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  1. until
    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.
  2. until
    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.
  3. until
    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.
  4. until
    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.
  5. until
    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.
  6. until
    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.
  7. until
    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.
  8. until
    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.
  9. until
    Join Bennett Day School's Director of Enrollment, Laura Maheshwary, for a short presentation followed by a Q&A. Register here for NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair to receive the link for this virtual coffee session.
  10. until
    Have you noticed a regression in your child—behaviorally, developmentally or socially—since the start of the pandemic? You're far from alone. Join NPN for a webinar on how to detect and manage COVID regression, whether you have a child with special needs or a typically developing child in the crucial development years of 2–5. In this discussion, you will hear from behavioral specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists about the typical signs that your child may be experiencing developmental regression due to the pandemic. You will also learn about the strategies professionals are using, services that are available, and what activities you can do in the home to combat COVID-19 regression. Our esteemed panel consists of: Dr. Shay McManus, Neuropsychologist, Eyas Landing Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, PhD, Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services Lorell Marin, Founder, CEO & Therapist, LEEP Forward Nicole Cissell, Clinical Director, BGF Children's Therapy Jason Wetherbee, Director of Clinical Services & Program Development, EB Pediatric Resources Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Eyas Landing Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors, Comprehensive Learning Services and LEEP Forward By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  11. NPN Tareema

    Preschool Philosophies

    until
    Choosing the right preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. With so many different preschool philosophies, how do you know which philosophy works for you and your family? In this discussion you will learn about a variety of preschool philosophies, hear examples of good questions to ask and things to think about when you are researching preschools, and walk away confident in your ability to choose a preschool that is a good fit for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! Our esteemed school panel consists of: Erin Woodhams, Director of Marketing, Admissions, and Communications, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School Samantha Maxwell, Preschool Director, Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool Andrea Shaffer, Faculty Director, Chicago Waldorf School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, we also appreciate our Supporting Sponsor, Bennett Day School. By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor.
  12. until
    Preparing for kindergarten can feel like a daunting task, and myths about the Illinois age cut-off abound. If you are wondering if your four year old or six year old can attend kindergarten, or if you want to know how to help your child prepare for kindergarten, this is the session for you. Our esteemed panelists will explain what teachers really want parents to know about kindergarten. We will also discuss the Illinois law around age cut off, answering all of your questions about this confusing piece of the puzzle. There will be time for Q & A at the end. You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. What it means to be kindergarten-ready 2. How to help your child prepare for kindergarten 3. The kindergarten age cut off law in Illinois and if there are any exceptions Our esteemed school panel consists of: Tiffany Wells, Director Enrollment Management, Catherine Cook School Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School Georgia Burke, Admissions Director, St. Josaphat School Bonnie Ho, Principal, Pui Tak Christian School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor: Catherine Cook School By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor.
  13. until
    In preschool, young children learn how to move through the world, navigate challenges, manage their feelings, and be a friend. These foundational skills follow children their entire lives and, after nearly two isolating pandemic years, they are more important than we’ve ever realized. A preschool that can support your child’s social-emotional growth is one of the most important investments you can make in your child's life. In this discussion you will learn: 1. How preschools address children’s social-emotional needs 2. How to gauge a school’s approach to social-emotional learning as you research schools 3. Why social-emotional learning is so important, especially now Our distinguished panel features these experts: Erin Woodhams, Director of Marketing, Admissions, and Communications, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Kevin O'Brien, Director, Mary Meyer School Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood Education, Bennett Day School Samantha Maxwell, Preschool Director, Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor: British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: Mary Meyer School Bennett Day School Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor.
  14. until
    Held every fall, NPN’s Annual Preschool & Elementary School Fair has been the No. 1 resource for school-searching parents for over 20 years! Parents can chat with reps from Chicago preschools and private elementary schools and attend breakout sessions about Chicago public schools. This year our school fair is virtual and runs from Saturday, September 25th through Saturday, October 16th. See the list of participating schools here. This year's fair consists of smart, organized, and one-of-a-kind resources and virtual events. FREE for NPN members! (Members, login to register). Register now to access: 1. Updated and new information in our School and Daycare Directory - File downloads - Videos - Photos - And more 2. An open house calendar - No need to search all over for dates, we pull them together for you in one simple document - Updated weekly as schools confirm/add dates - Register now to receive the link to the calendar 3. Live, virtual coffee talks with schools - Meet private school representatives - Watch a short, live presentation by the school - Ask questions - Register now for the schedule and links 4. Breakout sessions that explain everything you need to know about Chicago Public Schools 10/8/21 12:00 - 1:00pm CPS 101: Questions & Answers (FREE with school fair registration, receive the Zoom link in your school fair confirmation email) 10/15/21 12:00 - 1:00pm CPS 201: Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools Questions & Answers (FREE with school fair registration, receive the Zoom link in your school fair confirmation email) 10/22/21 12:00 - 1:00pm CPS 301: Selective Enrollment High Schools & Choice Programs (FREE for NPN members, REGISTRATION REQUIRED, register here) Registration required > FREE for NPN members > $35 non-members, comes with NPN membership to be activated November 1, for new members only. Does not apply to membership reactivations. >> Or join NPN now for $25 using promo code school21 and access the school fair, and everything NPN has to offer, for free! << Questions? Email Executive Director Amy Johnson at director@npnparents.org. NPN is a 501(c)(3) organization. We rely on the support of our members, partners, supporters, and sponsors to bring exceptional programming like this to parents. We would like to thank our Preschool & Elementary School sponsors for their support: Thank you to our sponsors Thank you to our media partner: Crain's Chicago Business Schools: Exhibitor registration is open. Click here to register.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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 the 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. The majority of Chicago schools also have a fairly strict birthday cutoff date of Sept. 1, so if a school accepts students who are 3 by Sept. 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. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have centralized information for either 3 and 4 year old preschool programs (www.cps.edu/ChicagoEarlyLearning) or K-9th grade programs (www.go.cps.edu). Preschool applications open the spring prior to entry (4/11/23 this year) while K-9th grade applications open a year prior (typically late September to early December). Private schools have varying application deadlines from late September to February or even rolling admissions. 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 preschools allowing up to 5 options and K-9th grade applications offering two pathways that can both be chosen: one for up to 20 non-selective Choice programs and another for up to six selective enrollment (test-based) programs. Both applications are part of the online portal at https://cps.schoolmint.com/login and this year CPS preschool applications are available through the same link. Private schools, however, typically do require participation in a coffee/tour, and may 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 of the way. 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 can require at least a year of foresight so we recommend families of any age visit NPN’s Annual 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 Winter 2023
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Guest

    Preschool Primer

    This session is for anyone who wants to learn when to start the preschool search, what to look for in a preschool, the various types of preschools available, how to determine "school fit" for a 2-year-old, when you should think about making a change, the difference between public and private preK, Chicago's universal preK initiative, and how to best prepare your child for preschool. When discussing preschool programs, this session will focus mainly on private preschool options and touch only briefly on public options. Recorded on 9-14-2020 for the NPN School Fair; all information is current through then.

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