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Hawthorn District 73 activates NEST program

VERNON HILLS – Do you have a child under the age of 5 in the Hawthorn school district area? If so, NEST is looking for you.

NEST, which stands for Nurture, Explore, Speak, Teach, is a relatively new program that is working to close experience and opportunity gaps for future Hawthorn School District 73 students, according to a district news release.

NEST is partnering with several local organizations, including WIC, Child and Family Connections, and the Cook Memorial Public Library District, to identify and help parents access local resources available to them.

Studies have shown that the first five years of a child’s life are a critical period of learning and development when 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs. Children who don’t develop sufficient language skills in those first years are far more likely to experience reading problems in school.

“Many people are unaware that there is a pocket of need in the Mundelein and Vernon Hills area,” Elementary North Principal Katie Waggoner said in the release. “It is our goal to connect with these families and help their children acquire early literacy and language skills, so that they are well-prepared when they reach kindergarten.”

In the near future, NEST will be providing free screenings for young children to determine their eligibility for early intervention services.

To be placed on the NEST mailing list, call Jessica Flores at Hawthorn Elementary South at 847-990-4513 or email her at

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