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The Brainbox Academy philosophy is that when children are provided a safe learning environment which fosters the social skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to become productive citizens, fluent readers, and critical thinkers, they will have the tools they need to thrive. Creating an inclusive environment for all students.

Brain Box is dedicated to delivering high quality educational and support services to young children and their families on the south side of Chicago. Our mission is to provide culturally competent, responsive learning support for families living at or below the federal poverty level. Our approach is data driven, research-based best practices in educational and social support services for children with disabilities; families experiencing housing and/or food insecurities; single parent households; and parents with limited educational and economic opportunities. We strive to ensure all children are kindergarten ready and both children and families outcomes improve significantly. We have three named locations servicing children 6 weeks to 12 years old.


We strive to provide quality services which will strengthen the children, families, and communities which we serve. Our intent is to have a direct impact on the families we serve by helping to create life-learners and productive citizens.

Get to know

Meet Mrs. Ayesha El-Amin Calhoun, a lifelong educator with twenty-five years of service to the community and founder of Brain Box Literacy Academy and Educational Services, Inc., a community based not-for-profit, 501(c)3. 9300 s Ashland Chicago, Il 60620 , 9304 s Ashland Chicago, Il 60620, and 9308 s Ashland Chicago, Il 60620.  Mrs. Calhoun holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction; a master’s degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Administration and Supervision, both earned at Loyola University Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Kendall College. Mrs. Calhoun holds a Type 75, 04, Level 5, Director’s and Infant Toddler Credential. 

As a native of the south side of Chicago, Mrs. Calhoun experienced first-hand the barriers and challenges navigating her own primary school years. Her personal experiences would inspire her true passion for education. While she began her educational path in nursing school, Mrs. Calhoun quickly transitioned into the school district first as an intern within the Evanston School District and then as a teacher within the Chicago Public Schools. As a curriculum coordinator and reading specialist, Mrs. Calhoun’s work earned recognition of  awards, recognition,  and honors. These roles cultivated partnership with the principal and administrative team motivating her pursuit of an administrative role. After serving within the multi layers of the school system, Mrs. Calhoun discovered the richness and necessity of cultivating a love of learning within children during the preschool years, hence the establishment of Brain Box Literacy Academy and Educational Services, Inc in 2013.

Mrs. Calhoun serves alongside her husband Mr. Rashaun Calhoun, also a lifelong educator. He holds dual master’s degrees in education; worked as an elementary teacher; high school Dean; and district administrator for over 15 year with a focus on student safety, student attendance, and student engagement, and student support. 



We strictly follow the guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Accreditation standards and have excellent teacher to child ratios. Each Infant Toddler classroom has three qualified teachers as caretakers for eight children. Each Preschool classroom has three qualified teachers per class maximum of twenty children


maintains a reputation for only hiring highly qualified individuals.

Our services and expertise are unparalleled.



Each possesses at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.


Assistant Directors:


Each possesses at least an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development, and have at least five years of experience working with young children. 

In addition to our classroom staff, our center employs:

  • A full-time Cook who maintains a current Food and Sanitation License.

  • A Registered Nurse

  • A Paraprofessional who possesses at least an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development, with nine concentrated hours in Special Education.

Each classroom is comprised of three teachers:

  • One Lead Teacher who must possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a type 04 certification.

  • One Teacher who must possess at least an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development.

  • A Co-Teacher who must possess at least fifteen credit hours in Early Childhood Education or Child Development.

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