Tree Town has nurtured lasting relationships with children and their families since 1968. With the myriad of choices and programs out there, you want to be sure that you pick a program and school that is not only right for your little one, but for your family as well.
What is a Cooperative?
As part of a cooperative preschool, parents are offered the unique opportunity to be an integral part of the school's mission and vision. Both students and their families reap the benefits of this environment and enjoy a special sense of community that is not typical at other preschool programs.
Tree Town is unique in that it is run by both parents and teachers. The parent board assists with the operation of the school. Everyone benefits from the enthusiasm and new ideas that a cooperative generates, and from the commitment of its members.
One of benefits of a cooperative experience is the ability to join the classroom to become familiar with your child's development and gain insight into you how your child interacts with his or her peers. Tree Town offers the opportunity for parents to participate in the classroom 2 - 3 times a year. Although it is not required, with the exception of our 2's class, both parents and children enjoy the experience of having parent helpers on special occasions and field trips.
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Our Program and Philosophy
The Tree Town program is rooted in a philosophy of education that promotes “learning through play.” Teachers help direct the children’s play by giving them the tools and support necessary to:
develop a healthy self-image;
learn to cooperate with others;
express himself/herself creatively through play, art, music, language and science; and
develop a sense of responsibility.
To achieve these goals, the curriculum is developed around units such as vegetables and healthy eating, science and nature, dinosaurs, jobs, and space exploration. Each unit is explored daily through music, small and large muscle activities, creative art experiences and opportunities for language development.
Tree Town prides itself on its highly skilled, qualified and devoted staff. Teachers are certified and most have master’s degrees in a relevant field, such as early childhood development, reading or elementary education. Our extremely talented teachers implement the educational program of the school, with the guidance of the school director and the parent board.
Barbara Baker - Teacher/Director
Barbara has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with an area of concentration in Special Education from Bradley University and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Learning Disabilities and Reading. She has two sons, both of whom attended Tree Town. Barbara joined the staff in the fall of 2006 as a teacher for the three and four-year-old classes. She took on the additional role of Director in the fall of 2008.
Jana Bendik - Teacher/Aide
Jana came to Tree Town through her daughter's Kid Town experience. Jana loved Tree Town so much, she stayed after her daughter left. Jana has a degree in Elementary Education from DePaul and a Masters in Child Development from Erikson Institute.
Christina Filip - Aide
Christina is a former Tree Town Parent Board President. All 3 of her children, Thomas, Clark, and Rosie, attended Tree Town. Christina and her family live in Elmhurst.
Sara Kovich - Aide
Sara has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the International Academy of Merchandise and Design and started her career in Kitchen and Bath Design. She lives in Bensenville with her husband and three boys. She has spent the last 19 years raising her boys and volunteering in their schools. She is excited to be part of the Tree Town Family.
Nicole Krzak - Teacher
Nicole is a former high school biology teacher. Nicole's daughters, Faith and Emma, are both Tree Town graduates. Nicole and her family live in Elmhurst.
Nicole Lintner- Teacher
Nicole has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She has taught K-4 special education in Charlotte, North Carolina. Also, she was a kindergarten teacher in Bermuda. Nicole lives in Elmhurst with her husband, son and daughter. Nicole is thrilled to be a part of the Tree Town community!
Heidi Maier - Teacher
Heidi has a Bachelor or Arts degree in Elementary Education from DePauw University. Heidi taught 1st and 2nd grade in the Hinsdale School district from 1998 -2005. Heidi lives in Elmhurst and her thee boys are all Tree Town alumni.
Megan Persin - Aide
Megan is a former middle school teacher. Her daughter, Ellie, is a Tree Town graduate. Megan and her family live in Elmhurst.
Marcy Rohman - Teacher
Marcy holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Special Education from Dominican University and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K-8 with a reading endorsement from Buena Vista University. Marcy was actively involved at Tree Town while her three daughters were in attendance serving on the Board, assisting in the classroom, acting as a substitute teacher, and running the Parent Helper Assistance Program. Marcy joined the staff at Tree Town in the fall of 2006.
Leslie Smith - Teacher
Leslie has taught kindergarten enrichment in Wisconsin and a mixed kindergarten/first-grade classroom in Massachusetts. Leslie lives in Elmhurst with her husband and two children.
Kristie Szejner - Aide
Kristie lives in Elmhurst with her husband and her two children. Before coming to Tree Town, Krisitie taught pre-k for 5 years and kindergarten for 5 years in Schiller Park.
Our NEW Play Structure!!
Play’s the Thing
Our learning philosophy here at Tree Town is to learn through play. We teach academic skills through a play based experience. This is recognized by many educators as the optimal way to teach young children. This is an excerpt from an article in the Washington Post about the importance of play.
“Preschool years are not only optimal for children to learn through play, but also a critical developmental period. If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions. We are consistently seeing sensory, motor, and cognitive issues pop up more and more in later childhoods, partly because of inadequate opportunities to move and play at an early age.”