2024-2025 ParkSchool Registration begins Now!
  • Exposure to Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STREAM)
  • Gain an appreciation for the natural world
  • Development of sensory, cognitive, and motor skills
  • Opportunity to cultivate meaningful friendships and peer collaboration
  • Attain independence through critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Build confidence through the exploration of self-expression and creativity

ParkSchool prepares your child for the next important step:  Ready… Set… Kindergarten!!


ParkSchool is a fresh new concept in early childhood education that combines modern education methods with the expertise in recreation and access to the natural world that only the Park District can provide. Our educational staff and recreational professionals deliver a new level of  STREAM (science, technology, recreation, engineering, art, and math) for young learners, with the goal of preparing them for success in kindergarten.

ParkSchool offers streamlined options that fit your busy schedule.  At West Ridge, you can choose from morning or afternoon, one to five sessions per week.

The sounds of giggles and the buzz of activity fill every nook and cranny at ParkSchool. Youngsters are engaged in technology, science, art, and math lessons, all while keeping safety top of mind.

See What Our ParkSchool Parents Have to Say



How do I  know which class to choose for my child?
Choose the program based on your child’s age as of 9/1/2023 for new 2024-2025 school year sign ups:

  • 2 years (Sprouts)
  • 3 years (Saplings)
  • 4 years (Mighty Oaks)

Can I choose the time of day for my child?

  • Choose the time of day your family needs! Choose mornings or afternoons for West Ridge Programs.
  • 3 and 4-year-olds can choose a morning or an afternoon.

Enhanced Health and Safety Procedures:

Education Team

Our teachers have dedicated a combined 100 years to the growth and development of children in the Highland Park community. They are uniquely qualified to create an ideal classroom environment; while giving you the comfort of knowing professionals are caring for and nurturing your child’s special qualities.

Samia Bokhari

After earning a degree in Business, Samia joined the ParkSchool team and has brought unique perspectives and experiences. As a Teacher’s Aide, she works closely with children ages 1- 5 yrs old and brings laughter and enjoyment to our classrooms. Her nurturing personality and desire to make positive changes in childhood education stems from her involvement in local PTOs and holding school board positions.

Lori Cohen

Lori has a Bachelors of Science degree in Art Education and is the lead Art Specialist for ParkSchool. Her creative nature and science based art programs have been engaging children for over 30 years. She focuses on PreK-8th grade and most recently has become an integral part of our summer camp art programs. Lori continues to develop successful curricula to compliment ParkSchool’s STREAM educational approach. Much of her inspiration comes from her love of hiking and being outdoors.

Roz Kallish

Roz has a masters degree in education from National-Louis University and over 15 years of teaching experience. She worked teaching head-start and elementary school in the city and special education at Red Oak School, before she had her own 2 children. She is a resident of Highland Park and loves being a part of ParkSchool. 

Jaime Kant

Jaime received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. She always knew she wanted to do something with the arts and children. She helped at the Lincoln Park Hospital alongside an art therapist and realized those passions could collide. Since then, Jaime has had kids of her own in the district who enjoyed the enrichment programs that the Park District of Highland Park had to offer. She is happy she is at a place now where she can give back to the community in the same place where her kids grew and learned so much. Jaime started as an aid this past fall 2022 and is amazed how fulfilling and joyful each of her days are while working with the Sprouts, Saplings, and Mighty Oaks.  Jaime looks forward to growing with the park school community!

Belle Kolman

Belle’s education background is in Early Childhood Development and she has been in the field for over 25 years. Most of these years have been at the Park District of Highland Park with a focused experience on ages 1-10 yrs old. Belle continues to successfully develop and implement engaging programs that are well known throughout the Highland Park community. Her long tenure with the Park District of Highland Park is representative of her commitment to enrich ParkSchool programs and the lives of children and families through high quality early education. Belle is excited to manage the Saplings (3 year old) program for ParkSchool.

Stephanie Milnarik

After 25 years in Sales, Stephanie decided to pivot careers to one more aligned with her passion for nurturing and working with young children. Stephanie joined our ParkSchool team as a Teacher’s Aide in the Fall of 2021 and has been a wonderful addition to our exceptional staff.  Stephanie loves to be hands-on with the children and you will often find her on the floor, engaging in, and guiding, play-based learning. Stephanie has brought many innovative and creative ideas to the ParkSchool team and continues to work hard to provide a safe and positive environment for all children. 

Ginny Schwalbach

Ginny began her journey with the Park District of Highland Park in 1985 after earning a degree in Child Psychology. She has been in the field of early childhood education and enrichment for over 34 years. Ginny has developed revolutionary programs which have become main stays in the Highland Park community for early childhood enrichment. Her strengths lie in her ability to captivate, engage, and provide a unique learning environment for children. She continues to update her programs to meet contemporary standards of early childhood education while collaborating with parents on an individual’s interests and needs. Ginny is excited to oversee the West Ridge Center’s Mighty Oaks (4 year old) program at ParkSchool.

Natalie Thompson

Natalie has spent 12 years as the head of stage crew for a children’s theater program grades 3rd-5th. She currently leads our programs for ages 1-3 yrs old for the Park District of Highland Park. She has been instrumental in helping the smallest members of our community make that important transition to a classroom setting. Her passions lie in creating new and exciting art projects as well as incorporating the latest trends in early childhood enrichment. Her patience, nurturing, calm voice and inviting personality certainly resonate with the youngest of our children. Natalie looks forward to managing the Sprouts (2 year-old) program for ParkSchool.

Payment Options, Discounts & Scholarships

Enrichment opportunities should be accessible to everyone. With no added fees, our ParkSchool payment plan allows you to make equal installment payments over the course of several months. For your convenience, these payments are automatically deducted from the credit card used at the time of registration.

We also offer a Sibling Discount – save $50 off programs after registering your first child.

To inquire about scholarships through our SMILE program, please contact


If your child is attending ParkSchool at West Ridge in the morning, please pack a lunch for your child to eat in their classroom near the end of day.


Can I meet with someone and learn more about ParkSchool?

Yes! Please click on the “Schedule a ParkSchool Tour” button above and Amanda Geoffrion will reach out to schedule an in-person tour.

Does my child need to be potty-trained to participate in ParkSchool?

No!  We are prepared to assist your child in potty-training and diapering.

How many children are in each class?

A maximum of 12 children in Mighty Oaks and a maximum of 10 children in Saplings and Sprouts.

What if I change my mind? Can I get my money back?

You can cancel your registration if the request is submitted at least 10 days prior to the program start date; A $100 refund service fee will be assessed per ParkSchool program.

Refunds are not available less than 10 days prior to the program start date.

What if the program is not a good fit for my child after it starts? Can I get a refund?

Attend the first two classes and communicate your concerns to the instructor so we can make attempts to modify the program; if the program is still not the right fit, we will happily apply the Good Time Guarantee.

What is a typical day in the classroom like?

All age groups have childhood enrichment curriculums designed around the STREAM system; this stands for Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Throughout the session various topics and themes are reviewed using these elements

There is a focus on social/emotional growth and independence, motor skill progression, peer collaboration and kindergarten readiness

What is the student/teacher ratio?

6:1 Mighty Oaks, 5:1 Saplings and Sprouts