School Information » Early Childhood/PreK

Early Childhood/PreK

The Early Childhood/Pre-Kindergarten Team:

  • Kate Hickey 
  • Megan Estep
  • Kristin Goesel 
  • Brenda Johnson 
  • Marsha Newman
  • Katie Schmidt
  • Laurenne Lopez
  • Tikia Kidd (Pre-K Parent Education Coordinator)


In order to qualify for the District’s Early Childhood or Pre-Kindergarten Programs, children must reside within the Homewood School District 153 boundaries and be between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. Each child is required to participate in the District’s preschool screening process. Eligibility for the programs is based upon the results of the screening, parent interview, and consideration of possible risk factors. Each family will be contacted as to whether or not their child is eligible for one of the programs.


To find out about the next screening dates and request an appointment, fill out the form below.





Screening Dates (Appointment Only)

Check back for our Fall screening date, thanks! 

Our Programs

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.



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) 647-2118 and I will be more than happy to help. 
                     CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT                                               
Each month we shine the light on one of our Pre-K classrooms. It is a great way for parents to see all the learning and other great things that are happening in our classrooms. Our teachers are very dedicated to scaffolding the students as well as building relationships to foster healthy social/emotional, cognitive, and language development. This month we are shining the light on Ms. Schmidt and Ms. Estep!
The students are learning about clothes through our Creative Curriculum "Clothes Study". 
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. 
  Brain Builder with 
Mother Goose and her Friends
Parents and students learned traditional nursery rhymes in an interactive way through puppets, songs, fingerplays, and even dressing up as characters with Mother Goose and her Friends. A great time was had by all! 
What is the Monthly At-Home Activity?
Parents have the opportunity to spend quality time with their child working on concepts and skills in a fun and engaging way at home. An At-Home Activity is sent home every month for the parents and children to complete together.


This month you and your child will practice cutting. Please read the “Why Are Scissor Skills So Important”. Here are important Scissor Rules for safety and success: 1.Choose an area where cutting is allowed and supervised (kitchen, living room, homework area, etc.) 2. Show your child the appropriate way to hold the scissors. 3. Discuss what can and cannot be cut. 4. Practice, practice, practice and have fun!


Two activities this month! (smile)

  • Troll Hair Cutting practice (remind your child about Scissor Rules)
  • Heart Shaped Name Puzzle
 Click the link below to see an example of the activity...
The following are websites with information based on your feedback from the 2018 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
Community Happenings 
Your Homewood Public Library has an organization called Junior Friends of the Homewood Library which is led by children who are learning how to give back to the community. The group meets once a month on a Friday at the Homewood Library. All ages are welcome. If interested, email:
You Matter 2You 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.**
Friday, August 30th, 2019- No School 
Monday, September 2nd, 2019- No School, Labor Day
Friday, September 6th, 2019 -
Parent Café' Workshop
Friday, September 20th, 2019 - Fall Family Concert 9am-10am
Friday, September 27th, 2019- Early Release Day - NO PM Session