Who We Are
Warren W. Cherry Preschool is a partial-day, not-for-profit, non-sectarian early childhood program that is independent and parent-governed. Established by parents and early childhood educators seeking to create an independent institution that would meet the needs of the community’s young children, Cherry Preschool opened its doors in September of 1992. The school is named after Warren W. Cherry to honor the memory of an outstanding Evanston educator, community leader, and friend of young children. Cherry Preschool is located in a red brick building at 1418 Lake Street in Evanston, one half block east of Penny Park. The school is licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs.
Our Goal And How We Put It Into Practice
The mission of Warren W. Cherry Preschool is to provide a developmental early childhood program which offers a safe, consistent, nurturing environment that encourages the social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth of children at their own rate. The unique personality, culture, needs, abilities and learning style of each child are accepted and appreciated as the staff and parents work together in the best interest of the children.
Philosophically, Cherry Preschool strives to:
- Develop each child’s positive self image
- Respect each child as a unique individual
- Promote independent and creative thinking
- Teach pro-social behavior
- Provide developmentally appropriate, innovative preschool education in a stimulating and enriching play environment
- Include children who have special needs
- Celebrate diversity
- Implement a curriculum through which children learn to value and accept differences
- Create a sense of support and community for children and their families
- Employ a highly qualified staff of dedicated early childhood educators
- Offer parents the opportunity to be involved not only in the education of their children, but also in the operation and direction of the school
Our Community Welcomes Children With Special Needs
We believe that including children with special needs in regular preschool programming enables children with special needs to model the social, language, and play skills needed to succeed in school. It also enriches the lives of all children by bringing them together in an environment that teaches acceptance, respect, and the appreciation of individual differences. Including children with special needs in our classes is an important step toward teaching young children to get along in an increasingly diverse world.
An important part of Cherry Preschool’s community outreach effort is to make the preschool accessible to all families regardless of their ability to pay. Cherry Preschool does everything in its power to support its families and keep in school all children who are part of the preschool community. Guidelines and applications for financial assistance are available in the preschool office and on our website. Decisions are made by the Director and Financial Manager and all requests for assistance are kept confidential.
The Cherry Preschool Staff
Teachers are chosen on the basis of academic background and personal commitment to working with young children and their families. The staff is a stable, cohesive, and caring group of educators who are knowledgeable about how children grow, develop and learn and who reflect the values of Cherry Preschool. We consider the experience, quality, and dedication of our staff to be our greatest asset.
Your Child’s Classroom At Cherry
As a developmental preschool, we believe that play-based early childhood education provides children many opportunities to interact with materials and construct knowledge about their world; increases vocabulary and language comprehension; helps children form better problem solving strategies; stimulates curiosity, imagination and greater innovation; helps children take the perspective of others, learn impulse control and empathy, build longer attention spans and have better social emotional skills. Cherry teachers plan open-ended, play-based activities and experiences to stimulate and challenge children to progress developmentally at their own individual rate. The curriculum explores topics of interest to children. One way teachers accomplish this is through the Project Approach, an in-depth study that employs investigation, observation, and hands-on experiences.
Understanding Diversity at Cherry Preschool
“You Can’t Say You Can’t Play” & “Be Fair”
We believe that a diverse school community in which children learn to value and respect themselves and others enriches all our lives. Our task as early childhood educators is to encourage young children to embrace differences. Our goal is for children to feel proud of themselves and their heritage, challenge bias or unfairness when they encounter it, and feel at home in our diverse world. At the preschool level, we do this by creating classroom environments that reflect the families in the group as well as in the greater community. In planning the curriculum and creating the classroom environment, teachers select materials to expose children to a variety of races, cultures, abilities, family structures, ages, and beliefs. We invite families to share their customs, holidays, and celebrations with us. Our approach to holidays is to connect them to the children’s daily lives, to learn about one another from one another, and to approach them in a developmentally appropriate way. For all of these reasons, we have adopted two basic all-school rules at Cherry Preschool. “You can’t say you can’t play” (from the book of the same name by Vivian Paley) helps all children to feel included, safe, and protected. “Be fair” helps all children to stand up for themselves and others to challenge bias and unfairness.
An important part of Cherry Preschool’s community outreach effort is to make the preschool accessible to all families regardless of their ability to pay and to reach out to populations within our community that will increase the diversity of the preschool. As part of this outreach, we offer a Latino Parent/Child class, taught in Spanish, for children whose home language is Spanish. While all other classes are taught in English, we make every effort to support families and children whose home language is not English. Our dream would be to have Cherry reflect the same kind of diversity that exists in greater Evanston, and we invite our families to help us by referring families who would enrich our preschool by making our community even more diverse.
block play • children’s literature • circle time • creative expression • dramatic play • experiential art • exploration of topics of interest to children • fine motor activities • indoor climbing equipment • large group activities • manipulative toys • music & singing • outdoor play (at Penny Park for older children) • painting and playdough • parent education • pre-literacy and pre-math activities • private playground (for younger children) • science exploration • socialization skills • and more!