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Great at Eight

Learning for young children is a developmental process that begins in the home, continues in early care and community settings and then preschool programs, and finally transitions to elementary and out-of-school programs. Research suggests that a broader concept of early education — one that encompasses children’s health, educational opportunities, and family economic security in the first eight years — increases future success in school and beyond.

Voices for Illinois Children has been committed to building better lives for families and children from birth to age 5 for 25 years. To deepen our work in these early years, Voices launched Great at Eight to broaden our policy, advocacy, and community engagement efforts to encompass children from birth to age 8 and their families.

Great at Eight focuses on promoting policies and messages that create an alignment of the education, health, and community service systems. Our work supports the development of the “whole child” by addressing children’s physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development from birth to age 8. Great at Eight identifies and develops policy strategies and messaging, and raises public awareness of high quality learning opportunities that lay the foundation for academic — and life — success.

Great at Eight publications and activities

Great at Eight Policy Framework    It All Adds Up: Early Math Initiatives in Illinois   What Illinois Parents Say About Investing in Young Children 
    It All Adds Up  
Parent Focus Groups &
Community Dialogues
  All Systems Go:
Kids Ready for Success 
  Great at Eight: Investing in the
Whole Child from Birth to 8 

Contact the Great at Eight team

Madelyn James, Project Director (312) 516-5573
Joan Vitale, Special Initiatives Director (312) 516-5555