For Evanston families with young children, the antidote to a cold, rainy Saturday was the warm and welcoming environment at the Evanston Early Childhood Council Fun Fair.

A steady stream of parents, children and caregivers attended the kick off of EECC’s year-long calendar of planned events, held in the lobby of Robert Crown Community Center the morning of Feb. 25.

EECC is a coalition of early childhood organizations that helps connect Evanston families with early learning opportunities, programs and resources that prepare children to be ready for success in the classroom and beyond.

Representatives from 20 early childhood providers were at information and activity tables set up for the fair. The space was a sensory delight for preschoolers and young kids, with an abundance of opportunities to touch, smell, see, hear or taste something new. In addition to the refreshments, activities and giveaways for young children, the event also offered an opportunity for families to explore the multitude of early childhood resources and providers available to them, many at no cost.

  • A bird’s eye view of attendees eager to get information about options for early childhood education.
  • Parents and kids gather information from early childhood representatives.
  • Wendy Furlow, center, and family check in with EECC volunteer greeters.
  • Young attendees enjoy items that appeal to their sense of taste.

Wendy Furlow attended the fair with her mother and her children, Carinna and Caden. Furlow said her son currently attends Reba Early Learning Center and her daughter is a Reba graduate.

“Reba let me know about this,” Furlow told the RoundTable. “And I am part of the strategic planning committee that talked about developing some of these fun fairs and making people more aware of them. It’s really fun to see some of the ideas we talked about in action here. It’s exciting to see all of these activities.”

Northwestern University students Alivia Britton and Narmeen Chahal represented Learning Bridge Early Education Centerat a table filled with colorful linking cubes.

“We do a program at Northwestern called Jump Start, where we go into the classroom to help address the literacy gap,” Britton said. “We lead sessions focusing on literacy development and social-emotional skills. We also assist teachers, and work with students one to one.”.

EECC is comprised of more than 25 organizations, early childhood providers and individuals focused on enhancing the outcomes of every young child in the Evanston community, according to information on their website. For details about member organizations, go to

In an interview with the RoundTable, EECC Director Tina Vanderwarker said it is important to note that there are many different options and resources available for early childhood education.

“We hope that families of young children will come learn more about the amazing opportunities available to them for their child’s success, from pre-natal to kindergarten, and beyond,” Vanderwarker said.

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.

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