Child Care in Illinois

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As a leading Illinois family- and child-service agency, Children’s Home + Aid serves more than 40,000 children and families each year through its child-development and -care programs, family counseling, and foster-care-advocacy programs. The organization's roots extend back to 1883, when the Reverend Van Arsdale brought into his home a young girl whose mother was in crisis. The minister's umbrella of care soon spread throughout the country, as he established advisory boards and worked to improve child welfare. Today, Children's Home + Aid focuses on early childhood and juvenile justice, preventing child abuse, and garnering positive child development in strong families.

The organization’s Raising A Reader program helps children ages 3-5 get "kindergarten-ready" by developing early language and literacy abilities. Much of this work incorporates full parental involvement; facilitators encourage parent-child bonding through everything from bedtime stories to engaging, brain-building activities. Currently helping more than 350 children develop these necessary scholastic skills, the Illinois chapter is just part of a larger national trend; in 2011, the national Raising a Reader program touched the lives of almost 118,000 kids across 32 states.

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125 S Wacker Dr
Chicago,
IL
US

When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.

2603 Aurora Ave
Naperville,
IL
US

Lake County Family YMCA urges households toward healthier living with a supportive staff, fitness classes, and a treasure trove of gym and poolside amenities. Hearts and legs get pumping aboard ellipticals and stationary bikes while limbs and cores sprout muscle with the help of free or machine weights. Active Mature Adult classes hone balance, strength, and flexibility with a light to moderate workout that eschews the games of medicine-ball dodgeball found in more intense exercise classes. Alternately, Zumba classes motor hips into calorie-torching dance moves set to Latin music, and yoga courses pose physiques into fluid Vinyasa sequences. After sweat-inducing workouts, members can relax, letting the whirlpool's jets power wash stress from bodies or the dry-heat sauna's warmth melt pounds and tense muscles. The Vernon Hills location fosters watery fun with a children's aquatic play area and water slide, and the Waukegan complex lets joggers peer down onto the gymnasium below from an overhead running track. Both sites welcome whippersnappers into their drop-in babysitting service, where staffers entertain youngsters for up to two hours or however long it takes parents to stage one-person renditions of Logan's Run on the treadmills.

2000 Western Ave
Waukegan,
IL
US

Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.

111 N Arlington Heights Rd.
Arlington Heights,
IL
US

Kidtown USA came from the minds of educators and recreation specialists who created a program licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Each location’s activity stations cater not only to entertaining kids, but also helping them develop skills for creative self-expression and social engagement. Kids explore the indoor play area, which consists of climbing structures—including a pirate ship and a train—before watching puppets act out classic kids’ tales such as Uncle Vanya Goes to the Zoo at Storytime Theater. Make Believe City’s open air and small, miniature rooms emulate imaginative settings such as a firehouse, veterinarian's office, or construction zone. Elsewhere at The Diner, red-and-chrome furniture and a classic checkerboard floor sets the stage for cooking lessons or snack time.

1071 S Roselle Rd
Schaumburg,
IL
US

When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.

4999 Old Orchard Ctr
Skokie,
IL
US