Mary Kay McNeill Seeks Community Collaboration


The Mary Kay McNeill Early Learning Center has been expanding our school community by building partnerships with local businesses and organizations. 

To enhance our curriculum and provide our students with real world experiences, we partnered with Best Pets, the local Antioch pet store. Through this partnership, we were able to take our students on a virtual field trip to the pet store as a culminating activity for our unit of study on Pets. Steve, the store owner, showed the animals available at the store and shared key characteristics about the animals such as what they eat, where they live, and how to care for them. Steve also answered questions that students submitted about the pet store and the animals that are available at the store. 

The Early Learning Center has also partnered with Illinois STAR NET. Illinois STAR NET provides a variety of opportunities for personal and professional growth for those who engage with children ages birth through eight. In addition, STAR NET supports family-centered, researched, and effective practices in early childhood education and care. 

Through our partnership with STAR NET, professional development opportunities have been provided for our staff to expand their knowledge of strategies and resources to utilize during remote and hybrid learning. STAR NET has also provided educational opportunities for parents including Strategies For Better Behavior, where parents were provided with strategies to support positive behavior at home with their child. For more information and additional resources, parents and families can visit their website at

Additionally, the Early Learning Center has partnered with the Northern Illinois Foodbank to provide food for our students and their families through their BackPack program. The BackPack Program provides food to supplement weekend meals and is provided to families once a week. 

Through these community collaborations, the Mary Kay McNeill Early Learning Center has been provided the opportunity to expand the educational opportunities for the students, families, and staff. These partnerships help coordinate community resources to assist children achieve high standards as well as provide opportunities to develop and maintain relationships that expand our school community.