There are a million decisions to make when it comes to preparing and raising the new child in your life. Constructing a detailed birth plan, picking a name, considering insurance policies, finding a pediatrician, and buying the safest stroller — these are all key decisions new mothers have to make. Out of all the potential choices, few are as intimidating as childcare. Finding the right childcare can take weeks, even months before feeling confident in your choice. Part of the problem is a lack of reliable information, especially when parents are looking for childcare that aligns with their hours and lifestyle needs. Here are some of the best Preschool and Daycare places in Chicagoland, along with some useful tips and brand favorites for your child’s development!

Open Space Early Learning Center is a brand new, state of the art school specializing in early education. At Open Space, we encourage development of the whole child by creating both a stimulating and nurturing environment. We not only provide hands-on materials but also engaging experiences that encourage children to learn through exploration, discovery, and play.They provide Infant, Toddler, Early Preschool, and Preschool programs for children 6 weeks to 5 years.

Infant Program (ages 6 weeks – 15 months): Teachers strive to provide an intimate home-like environment and soothing atmosphere while staying aware of each baby’s natural feeding, sleep and play rhythms. An infant’s typical day involves playing with age appropriate toys, books, songs, cuddling, rocking, sensory related art experiences, and stroller walks. Our infant rooms do not have a uniform schedule, but rather adapt to each individual infant. Learn more.

Toddler Program (ages 15 months – 2 years): A typical day involves circle time, self-directed guided play, small group activities, singing songs, reading books, art experiences, sensory experiences, indoor and outdoor gross motor play. These teachers encourage autonomy by giving toddlers opportunities to put toys and materials away, by modeling sharing and communication. Toddlers begin to follow a more uniformed schedule. All of the students activities, such as naps and mealtimes occur at the same time. Learn more.

Early Preschool Program (ages 2 – 3 years): Teachers encourage independence, social relationships and the individual interests of all children. The teacher uses the interests observed to plan projects and lessons. A typical day for early preschoolers involves self-directed guided play, small group activities, circle time, reading books, singing songs, art experiences, writing and literary activities, science activities, outdoor and indoor gross motor play, dramatic play and block play opportunities. Learn more.

Preschool Program (ages 3 – 5 years): The structure is similar to the Preschool classroom with a greater focus on school readiness. A typical day for preschoolers involves self-directed guided play, small group activities, circle time, literacy and writing activities, science activities, reading, journaling, art experiences, dramatic play, block play, group activities, computer time and indoor and outdoor play gross motor play. Learn more.

“This daycare opened in late July 2019. Kanwal is an amazingly passionate and dedicated director, and we love the staff so far. They are kind and attentive. The space is modern, comfy, and clean. They are very attuned to our baby’s needs. They use the Brightwheel app, which is such a great way to see how our daughter’s day is progressing. We are so fortunate to send our daughter here and highly recommend it to anyone!!” – Open Space Parent

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Curated boxes of toys that support learning and development of fine cognitive, motor, and social skills that grows with your baby. Build a foundation of learning with the best developmental toys for babies to toddles in a convenient subscription box designed for children ages 0-5 years old, or choose from their one-time purchase specialty boxes.

Kids & Company is a childcare company offering full-time, part-time and emergency back-up care options for infant and school ages!

Infants: Infants will learn a lot about the world around them through their senses. Nurturing caregivers support your child while he/she is exploring, encouraging them to experience everything the classroom offers, whether it’s through finger painting, playing with blocks, listening to songs or engaging in story-time. Learn more.

Toddlers: Toddlers learn best in the context of relationships within small groups. There are fewer distractions and children’s activities are more focused. In Kids & Company toddler classrooms, small groups allow very young children to make connections, form caring relationships, and learn to understand other children. Learn more.

Preschool: Kids & Company teachers interact, observe and discover what the early preschooler’s interests are and encourage further discoveries by planning activities and investigations that expand your child’s learning. Learn more.

Pre-Kindergarden: Kids & Company’s Pre-Kindergarten Programs are designed for children who are 4 or 5 years old to prepare them for 1st grade. The program supports learning, play and exploration and the construction of relationships and ideas, while continuing to offer the convenience of full time child care. Learn more.

Half-Day Programs: The Kids & Company half-day curriculum includes basic math concepts, science, food science and nutrition. Kids can participate in indoor and outdoor open ended play, Spanish, music, printing, pre-literacy and reading, and fine arts.  Learn more.

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TC Scholars is a specialty preschool program that focuses on the whole child. Capping at 12 students, TC Scholars is co-led by a master’s level social worker and early childhood educator. Our low student teacher ratio allows each student to receive the individual attention they need to thrive.

“The staff tweak their language and expectations ever so slightly so that my son is thriving at school. He’s learning, participating, behaving and having fun. The best part: he’s cherished and celebrated for his strengths and uniqueness.” – TC Scholars Parent

TC Scholars is now accepting applications and will close enrollment when preschool slots are full. They have flexible schedules and hours from Morning Sessions (9:00AM – Noon) and Full Day Sessions (9:00AM – 3:00PM).  You can also choose programs from 2 days per week up to 5 days per week. Learn more about all their enrollment options.

With Urbansitter you have access to childcare you can trust. UrbanSitter unlocks your personal network to connect you with babysitters of friends, moms groups, and parents from your kid’s school.

PeeWee Playschool is a drop-off program for 2-4 year olds that focuses on socialization, creativity, learning, and most of all, fun!

Contact Lakeshore Sport & Fitness to schedule a free trial day!  Highlights of the program include a 30-min instructional group swim lesson with their certified aquatics department, participation in arts & crafts, music, yoga, and learning activities that will stimulate your child’s creativity.  Your kids can also checkout their outdoor playtime on the rooftop playground or indoor playtime in their fitness studios.

BabyQuip helps families pack light and travel happy to hundreds of destinations in the US and Canada. BabyQuip delivers and sets up clean, quality baby gear at a family’s hotel, vacation rental or private residence.

Settling in at Childcare

Get organized early: Take care of the practical things like bag lunches and setting out clothes the night before. This will reduce stress of trying to get out the door in the morning. Therefore, you can focus on your child is feeling on childcare mornings.

Down time is important: Childcare can be very stimulating and exhausting. Giving your child plenty of recovery time is crucial so they don’t get burnt out.  This means earlier bedtimes or longer naps.  Even better, organize some quiet play time with them in a familiar environment.

Make special time at home: Now that you have less time with your child, make the most of the time you spend together.  Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding before and after child care can be a great time to reconnect. Even scheduling  bath time, cuddles, and bedtime stories as part of your evening routine is a good way to have consistent quality time together.

Stay with your child the first few mornings: Try staying with your child for the first 5-10 minutes the first few days.  Read a book with them or watch them do an activity.  That way they become more comfortable in a new environment.

Make sure to say goodbye: When it’s time to go, let your child know that you are leaving and when you will be back.  Give them a hug and kiss and say goodbye to their teacher or class educator.

Build a relationship with your Childcare Educator: Your child will feel more secure if they see you communicating with their teacher.  They will be more likely to trust their teacher if you do. 

Just Right Reader will send you 5-7 books at the perfect reading level for your budding reading enthusiast. Each box will also come with a parent guide to Just Right Reading, and a reading toolkit for your child. 

Listing Your Childcare on Pearachute

At Pearachute, we have two passions: helping families spend more meaningful time together and helping local businesses that serve those families thrive. We’re excited to bring childcare into our community of hundreds of thousands of local parents.

As you know, parents are often stressed by the process of finding quality childcare for their children.  They often spend hours calling local providers only to discover they needed to be on the waitlist months before even having their child.  Many opt out of the process and choose a nanny instead. At Pearachute, we’re trying to solve that problem by creating the first ever resource for parents that shows them real time which childcare and preschool providers have openings. 

For more information about how to list your childcare on Pearachute, click below!

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Start exploring cooking classes, open plays, museum days, music workshops, art courses, family festivals, mommy and me classes, and childcare opportunities on Pearachute!