Early Childhood/PreK

The Early Childhood/Pre-Kindergarten Team:

  • Kate Hickey 
  • Megan Estep
  • Kristin Goesel 
  • Leila Gabriel
  • Janee Johns
  • Marsha Newman
  • Katie Schmidt
  • Tanya Thomas (Pre-K Parent Education Coordinator)


Our program is funded by the State of Illinois under the grant Preschool for All. We have developmental screenings for children who turn 3 years old on or before the date of the screening.
ALL children must go through the screening process to qualify for our program. Appointments are REQUIRED!
Summer screening dates are June 4, 2024, and June 5, 2024. 
Click the button below to request a screening for your child. After you complete the form, someone will be in contact with you to set up an appointment. 
Thank you! We look forward to working with you.


About the Program

Our half day programs serve 3-5 year old children. We address their fine motor (small muscle), gross motor (large muscle), social-emotional, language, and cognitive (thinking) skills each day. Our preschoolers accomplish this by learning through play. We utilize centers to encourage development in our students. Centers are areas of play/work for children to develop or enhance their skills.


Our students are enriched by a multitude of professionals each day. Each classroom not only has a teacher, but a teacher’s assistant is present, as well. The children also have access to occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech/language therapists. However, the key ingredient for your child’s success is parental involvement. Therefore, our programs strive to keep you connected! We accomplish this by encouraging parents to volunteer in the classroom, attending monthly parent/child field trips and by offering parent educational programs.


The Early Childhood and Pre-Kindergarten programs have been designed to create a positive first school experience. It is our goal that your child will bloom at Willow School and excel throughout their academic career.


 Session Times:

AM- 8:15am - 10:45am

PM-11:45am -2:15pm 

What is the Lending Library? 
It's a resource for parents to check out FREE games, books, CD's & DVD's, and parenting books to use with your child while at home. Keep the items for a week then return and check out more items. Please return the items in the same condition they were checked out so other parents can enjoy. Limit of 3 items per family. 
The Lending Library is located in the hallway of your child's classroom. Sign in through the office and come check out an item or two! If you need assistance, please call me at (708) 798-3720 ext.2191 and I will be more than happy to help. 
                     CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT                                               
We love to shine the light on our Pre-K classrooms. It is a great way for parents to see all the learning and other great things that are happening while children are in school. Our teachers are very dedicated to scaffolding the students as well as building relationships to foster healthy social/emotional, cognitive, and language development. 
Fun Fridays and Brain Builders
Fun Fridays and Brain Builders- are special days when parents and students work together on a fun activity or attend an educational outing in which they use this time to bond while learning. It is not a regular day of school instead students come to school with an adult for an hour.
Community Happenings 
Junior Friends of the Homewood Library
Your Homewood Public Library has this organization which is led by children who are learning how to give back to the community. The group meets at the library once a month from 4:00pm-5:00pm on the 3rd Friday of every month. All ages are welcome. If interested, email: [email protected].
You Matter 2 - is a youth philanthropy group that consists of 7th-12th grade students who believe in changing the world by empowering and inspiring other youth to be world changers. Members of the organization spend their time volunteering, raising awareness for local and global issues and hosting community events. Check their website for free community events for the whole family. For more information visit their website: Click Here 
**Note: The founder of this group is the sibling of a current Willow student.**
The following are websites with information based on your feedback from the 2019 Fall Parent Survey. Please note the suggested information on the various websites are not reflective of Homewood School District 153, use at your discretion.
Mindfulness Techniques to Help Reduce Parent Stress: Parenting can be a stressful job. That's why it's important to have strategies to help you relax. Click Here
Social/Emotional: Looking for ways to help your child with social-emotional learning (SEL)? Here are a handful of fun activities that can help your child manage emotions and work on social skills.  Click Here
Behavior: If you've decided to observe your child and take notes on a specific behavior, you might be wondering how to proceed.   Click Here
  • The 1-2-3 Magic Program continues to offer parents, pediatricians, mental health professionals, grandparents, teachers and even babysitters a simple and gentle-but-firm approach to managing the behavior of 2 to 12-year-olds, whether they are average kids or special-needs children. Click Here
Sibling Rivalry: All parents want their kids to enjoy each other's company and have each other's back. This site offers 7 ways to build the relationship between siblings and create a strong, lasting friendship.  Click Here
  • A children's book that promotes healthy eating: Click Here
  • Parent resource book: Find in your local library nav
Cognitive Development: FREE monthly activities to download. Click Here
Physical Development: This article and website explains fine and gross motor physical development in young children. Click Here
  • Fine Motor Skills: Here is a website with activities to foster fine motor skills. Click Here
  • Gross Motor Skills: This short article lists several ways to get children moving indoors especially during winter months when daily outdoor activities are not possible.  Click Here
Child Development: Discover the 4 stages of child development. See which stage is your child going through now. Click Here