The Winnetka Public Schools and The Alliance for Early Childhood have worked together closely since the founding of The Alliance in 1989.
While communication and collaboration between community early childhood programs and public schools is still unique, it was unheard of in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, The Alliance traces its beginning to the successful collaboration between the Winnetka Public Schools, led by Dr. Don Monroe, the Superintendent at the time, the Headmaster of North Shore Country Day School, the directors of the three Winnetka nursery schools, and other early childhood leaders. Together, they envisioned an organization that would pull together the early childhood community under its umbrella and educate parents and others about the importance of early childhood education. Its mission, written in 1989, is “to promote the healthy growth and development of children from birth through age eight by providing support and services for the parents and teachers who care for and teach them.”
Dr. Monroe wrote in Two Decades, a history of the first 20 years of The Alliance, which was published in 2010, “One of my thoughts for the Alliance…was to deeply imbed in this community the historic and farsighted view of the importance of an early childhood full of play, unhurried and full of reflective conversation…a childhood full of cooperative and creative activity and full of classroom citizenship, full of individual pursuit of interest and learning. I saw a carefully crafted environment and set of activities that valued social/emotional and physical growth as much as it valued cognitive growth. This would prepare children to be whole people with a stable foundation for adulthood and productive citizenship.”
For its first five years, The Alliance was based in Winnetka only and was known as the Winnetka Alliance for Early Childhood. In 1993, Northfield schools joined the Alliance, as did Kenilworth schools in 2000. Also in 2000, schools in neighboring communities were invited to join as Associate Members. Currently, there are 11 Associate Members located in Wilmette, Glencoe, and Highland Park. The name was changed to The Alliance for Early Childhood in 2011, reflecting the organization’s growth well beyond the borders of Winnetka.
To learn more about The Alliance For Early Childhood and its current programs, please follow this link: http://www.theallianceforec.org
2020/2021 Chairs: Kirby Doonan, TBD (sign up here)