History of Loop Learning Center
Loop Learning Center was established in 1981 under the leadership of Robert C. Walker, Sr. His wife, Matilda, joined him in the business in 1983 and has served as President/Executive Director until the present time. The Center provides an early childhood education program which serves children 6-weeks to 12 years of age in the near South Loop area. Children and families of all economic backgrounds and nationalities have attended the program over the years.
During the early 1990’s, many parents began working outside of the home and needed a quality program for their children. They wanted a program that provided individualized attention, nutritious meals, quality education and of course, a safe, nurturing and responsive environment. Because of the increase in demand for child care, the Center expanded its program to accommodate 50 children to over 200 children. The Center grew and added locations in the Dearborn park community to include a school age program and in the South Commons complex at 2831 South Michigan, serving 50 children. All child care services are currently provided at the Loop Learning Center located at 2001 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL.
As the demand for quality child care increased, management began to employ staff with Master, Bachelor and Associate degrees in early childhood education to work with children of all age levels. Class sizes were reduced in the birth-to-three classrooms to enhance nurturing relationships and provide continuity of care. Various partnerships were formed with Chicago Public School, Head Start and The Ounce as well as the surrounding communities to further support families.
The Ounce partnership promoted effective teaching, family engagement, and corresponding leadership supports in the birth-to-five early education programs to improve outcomes for young children and families. To that end, Family Support staff was added to ensure parenting education and support, and to empower families to participate in the educational process, either at home or in the school setting. The Family Support staff is encouraged to establish a reciprocal relationship between home and school. Through the partnerships, the teaching teams participate in consistent professional development, workshops, and seminars designed to implement best practices and engage children and families in Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum.
In January 2012, the Loop Learning Center received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children by connecting practice, policy and research to early development. In December 2013, the Center’s program was granted a provisional ExceleRate Gold status through the State of Illinois and currently has received an ExceleRate Gold certification.
The Center currently has 12 classrooms and has maintained a consistent staff over the past 35 years. Over 75 percent of the staff has been with the program over five years.