Preschool


ENROLLMENT NEWS: District 401 is now enrolling students for 2021-22 preschool. Visit our Preschool Enrollment page for details about the registration process, including access to the LINQ online registration system. All classes are half day. The first day of school is Aug. 18, 2021.


Welcome to preschool! This is a special time when children are introduced to many new learning experiences, friendships and environments.

We are excited to have your child start their educational journey in District 401, where a full range of preschool programming is offered at John Mills Elementary School

Also known as "pre-kindergarten" or "PK," these programs are open to children who will be at least 3 years old during the school year and no more than 5 years old as of Sept. 1 during the school year in which they are attending. All students must be residents of Elmwood Park.

John Mills is the only District 401 school that offers PK instruction. All PK programs are half day. Both John Mills and Elmwood Elementary School offer full-day and half-day kindergarten.


Contact Information


District 401's Student Services Department oversees preschool instruction and programming.

Dr. Kari Smith is Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, and Ms. Pamela Stutzman is head of the preschool program. Mr. Frank Kuzniewski is principal of John Mills.

They can be reached via email at the following addresses:

► Dr. Kari Smith | smithk@epcusd401.org
► Ms. Pamela Stutzman | stutzmanp@epcusd401.org
► Mr. Frank Kuzniewski | kuzniewskif@epcusd401.org


Preschool for All Program


The goal of District 401's Preschool for All Program is to provide high quality preschool services for families in order to increase the percentage of students who enter kindergarten academically and social-emotionally prepared.

We seek to provide services to children ages 3-5 who are not yet age-eligible for kindergarten and who are at risk of academic failure due to a multitude of risk factors.

We seek to support the whole child, including providing resources to families within an inclusive, developmentally appropriate environment.

Through a comprehensive screening and quality review process that is based on data, we ensure that our program meets the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards, the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale and best practices within early childhood education. 

Students qualify for the Preschool for All Program based on data collected during the screenings.

The District 401 Preschool for All Program is offered five days per week and follows the District's calendar. We offer two sessions, either in the morning or afternoon. Each session lasts two hours and 40 minutes.


Spanish Bilingual Preschool Program


► Program Description in English


District 401 offers a Spanish Bilingual Preschool Program to students who qualify. Students who meet the criteria are given the opportunity to learn Spanish and English through a research-based curriculum that provides a foundation for their learning experience.

Research demonstrates the best predictors of academic success for non-native English speakers are fluency and literacy in their native language. Instruction in the Preschool Bilingual Program is 90 percent in Spanish and 10 percent in English.

This instruction strategy sets students up for success as they progress to our Dual Language One-Way Program offered starting in kindergarten. Students are provided the opportunity to become bilingual, bi-literate and culturally aware in Spanish.

Teachers are highly qualified and certified in ESL/bilingual education, early childhood education and early childhood special education.


► Program Description in Spanish


El Distrito 401 ofrece un programa de preescolar bilingüe en español a estudiantes que califican. Los estudiantes que cumplen con los criterios tienen la oportunidad de aprender español e inglés a través de un currículum basado en investigación que proporciona la base para su experiencia de aprendizaje.

La investigación demuestra que los mejores pronosticadores del éxito académico para los hablantes de inglés no nativos son la fluidez y la alfabetización en su idioma nativo. La instrucción en el programa preescolar bilingüe es 90% en español y 10% en inglés.

Esta estrategia de instrucción prepara a los estudiantes para el éxito a medida que progresan hacia nuestro programa lenguaje dual de una vía que se ofrece comenzando en kínder. Se les proporciona a los estudiantes la oportunidad de ser bilingüe, estar alfabetizado en dos idiomas y culturalmente consciente en español.

Los profesores están altamente cualificados y certificados en ESL/educación bilingüe, educación en la primera infancia y educación especial para la primera infancia.


Other Preschool Programming


We also offer a tuition-based preschool program. For additional information about this or other aspects of early childhood education in District 401, please contact Ms. Pamela Stutzman at 708-583-5852 or stutzmanp@epcusd401.org.