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.

Describe a typical day in the classroom.

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)
  • Juice 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 Night takes place a couple of 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 Parent Welcome Reception takes place your first full-day of preschool. Meet and greet your fellow parents!
  • 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. These include Stop, Drop & Roll; Stranger Danger and Railroad Safety. Additionally, children learn safety procedures through practicing fire and tornado drills. Additional activities include Fall and Spring environmental programs done in conjunction with the Downers Grove Park District Lyman Woods Interpretive Center staff, group music, Gym Time, a visit to the clay room for "Clay Play" with Mrs. Norton, 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 schedule allows an extra week of vacation time during winter break.

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 2.5-year-old Preschool.

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

Yes, however, you must pay a $50 deposit for each waitlist.

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.