What is the Downers Grove Park District's basic philosophy for preschool?

The Downers Grove Park District believes that children learn best in a curriculum which provides developmentally appropriate experiences designed to develop the whole child. Guided by the Illinois Common Core Standards, all classroom activities are intended to enhance children creatively, intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically. The program offers a nurturing environment with stimulating activities in creative art, language and literacy, math, science, dramatic play, movement and songs and outdoor play.

What are the qualifications of your teachers?

All teachers are qualified, experienced professionals. Lead teachers each have an education degree, education related degree, or equivalent experience. Each Teachers Aide has previous teaching experience in the area of early childhood education, many within other park district early childhood programs. Each teacher is required to complete 15 hours of continuing education to maintain their teaching certifications and to keep current on early childhood education trends.

What are the classroom capacities and teacher/child ratios?

There are six preschool classrooms located at the Lincoln Center. All classrooms have two teachers and a maximum of 18 children. The number of children is based on the square footage of the classroom, allowing for maximum space.

What are the daily drop off and pick up procedures?

The daily procedures are planned to offer your child the maximum safety and security. Parents can either escort their child to the preschool classroom or parents can choose to participate in an optional curbside drop-off and pick-up program. At the end of the day, children are individually released to their parent or designated carpool person. Departure sign-out sheets are used daily.

What does a typical day in the classroom look like?

A consistent daily schedule helps create a sense of security and promotes independence as children transition from the three-year-old to the four/five-year-old program. A typical day in class includes:

  • Welcome and large-group teacher-directed activity (such as Show & Tell)
  • Free play at the activity centers and creative project time with the teachers
  • Clean up time
  • Large group teacher-directed activity (such as story time)
  • Water break and table time
  • Carpet time (puzzles, books)
  • Dismissal time (ending songs & review of the day)
  • Gym or outdoor time is also scheduled as much as possible

Does preschool take field trips?

Walking field trips are included each year. Local walking field trips for the children are planned in the Fall (four/five-year-olds) and in the Spring (three and four/five-year-olds).

Are there activities that include parents and family?

  • A Parent Orientation takes place a few weeks prior to the start of the school year. At the orientation, you will meet your teachers and learn details of the program. You will also be required to complete and submit your child's emergency forms at orientation. You will be notified of the orientation date and time during the summer.
  • Parents attend the first day of Preschool to help children get acquainted with their teachers, new friends and surroundings. The first day of preschool is thirty minutes.
  • A Halloween costume parade is held on/in the days leading up to Halloween.
  • A holiday program in December invites family members to a performance of songs by the children.

What other special activities are offered during the year?

The preschool curriculum includes a number of programs presented in cooperation with the Downers Grove Police and Fire Department as well as other local businesses. These include Learn Not to Burn, Stranger Danger and Railroad Safety, and visits from Shine Pediatric Dentistry. Additionally, children learn safety procedures through practicing fire and tornado drills. Additional activities include Fall and Spring environmental programs done in conjunction with Downers Grove Park District Lyman Woods Interpretive Center staff, group music, gym time, and much more!

What schedule does preschool follow?

Preschool begins after Labor Day and ends before Memorial Day. The Preschool program follows District 58 holidays (not teacher institute days). The preschool program takes a 3-week Winter Break at the end of December/beginning of January, and takes a week-long Spring Break, typically at the end of March.

What does the first day of preschool look like?

The first day of school is a little different - it is only 30 minutes, and a parent/grown-up will attend with their student (NaturePlay School at Lyman Woods does not follow this format). This gives your student a chance to become acquainted with the facility, teachers and other students before attending solo on their next day of school!

My child is not yet potty-trained. Can I still enroll?

Many parents experience late training with their three-year-old children. We encourage you to wait until August to make the determination if your child will be ready for Preschool. We are willing to work with parents regarding this issue. Children do not need to be potty-trained to attend 2-year-old Preschool.

If I don't receive my first choice, can I be placed on the wait list and in another class choice?

No. You may not have your child enrolled in a class and on a waitlist for another class. If your child is not enrolled in any class, you may place them on multiple waitlists, but you must pay the non-refundable registration fee for each waitlist spot you enroll in.

How quickly does the wait list progress?

Typically, most children are eventually placed into a class; however this will depend on the size of each wait list. Each year varies and class placement cannot be guaranteed.

How are individual preschool classes formed?

Classroom placement is random. Classes are balanced with an equal amount of boys and girls (based on registration numbers); children with younger birthdates and children with older birthdates. Twins are kept together in the same classroom or can be separated, based on parental choice. Parents are notified in August as to their child's classroom placement and teachers.

What if I need to discontinue my child's enrollment in preschool?

Please contact the Recreation Supervisor with your intended last day of class. Registration deposits are non-refundable, but a pro-rated tuition refund may be available.

Can I enroll my child mid-year?

Yes! If space is available, new enrollments are accepted mid-year. Please contact the Recreation Supervisor if you are interested in enrolling your child mid-year. New enrollments will not be accepted after Spring Break.