Illinois ChildCare Preschool Centers

We provide local listings of preschools and childcare centers in Illinois. Continue below to search the list of local childcare centers in Illinois. We have also listed the top cities in Illinois on the right side of the page.

A Guide for Parents Looking for Childcare or Preschools in Illinois

Finding the perfect environment for your children to grow and learn is a critical decision. In Illinois, there are a plethora of childcare and preschool options to cater to diverse needs. This guide will help you understand the available options and how to obtain state-subsidized aid if necessary.

Types of Childcare Services

  • Family Child Care: In these settings, providers care for small groups of children in their own home.
  • Parent Cooperative: Parents work together to provide care and education for their children.
  • Child Care Centers: These are licensed facilities that can handle a larger number of children.
  • Preschool Programs: These are educational programs for children aged 3 to 5.

Inquiring About a Child Care Service

Whether you are considering a family child care provider, a child care center or preschool, you should always visit the facility, speak with caregivers, ask about their programs, interact with the children, and observe the environment.

State-Subsidized Options

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) manages a program called Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP). The program provides income-eligible families with financial assistance to cover the cost of childcare while they work or attend school. Through IDHS, Illinois offers early care and education programs, including Head Start and Preschool for All, a state-funded preschool program.

  • Childcare Assistance Program: Eligibility depends on the size of the family and the income. You can apply for assistance online or at your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency.
  • Head Start: This is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children aged birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. In Illinois, specific requirements must be met to be eligible (for example, family income, homelessness, children in foster care, or children with disabilities).
  • Preschool For All: This is a state-funded preschool program managed by the Illinois State Board of Education. It provides high-quality preschool instruction for children aged 3 to 5. Preschool for All is cost-free and available to all 3 to 5-year olds in Illinois, though priority is often given to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Choosing the Right Childcare

With the information above in mind, it's important to remember every child and family is unique. Keep your child's temperament, learning needs and your family's schedule in mind when choosing a center. It may take time, but the ideal childcare environment for your child is out there.

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