Whitney Young Early Childhood Center is named for the Whitney M. Young Jr., an educator and civil rights leader. He spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the South and turned the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively fought for justice. He served as dean of social work at Atlanta University, and, during that time, joined the NAACP, eventually rising to state president. He began as president of the National Urban League at the age of 40. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson honored Young with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award offered.
Whitney Young Early Childhood Center is part of the district’s arts magnet program, serving students in pre-k and kindergarten. The arts magnet program began in 1979 at Whitney Young Elementary school, and in 1981, expanded to Weisser Park. The grade levels served at Whitney Young changed over the years, and at one time was considered one school with two sites with Weisser Park. In 2001, when it became an early childhood center, the school embraced the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which provides a nurturing environment where all children are valued, respected and encouraged to construct knowledge through guided exploration and social interaction as they discover the joy of learning. The school is fully accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A variety of fine arts experiences form a solid foundation for continued participation in the FWCS arts magnet program. The school offers English Language Learners (ELL) program
The school was built in 1972, and as one of the district’s seven magnet schools, it does not draw its students from a geographic boundary. Students from Whitney Young feed into Weisser Park Elementary School, Memorial Park Middle School and South Side High School. The school is located in the Board of School Trustees District 4.