Hephzibah's programs for children ages 0-5 ensure that every child in our community - regardless of family income - gets the best possible start in life.
Recent advances in neuroscience tell us that a child’s brain goes through an amazing period of development between birth and age three—producing 700 new neural connections every second. Yet children born into poverty have slower rates of brain growth. By the age of four, an achievement gap of about 18 months separates many of these children from their more affluent peers.
Studies show that high-quality learning experiences during the first five years of life can help prevent this achievement gap, increase high school graduation rates and even enable children to become better team players and problem-solvers later in life. Yet, despite these documented benefits, the U.S. currently ranks 32nd out of 39 developed countries worldwide in enrollment rates for early childhood education. Within the U.S., Illinois ranks a dismal 29th out of 51 states.
To meet the urgent unmet need for early childhood education in Oak Park and surrounding communities, Hephzibah began offering Head Start services for children between the ages of three and five in 2011 and launched an Early Head Start program for children from birth to three in 2015.
One hundred percent of the 101 children served by our Head Start programs this past year met or exceeded developmental benchmarks in social-emotional, language, math and physical development. Learn more.