A Year of Change

In March of 2020, along with all Illinois schools and early childhood programs, Mary Crane made the difficult decision to shift away from in-person services and temporarily focus on providing care remotely. This allowed us to take a step back and evaluate the most important needs of families and staff during a time of extreme uncertainty. As we moved to remote services to stay engaged with our children and their families, we continued to reach out to new families even during the crisis. The MCC leadership team established a reopening plan that centered around the health and safety of our community and placed the wellbeing of children first. Even though our buildings were closed, we were able to provide quality, uninterrupted learning for the children in our care by moving online. Our team distributed iPads and laptops to every family, free of charge. Additionally, we used this opportunity to upgrade our educator's tech and installed Hatch TeachSmart electronic teaching boards in our 3-5 year old classrooms.

We welcomed children back July 6, 2020 with new safety protocols and heightened cleanliness standards. At Mary Crane, we strongly believe that children thrive when they have opportunities to learn and play alongside their peers, so being able to provide safe in-person care was our priority. With consideration for the diverse needs of our families and staff, we continued to offer remote learning until August 2021, which allowed individual families to decide what worked best for them and gave teachers the flexibility to work from home when needed.

As we reflect on this time and look toward the future, we at Mary Crane are very proud of how our community has come together to support each other. Across our four classroom sites and partner centers, our home-based program, and through home visits, we've served 340 young children (infants to 5 years) and their families in the Austin, Uptown/Rogers Park, West Lakeview, West Garfield Park, and West Lawn neighborhoods. Eighty One Percent of our students showed improvement this year and are ready for kindergarten. We upgraded outdoor spaces at three of our four sites, allowing greater opportunities for learning outdoors and breathing fresh air. A new partnership at our Molade (Austin) site engaged students in hands-on learning and brought smiles to their faces. In December, we hosted a Wellness Retreat to support staff mental health and provide resources for coping with the increased stress and trauma of living and working through the pandemic. Perhaps most importantly, we witnessed countless moments of joy at every one of our locations when joy wasn't always easy to come by. Thank you for standing with us.

Mary Crane Centers are open and welcoming new and returning families!


Mary Crane Center provides high quality early care and education programs and services that support school readiness, empower parents and engage the community.

Administrative Office
4006 W Lake Street | Chicago, IL 60624
Main Phone: 773-242-2860
Fax: 773-242-2881