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


Preschool Basics


Also known as "pre-kindergarten" or "PK," preschool in District 401 is open to children who will be at least 3 years old 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.

Although children must be 3 years old to start, they do not need to be potty trained.

All of our preschool classes are held at John Mills Elementary: 

  • All classes are half day.
  • Classes are held five days per week for two-and-a-half hours each day.
  • Morning students attend class from 8:15 to 10:50 a.m.
  • Afternoon students attend class from 12:10 to 2:45 p.m.
  • We follow the District school calendar for holidays, conferences and early release days.
  • We also follow the District attendance policy.

Our preschool faculty consists of four teachers and four paraprofessionals. We also provide student support as needed in speech therapy, occupational therapy, social work, behavior analysis, physical therapy and hearing/vision.


Preschool Programs


We offer three main programs for preschool students:

  • Preschool for All
  • Spanish Bilingual Preschool
  • Tuition-Based Preschool

Preschool for All provides 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. To learn more, scroll down or use this link:

Spanish Bilingual Preschool is for non-native English speakers who meet specific criteria. These students are given the opportunity to learn Spanish and English through a research-based curriculum that provides a foundation for their learning experience. To learn more, scroll down or use this link:

Tuition-Based Preschool is for all other students. The fee for preschool in 2021-22 is $3,000. The fee for preschool special ed is $50. Preschool tuition cannot be waived, but the amount can be paid in 10 monthly installments of $300, due on the first of each month. For more information on how to pay school fees, visit our School Fees page.


Preschool Family Night Presentations for 2021-22


In April 2021, District 401 held an information night for parents and guardians of children who will be new or returning preschool students in 2021-22.

Presentations from that evening are available in English and Spanish at the following links:


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:

In addition, Ms. Kelli Girka is student services secretary, and she can be reached with questions at girkak@epcusd401.org or 708-583-5850.


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.


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


As mentioned above, 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.