Project Rainbow is a new initiative that Cook County has launched to address learning loss magnified by COVID-19 with creation of free early childhood and family programming through the County TV station and a new mobile app. Through this initiative, Cook County and its Project Rainbow partners will produce new video content, or repurpose existing informative and educational content, to be used by children and families. To broaden the scope of the initiative’s possibilities, future Cook County initiatives and programming involving children, families, or the arts will now be recognized by the County as Project Rainbow initiatives. 

As the content library builds over time, Project Rainbow programming will air on Cook County’s cable channel (channel 22/900 on Comcast) at 10 a.m. and repeat at 4 p.m., Monday through Friday beginning Thursday, August 12.

Through the generous support of the University of Chicago and Microsoft, all Project Rainbow content will also be available on-demand through a newly developed mobile app. Developed by the University of Chicago TechTeam and advised by app experts at Microsoft, the free Project Rainbow app will be available soon on the Google Play store and will be available on the Apple Store in the coming weeks as well.   

A portion of Project Rainbow content will draw on the partnership and expertise of Golden Apple’s award-winning teachers who are also state-certified teacher evaluators. Through this partnership, Project Rainbow will provide literacy enrichment videos for early childhood learners, geared specifically for 3- to 6-year-olds.

Developed by Golden Apple’s mentors, the curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, Illinois Learning Standards, and Creative Curriculum. Each lesson is designed to have a predictable structure, integrated content areas, a home connection for parents and the adults in children’s lives, and accessibility for diverse learners including special education and dual language learners. Preview the curriculum with a lesson on the letter “R.”

The curriculum will be visually imagined by the award-winning Chicago Children’s Theatre team led by Jacqueline Russell, Co-Founder and Artistic Director at the Chicago Children’s Theatre and award-winning bilingual actor, educator and storyteller and Jasmin Cardenas, who will serve as the curriculum’s teacher.

For a child home during the day with a caretaker, children of parents who are working from home and in need of high-quality programming on an iPad, or children coming home from school and seeking an educational alternative to afternoon TV time, Project Rainbow is intended to be a resource for residents and families in a flexible way that suits their needs.

With guidance from the Erikson Institute, Cook County has drafted a Project Rainbow Policy Brief addressing existing educational inequities facing young learners, how COVID-19 has worsened this dynamic and the large body of evidence showing how quality, educational media programming like Project Rainbow can significantly improve children’s development. Download a copy of the Project Rainbow Policy Brief.

For more information on Project Rainbow please visit: projectrainbow.cookcountyil.gov.

Project Rainbow Partners:

  • Adler Planetarium
  • Ariel Investments
  • Brookfield Zoo
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Chicago Children’s Theatre
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
  • Negaunee Music Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Common Ground Foundation
  • Cook County Health
  • DuSable Museum of African American History
  • Erikson Institute
  • Field Museum
  • Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • Golden Apple
  • Housing Authority of Cook County
  • Joffrey Ballet
  • Microsoft
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • National Museum of Mexican Art
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • The University of Chicago Institute of Politics