ParkTalk Podcast
ParkTalk Blog
  • 630-848-5000
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Participation Guidelines. More information regarding the District’s response can be found here

S16 Episode 01: The “Why” Behind our New Preschool Curriculum

Preschool teachers and program managers share their excitement about a new curriculum that helps kids learn and thrive.This episode is part of Series 16: Play with a Purpose.
For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit  

Pre-K students painting with straws as part of the Wind and Water unit
Quotes from the episode:
“As a preschool program we have always looked at best practice and we wanted to continue every year to strive to do better.” Sara Cass, Program Manager

“I think it goes right back to, ‘Do I know what to expect? Do I feel safe? And do you like me?’ And when you have those three components in place, learning can happen.” Sara Cass, Program Manager

“So what happens if I’m building this block tower and I want to do something else? We’ve taught them during the first three weeks to put a cone in place to save their work. We’ve taught the other kids, what does that mean, if the cone is there? That means you can’t play with that right now….And when they’re done, they will let you have them.”  Sherri Swanson, Program Coordinator

“Some children use the cone every day to save their work. And another thing we use is our problem solving puppets and those are key.”  Theresa Brady, Preschool Teacher

“We have a space in our classroom that’s a quiet space, when you just need a moment to calm yourself.” Sherri Swanson, Program Coordinator

“Sometimes morning is rough for kids coming to school and they have all these emotions. They can quickly go to the quiet center and open a book, and everybody knows that they need a moment and when they’re ready, they will rejoin the group.”  Mary Beth Boyle, Preschool Teacher

Naperville Park District Preschool Programs 
Naperville Park District offers two preschool programs for the academic year, September through May: NPD Preschool Academy and Toadstools and Pollywogs Preschool. Both programs emphasize play with a purpose where teachers create an environment that fosters curiosity and facilitates learning.  Through guided play, children develop kindergarten readiness skills.  NPD Preschool Academy meets at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, 305 W. Jackson Ave., and Toadstools and Pollywogs Preschool meets at Seager Park Interpretive Center, 1163 Plank Road and at Knoch Knolls Nature Center, 320 Knoch Knolls Road. Toadstools and Pollywogs takes advantage of nearby walking trails, open fields and wildlife to explore nature and to facilitate learning. For more information about these programs and other early childhood classes, camps and events, check the Program Guide. 

 Toadstools and Pollywogs Preschool students explore corns and beans outdoors at Seager Park

Connect your business’s brand with a well-known and respected one like
the Naperville
Park District’s and reach a large, active and diverse audience.

To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities
contact Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at
Please consider making a donation of any amount to our Fee Assistance Program.
Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2021 Naperville Park District