It’s that time of year! Even though the new year has just begun, programs that run on a school year calendar are opening registration for the 2022-23 school year right now. (Please note that programs that are open year-round enroll children throughout the year.) If you are looking for a center- or home-based preschool or child care program, this is a great time to attend virtual open houses and schedule tours to find and register for preschool starting this fall.
Preschool is very beneficial to young children. Data shows that children who attend preschool are more prepared for kindergarten not only academically, but social emotionally, too. They learn how to play with others, share, and get accustomed to school routines that make the adjustment to kindergarten easier and help children focus on the work of learning and growing. Here are a few tips to help guide you on your preschool journey. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you with all things early childhood.
- Use our Early Childhood Resource Directory to explore programs – This is a great place to start. You can search for local programs by age and a variety of other criteria to help identify a program that best fits your family’s needs. Don’t forget the map at the bottom of the page to view a visual layout of where programs are located in relation to you to make pick-up and drop-off trips easy.
- Contact programs for information about open houses or to schedule a tour – Every program is unique and has it’s own learning philosophy. A great way to get to know a little more about the learning environment of a program is by attending a virtual tour or making an appoint to visit the space. Programs will have safety protocols in place due to the pandemic, so each visit might look a little different. You can expect your tour to likely take place virtually or by appointment after hours.
- Is registration already full at a program of interest? Ask to join their waitlist! – Families and their child care needs are always changing, and openings may arise for new enrollment. Be sure to ask if they offer a waitlist for openings and how to join.
- Looking for a program now? Reach out to us for program openings – Our Early Learning Coordinator communicates regularly with many programs in our community and encourages them to share openings that they may have. If you are interested in learning about programs that have current openings, reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Preschool Information
The key information: Prescreening for free preschool program’s 2022-23 enrollment begins February 1. Children must be 3 years old by September 1 and meet other eligibility criteria to qualify for these programs. To find out more and to schedule a prescreening call 708-613-6122 or email email@example.com.
What is Free Preschool? Three programs in Oak Park receive state grants to provide free preschool through the “Preschool for All” program: ABC Toon Town II Educational Center, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 (PKP at Longfellow) and The Day Nursery. These high-quality preschool experiences that support the development of the whole preschool age child are available to Oak Park families who meet eligibility criteria such as active military duty, developmental delays, and income level. Each program is unique and our Early Learning Coordinator can guide parents that quality for Publicly Funded Preschool to the right fit for their needs.
Additional Financial Assistance Options for Preschool and Child Care:
In addition to Preschool for All programs, there are additional options to help families pay for childcare and preschool including scholarships, sliding fee scales, and The Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). You can search for programs offering financial assistance in our Early Childhood Resource Directory by selecting the “Financial Assistance” filter in the Early Childhood Resource Directory.
Preschool is an exciting time for a child. We are here to help you find a program that is right for them!