shares her involvement with the school’s Parent Ambassadors program and how it has influenced her life as a parent and advocate.

Early Childhood Heroes: Shalonda Carter

Shalonda sought out a career path that would allow her to support and empower new mothers and children who were in most need. Click to read more about Shalonda and what being a doula means to her.

Partnership with PBS KIDS to empower parents

The Ounce, in partnership with PBS Kids, will pilot an innovative family engagement program in three cities in 2019, thanks to a new grant. Learn more about Launching Learners.

Spotlight on Educare Chicago graduate

Jamal Poindexter, one of Educare Chicago’s first students, sat down with the Ounce to talk about how his Educare experience paved the way for academic and personal success.

Early Childhood Advocacy Heroes: Rep. Curtis J. Tarver

Freshman Illinois House member Rep. Curtis J. Tarver II is hitting the ground running on issues impacting early childhood education. Find out more about why he champions early childhood education and what he hopes to accomplish this legislative session.

Early Childhood Heroes: Zeporah Askia

Zeporah Askia, proud parent of 3-year-old Elijah, shares how her family has been impacted by the early childhood education program at Educare Chicago.

Early Childhood Advocacy Heroes: Annie McKay

Annie McKay is the President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children (KAC), an advocacy organization committed to improving the lives of Kansas children and families.

Early Childhood Heroes: Kevin Walsh

Meet Kevin Walsh, early education advocate who uses his story to educate parents on the early childhood services available to them and their families.

Educare Chicago teacher sees early learning in action in New Zealand

What happens when the teacher becomes the student—and has the world as her classroom?

Annual Luncheon shows how babies learn through nurturing relationships

“If you give babies the right experiences at the right time in their development, magic happens.” — Keynote Speaker Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl

Educational seminar explores the power and potential of a child's mind

The Ounce Educational Seminar helped attendees imagine what it’s like to see the world from the eyes of a child—to better understand what children need from adults.

Educare Chicago parent advocate elected to local school council

Educare Chicago parent Edna Pollard has been elected to the Local School Council for her 5-year-old’s elementary school. She sees this opportunity as a way for her to continue to advocate for her children and community—and enact change.

Happy National Best Friends Day, friends!

Do you remember when you made your first friend? It probably happened earlier than you think—long before exchanging friendship bracelets or bonding during four square on the playground and proclaiming them your first BFF.

Annual Luncheon explores effects of scarcity and impact of early learning

More than 875 early childhood champions joined the Ounce to explore the effects of scarcity—as well as how quality early learning can help mitigate these effects and unlock the potential in all children.

Strong early childhood programs start with building strong leaders

The Ounce hosted an educational seminar to share how we are working to help develop these instrumental leaders through Lead Learn Excel™ and other initiatives.

Welcome to the Ounce family, First Step Child Care

We are excited to announce that we have expanded our Head Start grantee network to an additional high-quality early learning center serving Chicago’s south suburbs. First Step Child Care in Richton Park serves 264 young children from 6 months to 5 years old.

Early learning impact stories shared at Annual Luncheon

More than 850 early childhood champions joined the Ounce at our 14th annual luncheon on April 20, 2015. These business, civic and philanthropic leaders heard first-hand the impact early learning has on individuals, families and communities.

Educational Seminar highlights bipartisan support of early childhood education

With greater public awareness, there is growing bipartisan support among policymakers for increasing public investment in high-quality early childhood programs.

Educare Chicago children learn art from the masters

Colorful chalk pastels and famous works of art fill the tables as Educare Chicago children—with looks of inspired concentration and messy hands—craft their own masterpieces inspired by famous artists.

Educare Chicago children express themselves through dance

Preschoolers at Educare Chicago eagerly showed off new dance moves to their parents at a performance on June 30. The group performance was the grand finale of this year’s dance program, led by Amaniyea Payne of Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago.

Civic, corporate and military leaders unite in support of early learning

More than 850 early childhood champions joined the Ounce at our 13th annual luncheon on May 6, 2014. These business, civic and philanthropic leaders are united in our shared mission to help unlock the potential in all children to succeed in school and in life.

Baskind Library first anniversary

Students, families and staff at Educare Chicago recently celebrated the Howard and Sylvia Baskind Library’s first birthday. During the open house celebration, books were read aloud. Children each received a free book for their home library.

Winter Ed Seminar explores importance of social-emotional learning

As stressors faced by children in poverty–including exposure to trauma, mental health concerns or family loss–continue to increase, it is essential that these children have the social-emotional support they need to be able to learn.

Ounce home visiting program gives young mom confidence to succeed

In the Ounce’s home visiting programs, coaches regularly visit teen parents to provide them with child-development information. By modeling appropriate parenting practices, home visitors help young, inexperienced parents nurture the healthy development of their children.