The new edition of the Early Childhood Resource Directory was recently released. The directory has been around for a few years, but this is the first time it has been published exclusively by the Collaboration for Early Childhood Care and Education.

The directory had been a joint project of the collaborative and the League of Women Voters, starting with the fifth edition published in 2004. The sixth edition, released last month, has additional information about health, daycare, special education and recreational services for children.

“It’s a resource we hope to get in the hands of everyone in the community,” said Eric Gershenson, director of the collaborative.

The sixth edition is expanded from 48 to 64 pages. Added material includes website listings for childcare and daycare services and expanded information on choosing child care providers. The directory has updated information on health care for children, and a new section for parents on moving their children toward kindergarten through the collaborative’s “Be Involved” campaign. “Be Involved,” which began late last year, focuses on children from birth to kindergarten and building successful characteristics through such activities as reading, talking and listening.

The publishers had always envisioned providing more of that type of information to parents.

“Every time we revise it, there are new things that occur to us,” said Gershenson.

The directory originated about 10 years ago by the League of Women Voters. League members and its president at the time, Elizabeth Lippitt, were parents themselves with questions about services for their children.

“We realized that all of the families were searching for this information and wanted to know what to ask and what is quality daycare,” said Lippitt, executive director of the Infant Welfare Clinic. “I think every parent, no matter what your economic background is, are all starting at the same place. It’s a learning curve for everyone.”

Lippitt said there was a lot of misinformation for parents prior to starting the directory. The collaboration, which began in 2001, joined the league in publishing the 2004 edition of the directory. Then the two organizations discussed having the collaboration publish it permanently.

“It seemed to be a perfect home for it there,” said Lippitt.

The collaboration is an alliance that includes childcare providers, early childhood educators, and pre-school and kindergarten programs in Oak Park. The league, meanwhile, wanted to focus more on the political arena.

“The league on its own couldn’t put out certain information,” said Carollina Song, director of child services for the league and a member of the collaboration. “The league felt that the directory was a better fit for the collaboration. We hope the directory can be a tool that families can use to make better choices.”

G.I.A. Publications, Inc. printed a total of 15,000 copies of the 2006 edition at a cost of $5,100. The directory is free and available at locations in Oak Park. The publication is funded by First Bank of Oak Park and Community Bank of Oak Park and River Forest. For more information about the directory, call the collaboration at 802-5446 or visit its website at


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