Growing Tree Preschool - Options to Fit Every Need!

Growing Tree Preschool offers many options to fit every need of your family all year long. View the full list of options below.

Want to learn more about our program? Schedule a tour today!

  • 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 Year Old Preschool

    Tu/Th; 9:30 - 11:30am

    Enroll here!

  • Half Day Preschool (3 - 5 years old)

    3 - 4 year old options: Tu/Th, M/W/F; 9:00 - 11:30 or 9:15 - 11:45am
                                             M - F; 9:15 - 11:45am
    Enroll here!

    4 - 5 year old options: M/W/F; 9:00 - 11:30am, 9:15am - 11:45am, or 12:45 - 3:00pm
                                            M-F; 9:15 - 11:45am
    Enroll here!

  • Full Day Preschool (4-5 years old)

    M-F; 9:00am-3:00pm

    Enroll here!

  • Extended Day Preschool (4 years old)

    Tu/Th or M/W/F; 9:00am - 1:00pm

    Enroll here!

  • Preschool CARE (3-4 years old)

    Preschool CARE is available for students enrolled in Growing Tree Preschool.

    Register for Preschool CARE

Classes are available at both Hunt Club Park and Viking Park Community Centers. Extended Day Preschool is exclusively available at Viking Park Community Center and Full Day Preschool is available at Hunt Club Park Community Center.

Curriculum at Growing Tree Preschool

Growing Tree Preschool encompasses all of the State of Illinois Early Learning areas: social/ emotional development, language arts, math, science, social science, fine arts, foreign language, physical development and health in a kindergarten-readiness curriculum. Our goal is to create a warm and nurturing environment that helps children progress to their fullest potential and encourages a love for learning.

Frequently Asked Questions   

Have questions about our curriculum, program, or requirements? Click below to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Meet the Preschool Staff

GPD2016 ASchneider ColorSue McDougle is the Growing Tree Preschool Manager and also oversees Summer Day Camp, Before/After School CARE, Early Childhood enrichment classes and the Hunt Club Park Community Center. Sue earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Valparaiso University and is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional. She began her career at Gurnee Park District in 2000, bringing a wealth of teaching and administrative experience and has directly supervised the preschool program since 2003. She is passionate about children in general, preschoolers in particular, and is grateful to have been a part of the early education of so many children in the community.  Sue loves meeting the children in the fall and watching them learn and grow throughout the school year. She is humbled that parents trust her with the early childhood education and care of their child. A highlight of Sue’s time with Growing Tree Preschool is that her former students and their families remain in contact and that many students come to work at the Park District when they are in high school and college. She is honored to work with each of the Growing Tree teachers who are a talented and dedicated team that strives to cultivate a love of learning in their students. Sue resides in Gurnee, has two daughters and a Lab, is an avid cook, gardener and loves all things in nature.

GPD2016 ASchneider ColorAimee Schneider taught at Gurnee Park District for twelve years before becoming the preschool coordinator in 2019. She has an associate's degree in early childhood education. Her favorite part of her position is watching how much children love to learn new things and how proud they are of their accomplishments. She is passionate about making preschool a positive experience for children and parents.

GPD2021 Preschool Teachers SAkbariThis is Saba Akbari's 22nd year teaching preschool at Gurnee Park District. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and five years of experience teaching kindergarten. Saba is a long time resident of Gurnee and her children attended preschool at Gurnee Park District as well. Saba loves teaching preschool age children! 

GPD2016 SWachter ColorThis is Laurie Anderson’s first year teaching with Growing Tree Preschool at Gurnee Park District. She holds a master’s degree in education. Laurie brings ten years of experience teaching preschool and six years in elementary schools. She and her husband, along with their 4 children, have lived in the Gurnee area for 20 years. Laurie’s goal is to have every student’s first school experience be the beginning of a lifelong love of school!

GPD2018 Preschool Teacher JBeinlichJackie Beinlich has a Bachelor’s Degree and is in her 23rd year teaching at Gurnee Park District. As a teacher, she feels it is most inspiring to see the excitement of the children learning and achieving new things. Her goal for each child is to learn something new every day, and to work with parents to encourage a love for learning!

GPD2021 Preschool Teachers LFrederkingLori Frederking is in her 24th year of teaching preschool at Gurnee Park District. She attended College of Lake County and has taught at Gurnee Park District early childhood summer camps and summer preschool for many years. Lori loves helping and watching the children explore and learn new things, as well as the excitement on their faces when they accomplish something new. Lori strives to give children a warm, nuturing, safe, and encouraging place to learn so that the love of learning will stay with them for a long time. 

Sharyl Friedlander webThis is Sharyl Friedlander's fourth year teaching at Gurnee Park District. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degrees and has many years of teaching experience in the Lake Forest School District as well as Woodland School District. Sharyl looks forward to sharing her passion for performing arts and to create a dynamic learning environment for her students.

GPD2021 Preschool Teachers MGouldThis is Megan Gould's 6th year teaching at Gurnee Park District. Megan brings previous preschool teaching experience, prior to raising her children. She has lived in Gurnee for almost 20 years and her youngest children attended preschool at Gurnee Park District. Megan loves seeing the light in children's eyes as they learn and grow!

GPD2016 BHagan ColorThis is Beth Hagan’s ninth year teaching in a specific classroom at Growing Tree Preschool. She holds a bachelor's and master’s degree, and has been home with her children in recent years.  Beth looks forward to seeing the children as they grow throughout the year, and how they progress in their social and educational knowledge and skills. She loves seeing children’s interactions with books and their interest in the stories being told. Beth still reads to her children who once attended Growing Tree Preschool.

GPD2016 SWachter ColorThis is Jaime Hamu’s first year teaching with the Growing Tree Preschool at the Gurnee Park District. She brings 22 years of child care experience to the Growing Tree Preschool and a passion for teaching young children. Jaime loves how young children love unconditionally and are full of excitement and eager to learn. She creates a classroom setting full of warmth and nurturing as well as a great learning environment for the children. Jaime looks forward to getting to know the children and their families and watching the children learn and grow.

GPD2021 Preschool Teachers JMendellThis is Joni Mendell's second year of teaching at Growing Tree Preschool and the CARE program. Joni brings with her nine years of preschool and child development experience. Teaching is Joni's true passion in life and she experiences a great sense of purpose when helping children learn. Nothing makes Joni smile or laugh as much as her students do each day! Joni has lived in Gurnee for most of her life, and attended school in the local districts.

GPD2016 SMurphy ColorSheila Murphy begins her 14th year as a Growing Tree Preschool teacher and holds a bachelor’s degree. She has been a resident of Gurnee for almost 20 years. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is watching the children grow socially and emotionally and guiding them to become confident and independent.

GPD2016 RPfenning ColorThis will be Robin Pfenning’s 19th year teaching at Growing Tree Preschool/Gurnee Park District. Robin has 11 years of child care experience, and an Associates Degree. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is interacting with the children.  She loves their honesty and their interesting thoughts and ideas. Robin is most passionate about promoting confidence and developing social skills in the children. Most begin preschool apprehensive about leaving their parents and making new friends and progress to where they are totally comfortable and ready socially and academically to enter the next phase of their education.

GPD2016 LPrims ColorLisa Prims has taught preschool at Gurnee Park District for 11 years and holds a bachelor and master’s degree. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is being given the opportunity to watch each child grow socially and academically as the year progresses.  She enjoys working closely as a team to make each year fun and successful for each student. She is passionate about early childhood education because she is setting the foundation for future learning.

GPD2016 SWachter ColorThis is Jessica Roberts' first year teaching with Growing Tree Preschool at Gurnee Park District. She holds a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies with an Emphasis in Elementary Education. Jessica has many years of experience working in various fields including Education, Athletics, Customer Service and E-commerce. She is passionate about enriching the lives of young people, and her hope is to give them the tools they need to be confident, happy individuals who learn and grow each day. She resides in Gurnee with her two children.

GPD2016 MASchriefer ColorMary Ann Schriefer: This is Mary Ann's 22nd year teaching at Gurnee Park District. She teaches 3 and 4 year old classes as well as Early Childhood classes. She attended Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Mary Ann loves to see the children learn self-help and social skills and to see the joy on the children’s faces as they learn a new skill or concept. She is passionate about creating a playful environment where children learn to love school.

GPD2016 SWachter ColorStacy Wachter has been a Growing Tree Preschool teacher for 14 years. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is getting to know all of the children and their families, and learning how to serve their individual needs. Stacy is passionate about helping children see and learn about the world around them, helping them gain self-esteem and celebrating little victories along the way. Stacy attended the College of Lake County.