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What is the Formula for Future School Success?

Welcome to Smart Love Preschool

Smart Love Preschool is a fully-licensed not-for-profit early childhood education program for children ages 2 to 6-years-old. We offer a project-based play curriculum, focused on creating a positive relationship with learning in a nurturing environment.


At Smart Love, we aim to foster an optimistic outlook on school as the portal for children's academic growth and success by nurturing their social and emotional development . All learning—from finding joy in learning new things to how to get along with others —flows from the well-being of the child. Widely considered by child development experts around the world as key to success in school, social and emotional development translates into having:


Confidence: A willingness to ask for help when needed but not because of feeling incompetent     

Curiosity: A long-lasting desire to learn that doesn’t depend solely on subject matter      

Love of Learning: An ability to enjoy the process of learning and not just the grade

Resiliency: A capacity to stick to the learning goal despite difficulty level, setbacks and confusion

Focus: An ability to study despite feeling tired or being distracted


Our students move on to elementary school with a desire to learn, a sense of confidence in the classroom and a resiliency that keeps them engaged in learning.

Smart Love Preschool offers financial aid for eligible families. Please contact us at 773.665.8052, ext. 1 or to learn more.

"It is not when children learn to read or add or subtract that matters, it is whether they love these activities and want to do more of them. If this goal is met, your child will enter elementary school with optimism and self-confidence."

-Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D., Author of Smart Love

Preschool News & Events

News & Events

Accepting Applications!


Schedule a private video chat with Kelly Perez to learn more about the Smart Love approach to early childhood education here or email us at

Smart Love Preschool Virtual Open House

Friday, Oct. 6,  2023

1:30 p.m.

Join us for a virtual open house where our Preschool Director will provide a slideshow showcasing images of our classrooms, curriculum as she discusses the Smart Love approach to early childhood education and answers your questions! Register here.

Open House Schedule: Fall schedule to come.

"What are the Advantages of Preschool for Your Child?"


Chicago Parent interviewed our Kelly Perez, Vice President Education Programs and Preschool Director, on how to ignite a love of learning and the many advantages of preschool. Read it here

Fun4theDisabled features Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream!

Fun for the Disabled is an organization that creates digital media and content highlighting opportunities for people with disabilities in the community. They recently posted Dr. Martha Heineman Pieper’s children’s book, Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! on their website for accessible reading. Watch it here.

NPN's Preschool Philosophies Panel

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NPN members can watch Smart Love therapist Dr. Bill Pasola along with other Chicago preschool administrators discuss preschool philosophies and get a deeper understanding of the various programs available - including Smart Love's! Click here to learn more.

"A Chicago Mom Shares Her Experience Finding the Right Preschool"


Chicago Parent interviewed Emily Lorentzen about her experience sending all of her children to Smart Love Preschool and how the approach helped them in kindergarten and beyond . Read it here

"Why Kids' Feelings Do Matter"


Chicago Parent interviewed our Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Carla Beatrici, to explore how understanding toddlers' feelings helps parents to respond in ways that can alleviate tantrums while also strengthening the parent-child relationship. Read it here

Smart Love Preschool's Garden Program Wins Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Award

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The Natalie G. Heineman Smart Love Preschool is pleased to announce the receipt of an Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Award from the Education Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This award and accompanying grant was made through the IDNR’s annual Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Award competitive application process – and the Smart Love was the only preschool in Chicago to receive the honor. The Garden is cared for by members of the Smart Love staff with the active assistance of the 3-5 year-olds Preschool students.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should my child start Preschool?

Read our blog article Starting Preschool - What's Best for Your Child? We provide insight on how to determine when children are comfortable or "ready" to begin preschool.

What are the differences between preschool approaches? And how does the Smart Love approach differ?

Read our blog article, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf... When it Comes to Preschool, What's the Difference?, to gain insight into the various approaches inside early childhood education programs.

What age do children start Preschool or Pre-K?

Our Playschool for 2s & 3s is designed to help children ages 2-3 with the transition into school in a gentle, fun, and non-pressured way. Playschool helps children feel confident and have fun at school even though their parents are not there with them - a big step toward independence and readiness for preschool.

Our Preschool program serves children ages 3-5 and is designed to promote young children's long-term academic success by strengthening their social-emotional well-being while also sparking an enthusiasm for learning.

How do I sign up for Preschool?

The first step is to register for one of our Monthly Virtual Open Houses or schedule a Private Virtual Chat with our Preschool Director. If you decide that Smart Love is the right choice for your child, please visit our admission page where it details our application process. 

When do I sign up for Preschool?

Smart Love Preschool offers open enrollment throughout the school year.

Does my child need to be potty trained?

No. Smart Love Preschool does not require children to be potty trained in any of our programs. Read more here.

Do you offer any a gentle separation policy?

Yes. We promote and encourage parents to stay on the premises until their child feels comfortable separating, so that both parent and child feel secure while apart. Read more here.

What is your COVID-19 policy?

At Smart Love Preschool the health and safety of our staff and the children and families we serve are our highest priority. Our Health & Safety Guide is vital to providing our preschool programs at Smart Love onsite.  We do so with a dual focus of keeping our community safe and providing the most growth promoting Smart Love early childhood education. Click here for our full list of cCOVID-19 protocols.

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