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Knowledge From the Field

Fulfilling the Promise of Preschool for All: Insights Into Issues Affecting Access for Selected Immigrant Groups in Chicago

Published: July 2009

Publisher(s): Urban Institute

Author(s): Adams, Gina; Marla McDaniel

Funder(s): Joyce Foundation

View Report (57 pages; 477KB; PDF)

Area of focus: Early Learning


In 2006, Illinois passed Preschool for All (PFA) legislation to ensure access for all three and four year-old children to quality early childhood education.  The Joyce Foundation funded Urban Institute researchers to conduct a two-part study to examine challenges facing children of immigrants in accessing the Illinois PFA program, including families from Nigeria and Pakistan living on Chicago’s North Side.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

= Policy efforts to address barriers to PFA enrollment for working families should also focus on economic barriers to their accessing care.

= Families whose children were not enrolled in PFA were unfamiliar with the program.

= The respondents from both immigrant groups were very positive about the importance of early education, regardless of whether they were participating in the program.

= This study corroborates challenges identified in other research on immigrants and services, including language barriers, requirements for enrollment, the importance of cultural sensitivity and responsiveness in programs, and fear of interacting with government agencies.

Geographic Focus: Chicago, IL

Subjects/Keywords: Early learning, early childhood education, preschool for all, PFA, immigrants and services

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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