Parent Resources

We’ve put together this resource page to help you support your child’s play, health, and development right here in your community. If there is a resource or place that has been useful for you that you do not see on this page, let us know. Click on any topic below to see more resources.

Child Development

Each child develops on his/her own timeline and not all children meet each developmental milestone at the same time. The milestones listed in our Watch and Help Me Grow publication provide a general timeline for when most children master these skills. Some children will gain several new motor skills without developing new language skills or vice versa. This is typical as long as the child begins to master new skills in the other areas within a month or two. Children frequently learn through imitation and modeling, so provide many examples of the behavior that you would like to see from your child. If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak to your child’s doctor.

If you need to schedule a developmental screening for your child, here’s how you can do that.

By Reading, Playing, Listening, Talking, Hugging, Exploring, Cooking Healthy, and Limiting Screentime, you’re on track to set your child up to succeed in school.

Supporting Your Child’s Healthy Development: 

Places to Find Help with Crying, Fussy Babies

  • The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of services to support families as they learn new ways to calm a fussy baby.
  • Period of PURPLE Crying is the time in baby’s life when they cry the most. This site offers advice on soothing crying babies and sleep. 

Texts Messages to Support Your Child's Development

Ready4K is a research-based text messaging program that sparks everyday learning moments without relying on the internet. It takes everyday routines and turns them into learning moments.

Sign Up for Ready4K

Each week, parents receive age-appropriate facts, easy tips and opportunities for growth to boost their child’s learning by building on existing family routines. Messages are offered in multiple languages and go straight to your mobile device.

Texts are sent 3x a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and include a fact, a tip, and an opportunity for growth. 

Dance and Gymnastics

Academy of Movement and Music
605 W. Lake Street, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-848-2329
Fax: 708-848-2391
Ballet (ages 3 and up) and boys’ production workshop (ages 5 and up).

Dynamic Lynks
1100 Lake St., Suite 100C, Oak Park, IL 60301
Phone: 708-620-2373
Holistic therapeutic center, music and movement for children with Autism. Individual and group music therapy sessions, adaptive yoga, voice, piano, guitar and ukulele lessons. All ages.

De Maira Dance Studio
1146 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-386-1833
Tot combination class-ballet, tap, creative movement, & tumbling (ages 3 and up).

237 W. Harrison Street, Oak Park 60304
7515 Madison Street, Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-524-0500 / 312-505-0186
Creative Movement (ages 3 – 6) and pre-ballet/pre-tap classes (ages 4 – 5); Open Studio movement drop-in class (ages 2 – 6).

Legere Dance Centre
7377 W. North Ave., River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-771-9500
Beginning to advanced levels in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Tap and Hip-Hop (ages 3 – adult). Classes focus on technique and dramatic interpretation of music.

My Gym Children’s Fitness Center
7625 W. Lake St., River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-209-1600
Fax: 708-209-1100
Classes that incorporate movement and gymnastics; family music classes (3 mos – 3 1/2 yrs ) and independent classes (for children older than 3 1/2 years); also available for birthday parties and scheduled group playdates.

Oak Park Gymnastics Center
218 Madison St., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-0218
Classes for children age two and up. See website for details.
Indoor playtimes for children ages 1 – 6, November thru April. Call for times and fees.

Panda Dance Studio
1003 Garfield St., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-386-0743
Fax: 708-386-0760
Combined ballet, tap, and tumbling classes (ages 3 – 5).

Tri-Star Gymnastics
1401 Circle Avenue, Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-771-STAR (7827)
Fax: 708-771-5909
Parent/tot classes (18 mos – 3 1/2 years), independent gymnastics classes (ages 3 1/2 years+) weekly drop-in parent/child family fun classes; birthday parties.

Art Therapy and Classes

Magical Minds Studio
343 Harrison Street, Oak Park 60304
Phone: 866-736-ARTS (2787)
Creative development for children (ages 18 mos – 12yrs); parent – child & sibling classes that incorporate art media, movement, and storytelling; birthday parties.

Oak Park Art League
720 Chicago Ave., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-386-9853
Children’s art classes (age 3 1/2 and up) involving a variety of art materials. Preschool Pop-In; check website fore details.


The Gasse School of Music
7641 W. Polk, Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-488-8117
Classes for children birth-high school Mon-Sat; Musikgarten program (birth-age 5); parent/child instrument lessons in cello, piano, violin, and viola (age 4); instruction for Spanish-speaking students; on going enrollment;class schedules follow public school calendar.

Kindermusik with Pat in Oak Park
137 N. Oak Park Avenue, Room 107, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-763-9823
Music and movement classes for newborns through age 7. Teachers have college degrees in music and encourage children to sing, dance, sway and play.

The Language and Music School
150 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-524-3340
Family music classes (4 mos – 4 years); language immersion classes (ages 2 – 8).

Ms. Clara’s Mini Musicians LLC
at DeMaira Dance Studios 1146 Chicago Ave., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-704-1716
Family music classes for children 4 mos – 3 1/2 years. Child-only music classes for older 3s and 4s.

Music Together at Oak-Leyden
411 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-524-1050, ext. 107
Inclusive family music classes (8 months – 5 years).

Prepatory and Community Piano Program 
7400 Augusta St., River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-209-3141

Musikgarten of Oak Park
344 Harrison St., Oak Park 60304
Phone: 708-445-1633
Family music classes for babies (birth – 18 mos), toddlers (16 mos – 3 yrs) and children (3 – 5 yrs); Music Makers at the Keyboard instrumental class (ages 6+).

Steckman Studio of Music
829 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park 60304
Phone: 708-524-1954
Fax: 708-524-5412
Parent/caregiver-child music clasess (12 – 35 mos), independent music classes (ages 3 – 5), individual and group instrument lessons; non-profit organization.

Places to Play and Explore

Brookfield Zoo
First Avenue, between Odgden Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield 60513
Phone: 708-485-0263
Open 365 days/year. Free general admission on Tuesdays and Thursdays, October – March. Many exhibits suitable from visits during inclement weather.

Forest Park Park District
7501 W. Harrison, Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-366-7500
Fax: 708-366-1142
Parent/child swim classes (for children 6 months and up), recreational programs for children of all ages. Aquatic Center includes zero depth and sprayground. Call or visit website for more program details.

Forest Park Public Library
7555 W. Jackson Blvd., Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-366-7171
Age specific and family storytimes; see website for details.

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Avenue, Chicago 60624
Phone: 312-746-5100
Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Thursdays: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm), 365 days/year.
Six greenhouses (including a children’s garden) and two exhibition halls.

Oak Park Conservatory
615 Garfield Street, Oak Park 60304 (across from Rehm Park)
Phone: 708-386-4700
Tours available for groups of 10 by appointment. Fish, birds, and turtles on display. Ask about the plant “scavenger hunt.” Adult supervision required.

Oak Park Public Library
Main Branch: 834 Lake St., Oak Park 60301
Dole Branch: 255 Augusta Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Maze Branch: 845 Gunderson Avenue, Oak Park 60304
Phone: 708-383-8200
708-452-3420 Main Library, Children’s Department
708-386-9032 Dole Branch
708-386-4751 Maze Branch
Year-round activities for children of all ages, including storytimes and summer reading incentive programs. Call or visit the website for more information.

Park District of Oak Park
218 Madison St., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-0002
Fax: 708-383-5702
Family music classes for children (3 months – 5 yrs); children’s dance, preschool arts and crafts, swimming, ice skating, hockey, sports at several locations (age 3 and up); online brochure and registration available.

River Forest Park District
401 Thatcher Avenue, River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-366-6660
Fax: 708-366-6661
Activities for children (age 4 and up), including pee-wee sports; arts and crafts; after-school sports; summer camp for tots.

River Forest Public Library
735 Lathrop Avenue, River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-366-5205
Storytimes for infant – 6 years weekdays; first three weeks of each month; Pajama Storytime 3rd Mondays; special events – see website for details. All programs are free; some require registration.

Trailside Museum of Natural History
738 Thatcher Avenue, River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-366-6530
Summer Hours (March – October): 9:00 am – 4:45 pm, Saturday – Thursday
Winter Hours (November – February): 9:00 am – 3:45 pm, Saturday – Thursday
Nature tours; sanctuary for injured and orphaned animals unable to survive in wilderness; wildlife museum; Cook County Forest Preserve. Closed on Fridays except for programs scheduled in advance.

Wonder Works
6445 W. North Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-4815
Interactive non-profit children’s museum; includes art room, stage, and treehouse; birthday parties. Parent/child classes in creative play, arts & crafts, music for children, ages 6 months and older; non-profit organization. See website for special events.

Swimming and Recreation Centers


Fenwick High School Swim Classes
505 W. Washington Blvd., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-386-0127, ext. 184
Three 2-week summer sessions, eight lessons per session (age 5 and up).

Huskie Swim Camp at Oak Park River Forest High School
East Pool, 201 N. Scoville Ave., Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-434-3431 / 708-434-3600
Three 2-week summer sessions (eight lesson per session) at seven different start times; mail in registration at beginning of April; walk-in registration at beginning of June (ages 4 – 10).

…and more

Forest Park Park District
7501 W. Harrison, Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-366-7500
Fax: 708-366-1142
Parent/child swim classes (for children 6 months and up), recreational programs for children of all ages. Aquatic Center includes zero depth and sprayground. Call or visit website for more program details.

River Forest Community Center
8020 Madison St., River Forest 60305
Phone: 708-771-6159
Fax: 708-771-8958
Parent/Child programs (ages 15 – 23 mos); art, dance, music, gymnastics, karate (age 3 and up); birthday parties; summer camps.

West Cook YMCA
225 S. Marion Street, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-5200
Various activities offered to members and non-members including day camps, preschool family gym, ballet, storytime, dance and drama, gym & swim, and seasonal events.

Early Childhood Advocacy

Children’s Defense Fund
Advocacy on behalf of children, especially children at risk and children with disabilities.

Collaboration for Early Childhood
Local public/private partnership whose mission is to assure that all families have access to high-quality affordable childhood care and education.

The Council For Exceptional Children – The Division for Early Childhood
Promotes policies and practices that support families and enhance optimal development of young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities.

Responsible Budget Coalition

Illinois Action for Children

Ounce of Prevention

Voices for Illinois Children

New and Expecting Parents



Mental Health for Mothers

Homevisiting Support

For families that require more support, the Collaboration, in partnership with home visiting programs and the Village of Oak Park’s Public Health Nurse, work together to make sure families can get connected to a program through a single point of contact to get connected to this support, complete our contact form for families.  

Child Health and Safety Local Listings

Hospitals and Health Centers

The Children’s Clinic
320 W. Lake Street, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-848-0528
Sponsored by Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society
Provides a full range of medical services including nutritional screening and counseling. Provides mental health services including bilingual psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Available to low-income children (birth – age 18). Medicaid, All Kids, sliding fee scale. No child is refused care for inability to pay.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
225 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, 60611
Phone: 312-227-4000
One of the region’s major children’s hospitals.

Cook County Health Department
Multiple clinic sites; call 708-450-5300 for clinic times and locations. Preventative health services for Cook County residents; includes well-child care, immunizations, dental and postpartum care; some services have income eligibility guidelines; other services available to everyone at no cost.

Loyola Univ. Medical Ctr. Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital
Phone: 877-216-KIDS
One of the region’s major children’s hospitals.

Maryville Academy Children’s Healthcare Center
4105 N. Oak Park Ave., Building B, Chicago 60634
Phone: 773-205-3600
Fax: 773-205-3630
Transitional care between hospital and home for medically fragile children from birth to age 21; training for caregivers. Respite care services also provided.

PCC Family Health Centers
14 W. Lake St., Oak Park 60302
6201 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn 60402
Phone: 708-383-0113 / 708-386-0845
Breastfeeding Support Line: 708-524-7679, ext. 1 Both PCC locations offer lactation consultation and home visits, breastfeeding peer counseling program for PCC primary-care patients. Maternal depression support is available at both sites for PCC primary-care patients. Comprehensive health care for all ages, including prenatal care; accepts private insurance, Medicaid, All Kids, sliding fee scale discount program available for uninsured patients. Call for an appointment. Behavioral health services include family and couples counseling. In order to receive behavioral health services, you must be a PCC primary-care patient.

Rush Oak Park Hospital
520 Maple Avenue, Oak Park 60304
Phone: 708-383-9300
One of Oak Park’s two major hospitals; affiliated with Rush Hospitals.

Rush University Medical Center Rush Children’s Hospital
1620 W. Harrison Street, Chicago 60612
Phone: 888-RUSH-KID
One of the region’s major children’s hospitals.

Shriners’ Hospital
2211 N. Oak Park Avenue, Chicago 60707
Phone: 773-622-5400
Medical care free of charge for children under age 18 for certain orthopedic and neurological conditions, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, craiofacial surgery.

Tuberculosis Clinic- Cook County Dept of Public Health
7556 W. Jackson Blvd., Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-836-8600
Free tuberculosis screening and treatment for suburban Cook County residents; several locations; please call for appointment.

West Suburban Medical Center
3 Erie Court, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-6200
One of Oak Park’s two major hospitals.

Resource and Referral Agencies

Action for Children
Phone: 312-823-1100
Resource and referral agency for services including food stamps, All Kids, child care referrals, and subsidized child care; must meet income/eligibility requirements for certain servces; other services available to everyone.

All Kids Covered and Illinois Health Benefits Hotline
Phone: 866-ALL-KIDS (255-5437)
See section on Paying for Children’s Healthcare and Vision for more information.

Family Case Management
Phone: 708-358-5484
Oak Park Residents
Helps parents locate and use local care providers for themselves and for their children; must meet income/eligibility requirements.

WIC – Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, Children: OP/CEDA WIC Program
6026 W. Roosevelt Road, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-445-3314
Supplemental food, nutrition, education and counseling for pregnant women, teenage mothers, new mothers, breastfeeding women, and children up to age five who meet income/eligibility requirements.

Oak Park Department of Public Health
123 Madison Street, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-358-5480
Fax: 708-358-5515
Fax: 708-358-5515 (for confidential health information)
Preventative health services; including family case management (see Family Case Management); information about lead screenings; free immunizations for Oak Park residents by appointment only (call 708-358-5481); WIC nutrition services (see WIC – Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, Children: OP/CEDA WIC Program); call for more information and appointment.

Local Police and Fire Departments

Forest Park Fire Department
7625 Wilcox, Forest Park, 60130
Phone: 708-366-1234
Car seat check for residents.

Oak Park Fire Department
100 N. Euclid Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-445-3300
Regularly scheduled CPR classes (free for residents, $50 fee for non-residents); certified safety technician will do free car seat check by appointment; bring child and car seat to fitting; if possible, bring manuals for car and car seat.

Oak Park Police Department – Community Policing
123 Madison Street, Oak Park 60302
Contact Phyllis Howard: 708-358-5514 or 708-386-3800
Resident beat officers work with residents to resolve neighborhood safety issues.

River Forest Fire Department
Phone: 708-366-7629
CPR classes offered to River Forest residents.

Other Health and Safety Resources

American Red Cross Greater Chicago Chapter
Phone: 312-729-6100
Provides training in CPR and First Aid and babysitter training for teenagers.

Centers for Disease Control
Phone: 800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)
Provides health/safety information in English and Spanish 24/7.

Kids with Food Allergies Foundation Community
Food allergy management strategies for children and their families.
Information about children’s health, written for parents.

KidSource Online
Information about children’s health, education, and product safety.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Child Safety
Child car safety information administered by the federal government.

Resources and Tips for Child Safety

Car Safety

Illinois law requires that children 8 years old and younger use a child restraint system (car safety seat or booster seat, depending on age and weight); children over the age of 8 must wear seatbelts.

A child safety seat is the key to preventing injury and death. When selecting a car seat, carefully check the manufacturer’s limits for age and weight.

  • Children under three should not play with small toys or toys with small parts or pieces. Remember to read labels for age recommendations.
  • If a toy can slide through the inside of a toilet paper roll, it’s too small for a baby or preschooler.
  • Do not keep soft toys or objects in your infant’s bassinet or crib.
  • Children should always be seated and supervised while eating.
  • Avoid small round or hard pieces of food that can cause choking.
  • Children should be supervised while playing with latex balloons.
  • Regularly check your floors for buttons, coins, and other small objects.
  • Parents and child care providers ideally should know rescue procedures and CPR. Your local Fire Department offers classes in CPR.


  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home. Carbon monoxide gas is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and poisonous.
  • Check batteries and detectors twice a year. To help remember, check them when you change clocks for daylight savings time.
  • Young children have thinner skin that burns more easily. Turn the hot water heater temperature down to 120 degrees.
  • If burned, put the injured area in cold water, bandage loosely and call your child’s doctor.


  • The websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have useful information about vaccinations.
  • The CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule is revised every year and is available from your health care provider or from the CDC’s website.
  • The Oak Park Public Health Department provides immunizations for under- and uninsured residents under the age of 18. Call 708-358-5491 for information.

Lead Poisoning

  • Lead comes from two main sources in the home: water from lead pipes and dust from lead paint. Make sure that the lead levels in your home are normal. Home testing kits that allow you to test for lead dust are available at local hardware stores.
  • Research shows that lead dust in soil can cause problems for kids living in urban areas. Have your children remove their shoes and wash their hands after playing outside.
  • If you are rehabbing an older home, review guidelines and procedures from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor about testing your child’s blood levels for lead. Many school districts require a lead test before entering Kindergarten.
  • There hav;e been cases where high amounts of lead or toxic chemicals are found in children’s toys. Stay informed about product recalls and other children’s safety issues. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a list of recalled items.


  • If you have a poisoning emergency, call Poison Control immediately (800-222-1222) or call 911 if the person is unconscious or has difficulty breathing.
  • Keep poison hotline numbers posted at home and programmed into your cell phone.
  • Many poisons are tasteless and don’t smell.
  • Keep all medicines, vitamins, and household cleaning products out of the sight and reach of children.
  • The Illinois Poison Center provides information on how to avoid common poisons and what to do if your child ate something poisonous.

Other Accidents

Health, Vision, and Dental Services

Insurance Coverage:

Illinois provides several insurance programs intended to serve uninsured or income-eligible families with children:

  • All Kids Provides comprehensive, affordable health insurance, regardless of immigration status or health condition. Call the All Kids Hotline: 1-866-ALL-KIDS (1-866-255-5437). Children can get All Kids health insurance if:
    • they live in Illinois;
    • they are age 18 or younger;
    • they meet the insurance requirements for All Kids; and
    • their family’s income meets the All Kids Income Limit.
  • FamilyCare: Provides health insurance for uninsured parents/caregivers who meet income eligibility guidelines. This program is available only for legal residents and U.S. citizens. For more information on All Kids and FamilyCare, call 866-ALL-KIDS (866-255-5437) or go to
  • Affordable Care Act: Get Covered Illinois information and assistance is available at the Oak Park Department of Public Health (email or call 708-358-5483), for Oak Park residents. Information is also available at Proviso Township Mental Health Commission (call 708-240-4435 or email


Check with your health insurance provider to see if visits to an eye doctor and/or optometry services for eyeglasses are covered. If your health insurance does offer vision coverage, check the American Optometric Association’s website. Type in your zip code in the right-hand side-bar and search for a doctor. If you have All Kids/Medicaid insurance, call the member hotline at 877-912-1999 to find an eye doctor in your area. 


Start wiping your child’s gums and teeth with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad when teeth appear. At age 18 months, begin using a small soft-bristled toothbrush and water. At age three, add a pea-sized dab of toothpaste with fluoride when brushing. If your baby is being exclusively breastfed, your pediatrician or dentist may prescribe a fluoride supplement. Consult with a dentist or health care professional by the age of one to discuss your child’s teeth. Start visits to the dentist by the age of two.

  • Baby Bottle Cavities: Baby teeth are prone to cavities very early on. Letting your child drink at will from a bottle containing milk, breastmilk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids can cause rapid and severe decay. Your child should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water.
  • Dental Exam Requirements: Illinois law now requires that children in kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades have proof of a dental exam; report cards can be withheld if parents do not take children to visit the dentist.

The following locations provide dental services:

The Children’s Clinic
Sponsored by Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society
320 W. Lake Street, Oak Park 60302.
Phone: 708-848-0528
Preventive and restorative dental services including endodontics and interceptive orthodontics. Available to low-income children birth to age 18. Accepts Medicaid, All Kids; sliding fee scale. No child is refused care for inability to pay.

PCC South Family Health Center
6201 W. Roosevelt Road, Berwyn 60402
Phone: 708-286-0845
Diagnostic, preventative, and restorative procedures; endodontics, periodontics and oral surgery; available to PCC patients under the age of 20; accepts All Kids, Medicaid & commercial insurance; sliding fee scale (based on procedure) available to uninsured patients.


Mental Health and Social Emotional Development

To access more resources around mental health for both children and parents, visit our Parent Wellness Support page.

  • PCC Community Wellness – Offers a wide range of services including treating mental health and substance use.
  • Healthcare Alternatives – Is a non-profit organization providing behavioral health services to Chicago and the surrounding communities in multiple languages. 

Support a strong start and a bright future.

We champion high-quality early childhood care and learning experiences and support for families so all children develop their full potential.