The Gardner School of Oak Brook is located at 17 W 642 E. Butterfield Road off of the I-88 Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway near Midwest Road.
Our Oak brook preschool campus offers year-round full and part-time childcare with early childhood education programs for children six weeks old through private Kindergarten. In addition, we also provide a full suite of enrichment classes and our summer camp, Camp Gardner. All of our lead teachers have four-year degrees in early childhood education, elementary education or a closely related field. The stimulating, creative and educationally engineered school has been designed to meet the needs of our most important client... the children. Attention to detail both inside and outside the classroom is what makes The Gardner School a very special place for young children.
How long have you been with TGS?
Since January 2013
Roles Served with TGS:
I started with The Gardner School in January of 2013 as the Assistant Director at our very first Illinois location, The Gardner School of Warrenville/Naperville. It was an honor to be part of this school’s original staff, grand opening, and beginning growth. In January of 2014, I was privileged to continue to help bring our mission to the Chicago area in opening The Gardner School of Oak Brook as the Executive School Director.
What is your educational background?
I received my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University. I moved to Chicago following graduation where I worked in the public schools while attending National Louis University to complete a subsequent certification in Early Childhood Education.
What made you decide to have a career in education?
I always knew I wanted a career in education, even as a child. I have come to value education as a truly priceless commodity - the most important investment we can make for ourselves and our children. My experience with young children in the field, along with becoming a mother, drove my passion toward early childhood.
What makes you laugh about kids?
As adults, we filter almost everything, but children, especially young children, have a way of saying whatever comes to mind. This trait causes them to be unintentional comics. The way they express themselves is always unique, priceless, and precious in a way that tickles the listener.
What do you love most about working with infants through the age of 5?
I love the growth we have an opportunity to witness. So many milestones are achieved in the early years, and it is an honor, a blessing, and a thrill to be part of them, encourage them, and witness them every single day.
What is your favorite part of the day at TGS?
My favorite part of the day is when the toddler classes walk past my office to go to our playground. They are always so distracted with smiling, waving, or holding a friend’s hand that they are never looking where they walk, a sweet little group of kittens bumbling down the hallway. They always make me smile.
What do you love most about TGS?
I love the sense of family and community we have at our school between the staff and the families. We really become enmeshed in each other’s lives in a way that makes it more than a client/provider relationship. We are able to find support in one another, rejoice in accomplishments, and share in priceless moments.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the students that we have in our school. They help us to remember that childhood is precious, unique, and beautiful. They keep the adults around them young, and help us to remember to take time for our own inner child.
What does the term ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you?
This phrase is a reminder of our role here at the school. We are here to help instill that initial love of learning in the formative years, laying the foundation for our children in their educational journeys.
How important is early childhood education?
Education during the first 5 years is extremely important. Children develop so quickly across so many domains during these years. We have such an important job here, because not only do we get to help our students feel loved and nurtured, but we can instill a love for learning at a young age, which will set the tone for their learning experiences to come.
Do you have children who go to TGS or have gone to TGS?
I have two boys who started at TGS as toddlers. It’s been such a blessing for me to see them grow and learn in our school, form relationships with their teachers, and make meaningful friendships. I can’t believe how quickly they have grown, and I am so proud of the bright and caring little young men they have become.
What would you tell new parents who are apprehensive about leaving their infant in the care of someone else for the first time?
It’s very difficult to leave an infant with a new caregiver for the first time; he/she is part of you, occupies your heart, and will be the truest love of your life. We are here to partner with the parents and above all, make sure that infant spends his/her day with us feeling loved.