In the last year, a core team has continued to diligently work in pursuit of expanding our goal of bringing quality early childhood education to the wider community. We have specifically focused on Summit and Glen Ellyn.
In partnership with First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn (FCCGE) classrooms for UCECP-Glen Ellyn were set up. We had hoped to open up classes for children 2 through kindergarten this last fall. We did a great deal of marketing and had an open house. Not being successful in enrollment, we widely promoted a limited programs offering Summer Camp, 3s Preschool, and a Mother Child to start in January. While efforts were strong, the response and registrations were not.
A regrouping plan is underway. With FCCGE’s agreement and involvement, we are looking to hire a Director for the Glen Ellyn school and to establish a task force to learn how to effectively reach the community of Glen Ellyn and build relationships to create the best possibility for a successful opening in fall of 2024. Open houses and registrations for the following fall occur in January. Hiring of personnel and promotion of programming for fall of 2023 would be too large a financial risk to take without establishing further inroads in the community. Taking the next year for exploration increases chances of a strong launch and successful program. [Note: After this report was published, we decided to indefinitely postpone our efforts with FCCGE, which has been helpful and cooperative throughout this process.]
The UCECI team is dedicated to continuing to find a physical location for our planned affordable all-day preschool for families in Summit. We have established strong relationships in Summit. Due to the length of time we have been working in pursuit of securing a location, and the many relationships we have formed, we are also regrouping our efforts in this community.
It is planned to establish a second task force to explore alternate options for a possible preschool site. Options include reconnecting with School District 104 leadership who are very supportive of our preschool being established, contacting private businesses/large employers in Summit who may be willing to provide space, and also asking the business leaders and families in Summit to help us find a location for a preschool.
We have learned that, like any entrepreneurial venture, starting new early childhood programming –in any community — takes time.