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  1. NPN Admin

    Sinai Preschool Virtual Coffee Session

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    Sinai Preschool's video call will be a presentation and Q&A session presented by Fern Katz, Director; a preschool teacher and a preschool parent. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join the German International's, Head of School Ben Hebebrand, and his team for an overview of the preschool, and Kindergarten through 8th grade programs. Learn about the school's dual language approach, its International Baccalaureate program, and the benefits of bilingualism. Followed by a Q&A session. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join us for an introduction, virtual tour, and Q&A with Pilgrim's, Mr. Comella, Principal. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Greenfields Academy's founder, Rob Huge, will be leading a discussion about how Greenfields has reinvented education. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
  5. NPN Admin

    Center for Talent Development

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    Attend a live presentation, Why Enrichment is All the Buzz In Person and Online with Rhoda Rosen, Associate Director, Center for Talent Development. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join Tami Doig, Daystar's Head of School and early childhood expert, for a conversation about what to look for in a good preschool or kindergarten according to the framework established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This time not work for you? No worries! Sign up on their website to join one of their regularly scheduled calls or conversations. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join Rogers Park's principal, Ben Blair, as he provides an overview of the Montessori philosophy, followed by Q&A. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    This will be a presentation and Q&A with Kimberly Shlaes, Director of PlayWorks Therapeutic Preschool Programing. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Nicholson's director Maria Macnab and lead teacher Lindsey Malacara will give a presentation and answer questions. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join us for the Latin School of Chicago's information session and tour. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    The Intercultural Montessori Language School will share a brief presentation. You'll hear from our students and we'll open things up for questions. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join Gold Coast Prep for a presentation followed by Q&A. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join us to learn more about Parker! Each year, families from all around the Chicagoland area, the country and the world apply to Parker’s diverse and inclusive community. Stacey Huynh, Assistant Director of Admission for Outreach and Recruitment, will share insight and information on Parker’s accessible and holistic admission application process, expansive financial assistance program and resources we have to guide you in your family’s decision-making process. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join Lisa Zimmer, Head of Early Childhood, at Catherine Cook School for a presentation, followed by Q & A. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
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    Join us for a BISC Lincoln Park Virtual Open House. Enjoy presentations from our Principal, admissions team, teachers and current parents, ask questions, and explore all that we have to offer your child. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
  16. As we begin to talk about the “s” word again ("school"), you may be weighing some options for your kids coming into the fall. If you have a toddler at home, you may also be entertaining the idea of preschool to help get your little one reintroduced to the world, interacting with peers — as well as adults other than your immediate family — and just beginning to develop social skills again as we emerge from our homes. [Related: What to look for in a therapeutic preschool] While preschool is not a requirement or necessary for later success in school, experts agree it provides an environment for children to explore, play with peers, build self-confidence, and strengthen their social and emotional development, all while having fun and learning routines. If you’re ready to send them off for more of these social experiences, you’ve likely fallen into a lot of options in Chicago for early learning. One factor to also consider in your search is whether your child would be appropriate for a “standard” preschool or a “therapeutic” preschool. It's a good idea to explore some differences in choosing a preschool or a therapeutic preschool for your youngster, as there are several distinctions that separate these two early learning options. Ratios In Illinois, preschools and daycares are mandated to follow predetermined adult-to-child ratio guidelines. Most stick to these minimum recommendations, which is a great question to inquire about when doing your research! These ratios are as follows: • For 2-year-olds a 1:8 ratio, with a maximum group size of 16 • For 3- to 5-year-olds, 1:10 ratio, with a maximum group size of 20 • For children 5 and above, 1:20, with a maximum group size of 30 In a therapeutic preschool setting, most classrooms are much smaller than the recommended maximums. Ratios are also much lower. A typical therapeutic preschool has a class size of 6-8 children, with ratios of adult support anywhere from 1:1 to 1:3. [Related: Preschool vs pre-k: What's the difference?] Therapy If your child receives speech, feeding, occupational, physical and/or behavioral therapy, a therapeutic preschool might be the way to go. This environment has these specialized therapists guiding interventions, providing individual therapy sessions, and helping to generalize different skills among peers. For example, a speech therapist may work individually with a child on answering questions or forming multiple word responses, and then bring the child back to the classroom to practice this new skill with their friends. Naps Here’s where therapeutic preschools may fall short. Therapeutic preschools are very therapy driven and most do not allow for a 2-hour mid-day nap, as a preschool or daycare set up would offer. If your little one is a power napper, a full day program at a therapeutic preschool may not be the best option for them. Diapers Some Early Learning programs require enrolled children to be fully toilet trained. This can be a real limitation for some families who feel their children are ready for the social and emotional benefits of preschool, but are not quite ready to spend the day in undies. At a therapeutic preschool, there are potty training programs implemented with each child, as this is a skill most are able to work on because of the low teacher to student ratios they maintain. Communication Both a preschool and a therapeutic preschool likely offer a lot of great communication options between the teachers and families. Notes going home, apps to receive updates, and face to face interactions help parents feel in touch and in the know about the day to day events with their children. However, if your child’s communication seems to be behind their age-matched peers, this can be a high frustration level for many toddlers who have a good understanding of what’s being discussed, but aren’t quite able to get their thoughts and feelings out effectively yet. A preschool classroom can be a frustrating experience when there are challenges expressing your wants and needs, or advocating for yourself. Important questions to consider: Is my child easy to understand? Can they ask for help when they need it? Are they able to speak up to advocate for themselves? Am I the only one who can understand my child? Reflecting on some of these questions may help lead you to the proper enrollment for your child. Enrollment Every child can be assessed and receive an IEP (individualized educational plan) at age three in order to have recommendations for placement at a CPS preschool. But did you know that your IEP is good for three years, and you are not required to join a CPS preschool at that time? Students in Illinois are not even required by law to attend kindergarten; however, they must be enrolled in either a home schooling program or a school district by age 6. Therefore, many families opt to pause enrollment from CPS to join a therapeutic preschool and reap the benefits of intensive therapeutic intervention, low student to teacher ratios, and engaging social and peer interactions. But don’t worry: Whether they graduate from preschool or therapeutic preschool, they can still join their peers in either a kindergarten or first grade classroom when they are ready! Making a Switch There are a handful of preschools in Chicago that enroll in the fall for the entirety of the year. Some have more strict guidelines on classroom placement based on birth date and ability level. However, many allow for enrollment throughout the school year, depending on birth date, availability and current ratios in their classrooms. Most therapeutic preschools enroll throughout the entire school year, and base these enrollments on the needs of the children and their families. So, if you are on the fence about what is most appropriate for your child, ask about enrollment commitments or cancellation fees, should you opt to enroll in a more therapeutic setting later in the year. Having this option may make enrollment in either program an easier commitment. Regardless of what you choose for your child, you want this early learning experience to be positive for everyone involved. Ask lots of questions, explore every option, and don’t limit yourself to only your neighborhood school. There may be a better fit for your child and their developmental needs that can get them well prepared to be independent little learners! Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
  17. Preparing for preschool can seem like an overwhelming process. Although there are many different preschools in Chicago, there are some common elements to preschool that every parent needs to consider. In this intimate recorded live discussion, preschool experts will discuss the logistics of preschool and answer your questions. You will walk away from this discussion knowing: 1. What to expect the first week of preschool 2. What to bring the first day, when to expect a phone call from the teacher, and more 3. How to plan for the entire year such as celebrating birthdays at school, field trips, and more A parent Q&A followed this discussion from our esteemed preschool school panel, which consisted of: The Ancona School Black Bear Academy Florence G. Heller JCC Near North Montessori School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor The Ancona School
  18. until
    Preparing for preschool can seem like an overwhelming process. Although there are many different preschools in Chicago, there are some common elements to preschool that every parent needs to consider. In this intimate live discussion, preschool experts will discuss the logistics of preschool and answer your questions. You will walk away from this discussion knowing: 1. What to expect the first week of preschool 2. What to bring the first day, when to expect a phone call from the teacher, and more 3. How to plan for the entire year such as celebrating birthdays at school, field trips, and more There will be time for Q&A at the end! Our esteemed preschool school panel consists of: The Ancona School Black Bear Academy Florence G. Heller JCC Near North Montessori School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor The Ancona School Please email Amy Johnson at amy@npnparents.org with any questions.
  19. Starting preschool is a big deal for both parents and children. From separation anxiety to making new friends to learning new skills, there is a lot to consider and prepare for. Take this opportunity to learn from experts about how to make this a smooth and happy transition for everyone in your family. Preschool experts will discuss how to prepare for the first day of preschool and beyond, how to handle separation anxiety and some things parents and children can look forward to during these special years. You will walk away from this discussion with the following: 1. How to prepare your child for preschool 2. How to handle separation anxiety on the first day and beyond 3. What to expect on the first day Thank you to our preschool panelists: Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School, Ancona School, Lycée Français de Chicago, Park West Co-Op Nursery School A special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School
  20. until
    Starting preschool is a big deal for both parents and children. From separation anxiety to making new friends to learning new skills, there is a lot to consider and prepare for. Take this opportunity to learn from experts about how to make this a smooth and happy transition for everyone in your family. In this intimate live discussion, preschool experts will discuss how to prepare for the first day of preschool and beyond, how to handle separation anxiety and some things parents and children can look forward to during these special years You will walk away from this discussion with the following: 1. How to prepare your child for preschool 2. How to handle separation anxiety on the first day and beyond 3. What to expect on the first day Plus our experts will help you prepare yourself for the first day too, and there will be time for Q & A at the end! Our preschool panel consists of: Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School Ancona School Lycée Français de Chicago Park West Co-Op Nursery School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School Email Meredith Marzano at mmarzano@npnparents.org with questions.
  21. This NPN Live at Lunch panel series is a 30 minute preschool panel discussion followed by a 15 minute Q&A about what to look for in a preschool. We hope that you will walk away from this discussion with three things: *The signs of an organized, safe, happy, and enriching preschool program * A better idea of what is most important to you when it comes to preschool * How to ask questions that will help you determine if a program is a good fit for your family
  22. This NPN Live at Lunch panel series is a 30-minute preschool panel discussion followed by a 10-minute Q&A about applying to preschool. We hope that you will walk away from this discussion with two things: * An understanding of components of the application process and how to apply * Answers to common questions that parents have about this process
  23. While Chicago is replete with hundreds of school choices ranging from public options (open enrollment, magnet, selective enrollment) to private religious and independent options, all schools will require some forethought in planning except one school into which you are automatically accepted and there is never a deadline: your assigned neighborhood Chicago Public School. Each Chicago address is guaranteed an assigned neighborhood elementary (K-8th grade) and high school (9th–12th grade) that allows for immediate enrollment any time of year. Find your assigned school. All other schools (including other neighborhood schools) can be viable options for families but typically do require at least an application to be filled out and, in the case of private schools, can require a lengthy, multi-step process that begins one year before your child will start the program. Some private schools do have rolling admissions, but most schools start their application processes one year prior to enrolling. The key for families is to be prepared and not to miss their window of opportunity, with the “entry year” (i.e., age or grade a program starts) of a school typically being the time when most spots may be available. Most Chicago schools also have a fairly strict cutoff date of Sept. 1, so if a school accepts students who are 3 by September 1, you should apply the fall when your child is 2 by Sept. 1. With the exception of Suder and Drummond (both start at 3 years old) and Inter-American (starts at 4 years old), CPS schools start in kindergarten, when your child is 5 by Sept. 1. Private elementary schools typically start at 3 or 4 years-old. While Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have a centralized application portal (www.go.cps.edu) with a set open and closing date for applications (typically the 1st Monday in October to the 2nd Friday in December), private schools have varying application deadlines that can start in late August and end in February. Be sure to check with each private school to determine application requirements and deadlines. Public schools may offer tours and open houses, but attendance is not a requirement for admissions. Their applications are also straightforward with one for up to 20 non-selective programs and another for up to six selective (test-based) programs. Private schools, however, typically do require participation in a coffee/tour, as well as require a playdate or shadow day, parent interviews, and recommendations. While some private schools share online documents (via Ravenna or similar online platforms), each has its own application requirements and deadlines, so it’s important to keep track along every step. Whichever schools or programs you are interested in, the key is to be ready to apply by understanding the timeline. It really is a process that requires at least a year foresight so we recommend families of any age visit NPN’s Preschool & Elementary School Fair to ask about entry years and find the open house dates and deadlines for each school they are interested in. Updated Spring 2021
  24. Guest

    Preschool Philosophies

    Thinking about preschool for your toddler but don't know where to start? Watch this informative discussion about the different preschool philosophies featuring expert panelists from preschools across the city. Topics include: Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia and other philosophies How to decide if these philosophies or others are a good fit for your child How preschool works during the pandemic Participating schools: Bennett Day School British International School of Chicago, South Loop Cardinal Bernardin Montessori Academy Mary Meyer School Urban Prairie Waldorf School Thank you to our presenting sponsor British International School of Chicago, South Loop.
  25. Overwhelmed by school options in the city? Chicago parents have many choices (and questions!) when it comes to private preschools & elementary schools. How do you know which school will be the right fit for your child? How will you fit in as a parent? How can you put your best foot forward during the application process? What do you want to know about financial aid but are afraid to ask? How do you find a "right-fit" school during a pandemic? Join us for an intimate panel discussion with admissions directors from some of the city's most sought-after private schools. We'll talk about different educational environments, how to find the best fit for your child and family, managing the application process, financial aid, school during a pandemic, and much more. Schools represented on the panel include: Bennett Day School Daystar Academy Latin School of Chicago Near North Montessori University of Chicago Laboratory School Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Bennett Day School.

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