At the McCormick Center, we focus on the role of early childhood leaders as the catalysts of program improvement and quality.

By focusing on whole leadership and developing innovations that drive early childhood program quality, we improve outcomes for children and their families. We impact and influence early childhood program quality at the individual, state, and national levels.

Early Childhood Leaders

We design and implement a range of intensive leadership development programs that support the needs of leaders in center- and home-based programs in Illinois and across the United States. Participants in these programs engage in intensive, multi-session professional learning experiences.

Early Childhood Systems

We rigorously inform and improve statewide Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and Professional Development Systems (PDS) in Illinois and across the country. We influence states through training, consultation, and technical assistance related to early childhood leadership across a range of domains.

Early Childhood Field

We take active leadership roles in local, state, and national organizations, and advance new policy and practices that improve program quality by defining standards and implementing accountability structures. Through research and innovation, we provide leadership and direction to the early childhood field. By sharing our expertise, we raise awareness of leaders as the gatekeepers of quality and catalysts for change.

Theory of Change

Research in the early childhood field demonstrates the critical role program quality plays in the development of the cognitive skills, social abilities, and healthy behaviors that prepare children to succeed in school and life. Enhanced leadership competencies and increased leadership capacity within the early childhood workforce yield sustainable improvements in program quality, which will in turn improve outcomes for children and families for the children and families that our field serves.

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Annual Report

The McCormick Center empowers individuals to build the whole leadership skills they need to create and sustain exemplary early care and education programs for young children. Through professional development, evaluation, research, and public awareness, we promote best practices in program leadership. Explore this page to see highlights of our work.

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