Our Evolution

1926: Chicago Metro AEYC originated as the Association of Nursery Schools (ANS) in 1926 as a group of proprietary center owners who joined together to share problems and to work on issues of common concern.

1956: The First Annual Conference

1965: The Association changed its name to the "Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children".

1969: Chicago Metro AEYC formed the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children (ILAEYC) to provide a statewide voice for the profession, to complement our representation at the local and national level. A major attempt to reach the broader community with information and recognition for the work being done on behalf of young children by the professionals in the community was initiated in 1969, when the "Week of the Young Child" was established and made official by a proclamation by Mayor Daley. Chicago's "Week of the Young Child" became an annual event on a national scale when NAEYC adopted the "Week" in 1971.

1992: The word "Metropolitan" was added to the name to reflect the suburban as well as urban population served through membership.




• NAEYC’s first headquarters was in Chicago.

• Developmentally Appropriate Practice was an outgrowth of our Kindergarten Commission.

• Chicago’s Accreditation Project was one of the first facilitated projects in the United States.

• Membership spans 12 states and Canada.

• Membership represents early childhood stakeholders from 171 cities and 27 counties across the state of Illinois

• 48 organizations currently committed to the Opening Minds “Connect Children with Nature” Campaign.

• Individuals, allied professionals and organizations have relied on us as their go-to resource, to influence policy-makers, and to build professional competence for 87 years.

• We were selected by the World Forum Foundation to lead the Midwest region in fulfilling a promise to the Clinton Global Initiative to connect two million children to nature worldwides. To date, we have added 606,166 partners to this initiative.