By Sue Colerick
If you’re looking to introduce your 3- to 5-year-old child to a structured setting of activities with teachers and other children before the stresses of kindergarten kick in, preschool is the way to go. More structured than traditional daycare, children learn to follow instructions, share and cooperate, and are introduced to the foundations of learning. Finding an enriching and affordable preschool is not easy, but Chicago’s top five make it a no-brainer.
Creative Scholars Preschool
1735 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Price: $790 monthly for a two-day, Tuesday and Thursday full-day option/$1,060 three-day/$1,605 five-day/plus $300 non-refundable enrollment fee
Creative Scholars Preschool opened its doors in April 2009, immediately establishing itself as a warm and nurturing environment for children ages 3 to 5 years old. Its primary objective as a preschool is to give children a focused and structured program that builds on the early academics that are the building blocks for entrance into elementary school. The curriculum at Creative Scholars Preschool includes fine arts, language development and early literacy along with structured and free-time activities. Weekly themes are used to tie together the elements — visual arts, drama, music and foreign language — of the school’s program. Its cost includes two snacks and catered lunch daily.
Kids’ Work Chicago
2608 W Addison St, Unit A
Chicago, IL 60618
Price: $1,017 monthly tuition for three days a week/$1,297 four-day option/$1,474 five-day option
Once children are in preschool, they become independent and need to be encouraged to express themselves individually. They also must develop social skills and relationships, and explore new academic areas and interests. At Kids’ Work Chicago, these ideas and concepts are the primary focus. An average day includes focused learning activities, arts and music, sharing, effective communication, circle time and reading, and outdoor playtime.
Related: Guide To: The First Day of School
Children’s Learning Place
1669-1681 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Price: $217 weekly tuition for two-day program/$283 three-day option/$340 four-day option/plus $200 annual non-refundable registration fee
At the Children’s Learning Place, the Kiwi room for preschool is designed specifically for children ages 3 years through 5 years of age. The curriculum is built around half-hour segments that prepare children to obtain new skills and educational abilities in higher grades. The day is filled with both open free time, and structured and scheduled activities including creative movement, language development, arts and music, reading/language arts, math and sciences. From circle time to foreign languages, Children’s Learning Place works to expand each child’s every interest.
Park West Cooperative Nursery School
2335 N. Orchard St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Price: $6,675 annually for a four-day morning program Monday through Thursday
Park West Cooperative Nursery School offers a special junior kindergarten program to children ages 3 to 5. The junior kindergarten program’s goal is to develop the learning building blocks required for entrance into elementary school. Children are taught by two co-teachers and one teacher assistant who focus the class curriculum around cooperation and self-initiated ideas. All activities emphasize cognitive processes and standards that teach children problem solving, cooperation, negotiation and friendly competition.
Wonder Montessori School of Chicago
5644 N. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60646
Price: $810 per month for five full days per week/$700 per month three day per week option
Open since 1993, Wonder Montessori School of Chicago has developed into a exceptional multicultural school. Its works to nurture and build students who are knowledgeable, self-assured, independent, creative and highly developed learners. Wonder Montessori strives to develop well-rounded students who thrive among diverse cultures and learning disciplines. One of the earliest starts to a Montessori education Chicago kids can snag, Wonder tailors its programs to each child, extending its services into their elementary schools as well.