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Preschool / Playschool




Carroll Center Pre-K Update: 

The Pre-K program is temporarily located at Fox Center (located at 642 S. Oak Park Ave.) for the 2019-20 school year, as Carroll is under construction.  The Pre-K program is expected to return to Carroll Center (1125 S. Kenilworth) for the 2020-21 school year.

Registration for the 2020-21 School Year

Priority registration will open to currently enrolled Playschool/Preschool/Pre-K households on Monday, January 20, 2020 at 8:30 A.M.

Oak Park residents may begin to register on Saturday, February 8 at 8:30A.M. 

Currently enrolled Non-Residents may begin to register on Saturday, February 15 at 8:30A.M. 

Registration will reopen to all interested parties on Saturday, February 28th 8:30 A.M.  

Please note:

  • We accept registration on a first come, first served basis, online or in person at GRC or RCRC. 
  • The “currently enrolled” label is applied only to students enrolled in Playschool, Preschool or Pre-K classes during the 2019-2020 school year, not general Early Childhood enrichment classes.
  • Children are required to reach the required minimum age before September 1, 2020. 

For more information click here: 

Playschool Mini-Preschool Preschool Pre-Kindergarten

Playschool, Preschool, Mini-Preschool & Pre-K

Our programs are PLAY based. Play is an essential part of each child’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.

Play is important as it:

·        Fosters a sense of self-awareness, self-confidence, and resiliency

·        Develops communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution skills

·        Encourages responsible risk-taking, curiosity, and independence

·        Builds a strong academic skill base through hands-on experience and exploration

Waiting for you are warm and welcoming classes full of active children and supported by a collaborative community of families, teachers and staff.  We recognize children are ready to interact within a secure setting beyond the home, and we provide a warm and nurturing environment that stimulates and encourages the child to explore, create, imagine, and learn. We want to develop thinkers and doers that are innovative, resilient, and compassionate.

Our curriculum is based on developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Literacy skills are developed when they listen and then create their own stories with a teacher on the classroom iPad. Our children are learning science and how to relate to one another when they weigh pinecones together. They learn math skills when they count and sort blocks during play.  Each class brings new tailored ideas and adventures! Age appropriate PLAY and a nurturing environment provides young children opportunities to develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively with hands-on exploration, experimentation, and socialization.

Teacher-directed activities and center time play engage your child in literacy, math, science, art, and motor activities while creating an experience focused on 21st century problem-solving and flexible thinking habits.

Our teachers are the cornerstone of our program. They are warm, creative, enthusiastic and love children. They are committed to providing each individual child with a safe, fun, and positive classroom environment. We pride ourselves on the quality of our staff and their professional development. Each of our teachers has successfully completed a background check, maintain active First Aid & CPR certifications, and are dedicated to continuing their professional development. Each of our teachers completes a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education a year on topics such as brain research, health and safety, special needs, and developmentally appropriate practices by participating in Early Childhood workshops, college courses, or conferences. Many of our teachers have been with us for years and currently possess certifications in the education field. They immerse themselves into our educational program, and we value them for their individual strengths and team player attitudes!  


AGE 2-3


This class is a great first independent experience for your child!  Playschool is designed to provide a warm, nurturing environment for children aged 2 years of age.  This transition from home to school will emphasis the active development of your child's social, emotional, and cognitive skills. The caring, qualified teachers will focus on preschool preparedness such as taking turns, following directions, listening, and sharing.  Language development is supported through daily activities that include ABC's, counting, story time, songs, games, and projects. Potty training is not required to enroll in this program; however, upon an accident parents/guardians will be contacted to return to school to assist their child.

This 2 hour class allows for all of the same learning and social interactions, but now with more class time! Your child will learn from themed activities like ABCs, counting, story times, songs, games and projects, all while prioritizing turn-taking, listening, and sharing along with a positive classroom atmosphere. Potty training is not required to enroll in this program; however, upon an accident parents/guardians will be contacted to return to school to assist their child.

Experience a “learning bridge” between Playschool and Preschool. Students that are 36 months by 1/1/20 will gain confidence and independence as they participate in both open ended and structured play experiences. Preschool preparedness is the focus for our caring, qualified teachers that balance growth in all areas. 

AGE 3-5

Students make academic and social gains through authentic discoveries tailored for each child. Creativity, independent thinking, confidence and age-appropriate academic topics are taught through hands-on experiences. Relationship building with peers and other adults is highly valued in a welcoming environment. Every child’s strengths are embraced preparing them for future school success.


Young students will hear both English and Spanish in this bilingual environment. They will feel valued as they explore letters, numbers, themes, shapes, colors, and various concepts in a nurturing environment. Problem solving, real life connections, and peer relationships are explored through math, reading, social, and science discovery; all while exploring both English and Spanish.

Nature is the third teacher when children engage in hands-on activities both inside and out. Multi-sensory nature-based play experiences are the vehicle for individualized learning, problem-solving, and concept integration in the Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center. Low teacher/child ratios promotes development in all areas. 

Preschool & Playschool





AGES 4-5


A foundation for future school success. Teachers blend social and academic opportunities through independent, small and large group work.  Phonemic awareness, writing, math and reading readiness skills are emphasized. Independent thinking and problem solving habits are fostered. Students are also introduced to basic colors, shapes and numbers in Spanish!

Carroll Center Pre-K update: 
The Carroll Center Pre-K is temporarily located at Fox Center for the 2019-20 school year due to construction. It is expected to return to the newly renovated Carroll Center for the 2020-21 school year. 

Please note, program schedules vary per program/center and are a guideline for classroom routines; adjustments to daily schedules may occur due to special events, activities, or student needs.

Contact Us

For more information on any of these programs contact:
Barb Grooms
Program Supervisor

Andersen Center: (708) 426-3585

Austin Gardens: (708)606-7702

Barrie Center Preschool: (708) 426-3978

Barrie Center Playschool: (708) 426-3977

Field Center Playschool: (708) 426-3966

Fox Center: (708) 426-3571

Longfellow Center: (708) 613-1042

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