Illinois Preschool for All Program & Preschool for All Expansion Program


  • Public Pre-K


In 2006, Illinois launched its Preschool for All (PFA) Program, which was expanded in 2017 using dollars from a federal Preschool Development Grant. The program, which operates in nearly every county in the state, is a targeted one, serving children who are considered at-risk based on both economic and developmental factors. As of 2022, Illinois served 31% of 4-year-olds and 21% of 3-year-olds.

Illinois State Board of Education. (n.d.). Preschool for All (PFA).
Illinois State Board of Education. (2023). Illinois Preschool for All Expansion Program Eligibility and Weighted Priority Enrollment Form.
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2022). Illinois

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply. 
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Illinois

Context matters. Visit the Illinois profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Illinois Profile Here
  • The state population is 12,582,032
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 70%
  • The rural percentage is 13.1%