Come grow with us! Growing Tree Preschool is the place to go for preschool since 1975.

Growing Tree Preschool’s philosophy is to educate children in a play-based, creative and nurturing atmosphere. We believe that honoring and fostering the individuality of each child will encourage respect for oneself and for others. We strive to develop a united common goal between families and preschool staff to build academic, social and self-help skills. Our ultimate goal is for children to love coming to school! See all of the preschool options here.

•  Combining learning and fun is our top priority 
•  Clean and healthy environment
•  Safety and security
•  Focused on successful entrance into District 50/56 school system
•  Communication between parents and teachers
•  State of Illinois Early Learning based curriculum
•  Excellent staff

Two locations to better serve all of Gurnee.

Download a complete guide of all Growing Tree Preschool options. Available in January.

Preschool Options to Fit Every Need

Growing Tree Preschool offers many options to fit every need of your family all year long. View the full list of options below. Learn more about Growing Tree Preschool.

Full Day Preschool

Children will learn, grown and prepare for a full day kindergarten in this dynamic class filled with an extensive kindergarten readiness curriculum.

Half Day Preschool

Our unique combination of fun and learning promotes a positive adjustment to school, encourages social development and provides an initial experience with kindergarten readiness curriculum.

Preschool CARE

Parents who work of need extra time can be assured their three or four year old enrolled in Growing Tree Preschool will have fun with supervised play, crafts, games and outdoor activities.

Summer Preschool

Do you want your child to continue preschool in the summer? This program is designed for children who will be three and four years old by June 13 and are toilet trained. Weekly themes, daily circle time and activities that help develop fine motor, gross motor, self-help and social-emotional skills, make an excellent bridge into fall preschool or connect one school year to the next. Classes will be held indoors and are taught by experienced preschool teachers. A 15 minute outdoor recess time, weather permitting, is included. Children may enroll in Camp Growing Tree during the other days of the week for a full week of fun and learning! Learn more about summer preschool programs here.

Summer Sprouts Camp

Designed for children who will be 2 1/2 years by June 13. Summer Sprouts provides young children an opportunity to experience the routine of preschool, play and interact with peers, gain confidence and most of all, have fun! Toilet training is not required. Learn more about Summer Sprouts here.

Excellent Staff

Our team has an average of 12 years of teaching experience at Growing Tree Preschool and have earned Master’s, Bachelor’s or Associates degrees. All teachers obtain 10 continuing education credits in early childhood annually, are CPR, First Aid, AED certified and are Epi Pen trained. Most importantly, the teaching staff love children, embrace the uniqueness of each individual and are committed to the goal of creating a strong foundation for social and academic success.

Clean and Healthy Environment

Preschool is held in bright, clean and well-equipped classrooms. Our well-appointed facilities include exceptional playgrounds and indoor environments for large motor activities, games and play. Snack foods provided are healthy, child-friendly and peanut/nut free.

Safety and Security

Our staff is First Aid/CPR/AED certified, DCFS mandated reporters, trained to manage food allergies and accomplished in the supervision of children indoors, outdoors and in emergency situations. All preschool classrooms are locked during class, and pickup procedures allow children to be released only to authorized adults.

Community Based Preschool Focused on Successful Entrance into Local School Districts

Our curriculum is based on the State of Illinois Early Learning Standards for Preschool includes the following learning areas: language arts, math, science, social science, fine arts, foreign language physical and development/health. We work closely with local school districts to ensure that children are well-prepared for the next academic step.

Communication Between Parents and Teachers

Families receive a monthly calendar and newsletter along with a weekly e-mail including a detailed description of classroom activities and reminders of upcoming events. We provide progress reports and parent/teacher conference opportunities throughout the year.

Flexible Dates and Times

2 ½ - 3 ½ Years Old

  • Preschool - M/W, Tu/Th

3 - 4 years old

  • Preschool - M/W/F, Tu/Th
  • Half Day Preschool with Childcare Options

4 years old

  • Preschool - M/W/F, Tu/Th and M-F
  • Half Day Preschool with Childcare Options - M/W/F, M-F
  • Extended Preschool with Childcare Options - M/W/F, Tu/Th
  • Full Day Preschool with Childcare Options - M-F, M/W.F

Classes are available at both Hunt Club Park and Viking Park Community Centers. Extended Day Preschool is exclusively available at Viking Park Community Center and Full Day Preschool is available at both Hunt Club and Viking Park Park Community Centers with different days offered at each.

3 and 4 Year Old Classes

Student requirements:

  • 3 or 4 years old by September 1
  • Toilet training required

Learning objectives:

  • Develop important social/emotional
    skills
  • Organize work
  • Master cognitive, physical and social
    milestones
  • Expand and sustain attention span
  • Develop organization and problem
    solving skills

Curriculum at Growing Tree Preschool

Growing Tree Preschool encompasses all of the State of Illinois Early Learning areas: social/ emotional development, language arts, math, science, social science, fine arts, foreign language, physical development and health in a kindergarten-readiness curriculum. Our goal is to create a warm and nurturing environment that helps children progress to their fullest potential and encourages a love for learning.

 Admission Requirements and Forms

Admission requirements:

  • 2 ½ years old by September 1 (toilet training not required)
  • 3 years old by September 1 (self sufficient in the bathroom)
  • 3 ½ years old by September 1 (self sufficient in the bathroom)
  • 4 years old by September 1 (self sufficient in the bathroom)

Admission Documentation - Due August 24, 2017. Forms will be available on line in mid-July:

  • Preschool Information Form
  • Physical Form (Illinois DHS Certificate of Child Health)
  • Copy of Birth Certificate   

How to Register:

  • $75.00 non-refundable registration fee and one tuition payment are due at the time of registration.  
  • Tuition payments are non-refundable, non-transferable and may not be pro-rated.
  • Monthly tuition is due on the 15th of the previous month (example: October tuition is due September 15).
  • Tuition is based on the total number of days in the school year divided into equal monthly installments.       

Forms and handbooks for Growing Tree Preschool 2017-2018 school year will be available online on mid-July.

Forms and Handbooks for Growing Tree Preschool 2017-2018:

Download Preschool Information Form

Download Allergy Action Form

Download Dispense Medication Form

Download Physical Form (Illinois DHS Certificate of Child Health)

Download EFT Authorization Form

Download Approved Snack List

Download Parent Handbook for 2 1/2 year olds

Download Parent Handbook for 3 and 4 year olds

Preschool CARE

Parents who work or need extra time before or after school can be assured their three or four-year old enrolled in our Growing Tree Preschool will have fun with supervised play, crafts, games and outdoor activities. Children bring a lunch and beverage each day along with the appropriate outerwear, so we can use our outdoor parks and facilities. Staff will escort children to/from their preschool class. 

Preschool CARE 2017-2018: Click here for options, times and locations. Please Note: Registration begins on February 6, 2017.

Preschool Calendars 2016-2017

Viking Park Community Center

Room 1

4 year old Pre-K Mon/Wed/Fri Full Day
4 year old Pre-K Tue/Thu Extended Day

Room 2

3 year old-Tue/Thu am
4 year old Pre-K- Mon/Wed/Fri Extended Day

Room 3

3 year old Pre-K Mon/Wed/Fri am
2 1/2 year old Preschool Tue/Thu am
2 1/2 year old Preschool Tue/Thu pm

Hunt Club Park Community Center

Room 1

3 year old-Mon/Wed/Fri am
2 1/2 year old Preschool Tue/Thu am
2 1/2 year old Preschool Tue/Thu pm

Room 2

3 year old-Tue/Thu am
4 year old Pre-K- Mon/Wed/Fri am
4 year old Pre-K-Mon/Wed/Fri pm

Room 3

4 year old Pre-K Mon-Fri am
3 ½-4 year old Tue/Thu pm

Activity Room

4 year old Pre-K Full Day





2017-2018 Holiday Calendar

Class will not be held on the dates listed below.

September 4: Labor Day
October 6:  No School
October 9: Columbus Day
November 6: Parent/Teacher Conferences*
November 9: Parent/Teacher Conferences*
November 22-24: Thanksgiving Holiday
December 21-January 8: Winter Break (school resumes January 9, 2018)
January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 19: President's Day
March 23-24: Spring Break

*Parent/Teacher conferences are not held with 2 1/2 year old classes at this time, and there is no preschool for all students on both days. 

Please note: Snow/extreme weather days may be made up on the days listed above with the exception of winter and spring break.

Last day of class for Tuesday/Thursday classes:  May 17, 2018
Last day of class for Monday-Friday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes: May 18, 2018
Last day of class for Monday/Wednesday class: May 16, 2018

GPD2016 ASchneider ColorAimee Schneider has been teaching at the Gurnee Park District for 10 years, and has associate degree in early childhood education.  Her favorite part of teaching preschool is watching how much children love to learn new things and how proud they are of their accomplishments. She is passionate about making learning a hands on and fun experience!

GPD2016 AMartin ColorAmy Martin has four years of teaching experience at Growing Tree Preschool, and holds a bachelor’s degree. Her favorite thing about being a preschool teacher is watching the transformation of the children from the first day of the school year through the last.  She is amazed to see how much they grow and develop academically as well as socially.  Amy is most passionate about seeing the pride a child takes in a job well done.

GPD2016 BWozniak Color Barbara Wozniak is beginning her fourth year as a teacher at Growing Tree Preschool, and has 21 years of previous preschool teaching experience along with numerous classes in early childhood education.  Her favorite part of teaching preschool is watching children grow in their independence and become ready to take on the world! Barbara is most passionate about the teaching the joy of school and love of learning.  She strives to show the children that there is something to learn every day.

GPD2016 BHagan ColorThis is Beth Hagan’s first year teaching in a specific classroom at Growing Tree Preschool, but she has been a substitute teacher for three years, and is very excited to be teaching regularly. She holds a bachelors and master’s degree, and has been home with her children in recent years.  Beth looks forward to seeing the children as they grow throughout the year, and how they progress in their social and educational knowledge and skills. She loves seeing children’s interactions with books and their interest in the stories being told. Beth still reads to her children who once attended Growing Tree Preschool.

GPD2016 DTownsend ColorDebbie Townsend has worked for the Gurnee Park District for over 25 years and loves working with children. She earned a degree and career in Early Child Education and is passionate about helping children learn new skills watching them grow. Her favorite part about being a teacher is that no matter where she goes in Gurnee, she hears the excited little yell from a child that didn’t expect to see her outside of the classroom. Debbie has 6 grandchildren of her own, and taking care of young children is truly her life’s work.

GPD2016 DHoran ColorDeidre Horan is celebrating her 10th year working as a preschool teacher at Growing Tree Preschool. During her time with the park district Deidre has taught the 2 ½ and 3 year old classes. Watching the youngest students gain confidence and independence is her greatest joy.

GPD2016 DDowman Color 2Dina Dowmon, Preschool Coordinator, has been teaching at the Growing Tree Preschool for 18 years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education and her teaching career has spanned three decades. She believes that children learn through play and a variety of hands on experiences. In her classroom, she strives to provide activities and experiences in which children can achieve success and move toward independence, all while having fun. One of her ultimate goals is to foster a love of learning that children can carry throughout their lives. Dina has lived in Gurnee for 26 years and enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, cheering on the Chicago Cubs and spending time with her family.

GPD2016 Efox ColorElaine Fox is beginning her eleventh year teaching at Growing Tree Preschool, and holds a bachelor’s degree. Elaine is the author of a novel, and is the mother of three adult daughters. Elaine is passionate about instilling confidence in her students, and believes that a successful, positive preschool experience sets the foundation for future academic success. Developing a love for school is her main goal.

GPD2016 MGould ColorMegan Gould is a new teacher at Growing Tree Preschool who began the school year as a substitute teacher and now teaches in a specific classroom.  She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree and is very excited to be teaching children and aspiring young minds. Megan is the mother of 5 children ranging in age from 8 – 21 years, and spends her free time with her younger children who once attended Growing Tree Preschool.

GPD2016 JBeinlich ColorJackie Beinlich has taught at Gurnee Park District since 1999, and holds a bachelor’s degree along with many hours of Early Childhood Education courses. Her son attended preschool here. Her favorite thing about teaching is when a child accomplishes a difficult task and is proud of the accomplishment. She enjoys reading stories with puppets and props. Jackie is most passionate about preparing children for the grade school years and promoting a love for learning.

GPD2016 LPrims ColorLisa Prims has taught preschool at Gurnee Park District for five years and holds a bachelor and master’s degree. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is being given the opportunity to watch each child grow socially and academically as the year progresses.  She enjoys working closely as a team to make each year fun and successful for each student. She is passionate about early childhood education because she is setting the foundation for future learning.

GPD2016 LFrederking ColorLori Frederking will begin her nineteen year teaching at Growing Tree Preschool. Lori grew up in Gurnee and has continued her education with Early Childhood classes at local colleges. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is the children, and she is most passionate about watching children learn and grow through open-ended creative play.

GPD2016 MASchriefer ColorMary Ann Schriefer has been teaching at the Growing Tree Preschool for 14 ½ years. She teaches 3 and 4 year old classes as well as Early Childhood classes. She attended Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Mary Ann loves to see the children learn self-help and social skills and to see the joy on the children’s faces as they learn a new skill or concept. She is passionate about creating a playful environment where children learn to love school.

GPD2016 RPfenning ColorThis will be Robin Pfenning’s 13th year teaching at Growing Tree Preschool/Gurnee Park District. Robin has 10 years of child care experience, and Associates Degree. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is interacting with the children.  She loves their honesty and their interesting thoughts and ideas. Robin is most passionate about promoting confidence and developing social skills in the children. Most begin preschool apprehensive about leaving their parents and making new friends and progress to where they are totally comfortable and ready socially and academically to enter the next phase of their education.

GPD2016 SAkbari ColorSaba Akbari has lived in Gurnee for 25 years and begins her seventeenth year as a preschool teacher at Growing Tree Preschool. Saba holds a bachelor’s degree and teaching the youngest students is her passion. Both of Saba’s children attended preschool at Gurnee Park District and she knows firsthand how much of a positive impact early childhood education has, and the great role it has played in the lives of her children. She is honored to share that with the next generation of children.

GPD2016 SWachter ColorStacy Wachter has been a Growing Tree Preschool teacher for 8 years. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is getting to know all of the children and their families, and learning how to serve their individual needs. Stacy is passionate about helping children see and learn about the world around them, helping them gain self-esteem and celebrating little victories along the way.

GPD2016 SMurphy ColorSheila Murphy begins her seventh year as a Growing Tree Preschool teacher and holds a bachelor’s degree. She has been a resident of Gurnee for 18 years. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is watching the children grow socially and emotionally and guiding them to become confident and independent.

Inclusion with WSRA Special Recreation

Warren Special Recreation Association (WSRA) and its member districts, believe that all participants should be provided with leisure opportunities that allow for performance at their highest level of ability. Inclusion helps provide a smooth transition from WSRA to a member Park District/Township program. If you are interested in Park District/Township programming and desire inclusion assistance, contact the WSRA office at 847-244-6619.

Payment and Refund Information

Participants will pay a $75.00 non-refundable registration fee at the time of registration. The first tuition payment is due on July 15. After July 15, the $75.00 registration fee and one tuition payment will be due at the time of registration and are non-refundable. Subsequent payments are due on the 15th of each month beginning September 15. Tuition payments made after the 15th of the month are subject to a $10.00 late fee.

Tuition is based on the total number of school days divided into nine equal monthly installments. Failure to make a tuition payment will result in the removal of the child from the class. If a child is withdrawn at any time during the school year, the registration fee and tuition are non-refundable. Tuition is not pro-rated for partial month attendance.