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Gertrude B. Nielsen Child Care & Learning Center

3835 Willow Road
Northbrook, IL 60062

(847) 564-3004


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Philosophy & Approach

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"The Nielsen Center program delivers quality care guided by the latest principles in early childhood education and an in-depth understanding of the whole child. Our teachers love what they do and it shows. Professionals who are passionate about education, our teachers understand the unique learning needs of infants through kindergarten-aged children. Their approach to early childhood education revolves around helping children learn through hands on discovery. Children learn best when they are allowed to follow their own curiosity. Experiential learning is at the core of every age group’s curriculum, encouraging a love of learning while fostering self-esteem.
“I’m so impressed with the care and education my daughter received at Gertrude B. Nielsen Child Care and Learning Center. Caitlin’s kindergarten teacher says that she has rarely seen a child better prepared to learn. My son Justin will enter GBN’s infant program soon. I cannot imagine a better start.”
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

7-8:30 AM Children Arriving
Individual choice of free play and socialization. The staff will “open” areas of the room and set up activities. A variety
of small muscle and manipulative equipment is changed daily during this period. Play experiences are encouraged
and promoted as a foundation for personal growth. The teachers and children use this time to adjust and prepare
for the day in a home-like atmosphere.
8-9:00 AM Breakfast
The time will depend on the class. Everyone will not necessarily eat at the same time. This is a relaxed, flexible
meal. A hot breakfast is served three times per week, and cereal is offered on the remaining two days.
9-9:30 AM Transition
During this time, the children will clean up and prepare to go outside.
9:30-10:30 AM Gross Motor Activities
Large muscle activities are encouraged either on the playground or in the mini-gym. A combination of group and
individual activities are presented with emphasis on the child’s needs. With the exception of rainfall, heavy snow, or
inclement weather, the children will be outside.
10:30-11:45 AM Group Time & Curricular Activities
Concept discussion and activities pertaining to weekly curricular topic, group time, language development, songs,
stories, fingerplays, show and tell, games, and music. The teacher presents the daily program plan; children choose
from various available activities. Pre-academic readiness is emphasized through a multitude of media focused on
sensory development. The child’s maximum potential growth is the goal as the child learns and explores in a creative
setting. During this time, music is incorporated into the activities.
11:45-12 PM Clean Up, Wash and Group Time
Children develop self-help skills and help others to prepare for lunch. They join in a group to settle for lunch through
participation in stories or songs, and share with the others in the group.
12-12:40 PM Lunch
Teachers and children socialize and share during meal time. Proper manners and clean up are encouraged.
12:40-1 PM Book Time/Music Listening and Preparation for Nap
The lights are turned down, and story and music tapes are played. Children use the bathroom, and select nap books.
1-2:30/3:00 PM Rest Time
Each child has his/her own cot and sleeping place. A favorite blanket or cuddly item to sleep with is encouraged.
2:30/3-3:30 PM Wake Up Time
Children help dress themselves and put away their sleeping things.
3-3:45 PM Snack Time
This is not a group activity. The children are offered a snack and milk/water as they awaken.
3-4:00 PM Small Group Play
The staff prepares the room with activities. The children may choose what interests them. This is a flexible time segment
that is structured to the needs of the individual child.
4-5:00 PM Large Motor Activities
The children are taken outside or to the mini-gym depending on the weather.
5-5:30 PM Group Time and Late Snack
5:15 PM Preparation to End the School Day and Return Home
The children may choose what interests them from selected activities, or assist in preparing the classroom for the end
of the day."
Excerpted from the preschool's website

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school