Smart Love Pre-School

 Established 2010 



The Smart Love approach is distinctive and at the forefront of early childhood education. Increasingly, this approach is being supported by child development  research and experts.

Research Supporting our Approach


Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom

Mokoto Rich, June 9, 2015

"And many veteran kindergarten teachers, as well as most academic researchers, say they have long known that children learn best when they are allowed ample time to go shopping at a pretend grocery store or figure out how to build bridges with wooden blocks. Even the Common Core standards state that play is a 'valuable activity.'"

The Building Blocks of a Good Pre-K

Shael Polakow-Suransky and Nancy Nager, Oct. 21, 2014

"Play has long-lasting benefits. What is referred to as self-regulation in preschool becomes resiliency in high school.'"

What Babies Know About Physics and Foreign Languages

Alison Gopnik, July 30, 2016

"Parents and policy makers have become obsessed with getting young children to learn more, faster. But the picture of early learning that drives them is exactly the opposite of the one that emerges from developmental science.'"

Let the Kids Learn Through Play

David Kohn, May 16, 2015

"The idea seems obvious: Starting sooner means learning more; the early bird catches the worm. But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement; in fact, it may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn."


A Nation at Hope

The Aspen Institute, 2019

"Across the nation, communities are redesigning schools to support how students learn best. These communities recognize from intuitive experience, backed by a solid body of scientific evidence, that learning happens best when social, emotional, and cognitive growth are connected. "

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues

Valerie Strauss, Sept. 1, 2015

"Research continues to point out that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences, yet many preschools are transitioning from play-based learning to becoming more academic in nature."

A Nobel Prize winner says public preschool programs should start at birth

Emma Brown, Dec. 12, 2016

"How to define and measure “quality” has been a matter of debate among early childhood educators. Heckman said the defining characteristic of a high-quality program, more than a certain staffing ratio or training regimen, is empathetic adults who engage meaningfully with their young charges, giving them personalized attention as they grow and develop."

The Perils of the Child Perfectionist

Jennifer Breheny Wallace, Aug 2018

"Research suggests that [when children are] being too hard on [themselves], it can actually inhibit high achievement, says Ms. Dobosz. Perfectionism causes stress and can over-activate the sympathetic nervous system, which makes it harder to think clearly."

The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children

Nov 2018

"Children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and manage toxic stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain."


The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

Erika Christakis, Jan/Feb 2016

"A major evaluation of Tennessee’s publicly funded preschool system, published in September, found that although children who had attended preschool initially exhibited more “school readiness” skills when they entered kindergarten than did their non-preschool-attending peers, by the time they were in first grade their attitudes toward school were deteriorating. And by second grade they performed worse on tests measuring literacy, language, and math skills."

All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed

Esther Entin, Oct. 12, 2011

"For more than fifty years, children's free play time has been continually declining, and it's keeping them from turning into confident adults."


What Kids Need From Grown-Ups (But Aren't Getting)

Cory Turner, Feb. 9, 2016

"It is the reality that science is confirming on a daily basis: that children are hardwired to learn in many settings and are really very capable, very strong, very intelligent on the one hand. On the other hand, the paradox is that many young children are doing poorly in our early education settings."

Behold The Humble Block! Tools Of The Trade

Eric Westervelt, March 3, 2015

"'Pratt observed that the real learning was occurring when they (kids) had unscheduled, free play time," says Winters. "Children still need those hands-on, tactile materials to make sense of the world.'"

Why Obedience Is NOT My Parenting Goal

Avital Schreiber Levy, Feb. 1, 2017

"Rather than focusing on getting my child to do as I say I believe I can focus on holding limits, where necessary, with empathy. I can focus on creating an atmosphere that communicates respect for both mine and my child’s preferences, concerns and needs."

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Katherine Reynolds Lewis, July/Aug., 2015

"Teachers who aim to control students’ behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others."

My young son should dream, not have testing nightmares

Susan Jouflas, Jan. 21, 2016

"Instead, they are turning what should be the joyful childhood years into miniature versions of the competitive, soulless slog too many of us have accepted as the wages of adulthood."

Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School

Alison Gopnik, Mar. 16, 2011 

"Two forthcoming studies in the journal Cognition—one from a lab at MIT and one from my lab at UC-Berkeley—suggest that the doubters are on to something. While learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected solution."

Natalie & Ben Heineman Smart Love Center

2222 N. Kedzie Blvd.

Chicago, IL 60647

Oak Park Location

1010 Lake Street, Suite 500

Oak Park, IL 60301

Preschool: 773.665.8052 ext. 1

Counseling: 773.665.8052 ext. 4

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