Tuition-Based Preschool

The 2020-2021 TBPK class is full.

If you applied for the lottery, you will be receiving an email from Ms. Zairel about your child's status.

How do I apply for the 2021-2022 school year?

If you live in the Hamilton attendance area or have a child in grades K-7 at Hamilton, you may apply at the school between October 1, 2020 and 3:00 pm on October 9, 2020. There will be no deposit check collected at this time. However, you will be asked to provide a current utility bill as proof of address. If you are applying for more than one child (i.e twin siblings, or siblings where one child is three years old and another child is four year old) please make a note of this (“sibling”) on each child’s application.

We will conduct a lottery on October 12th at 3:00 pm to fill available spots in our program. You will be notified via email that your child has received a spot for the 2021-2022 school year. At this point, a deposit check will need to be turned in to secure the spot. 

If there are available spots after this lottery, we will accept applications between October 13, 2020 and October 23, 2020 for any family in Chicago.

We will then conduct a second lottery on October 26th to fill available spots/fill waitlist.

After October 27, 2020, families can continue to join our waitlist.

What program does Hamilton have?

We are a tuition based preschool program.  We are open from 7:30 to 5:30 during the school year, excluding holidays.

How much does it cost?

Tuition for 2020-2021  is $15,275.  This covers breakfast and an afternoon snack.  It also covers all enrichment activities and field trips. Our students have done fellowships with Emerald City Theater, Muntu Dance Theatre and Old Town School of Folk Music using tuition funds.  Parents are responsible for lunch.  They can bring it from home or they can have a free school lunch.  Children in our tuition based program are fortunate because they function as members of our school community and attend a “special” class each day.  Presently, we have visual arts, dance, music and physical education.

How many kids are in the class?

We have 20 children in our class.  Depending on the time of day we have 2-3 teachers in the room.  Our lead teacher has a degree in early childhood education and our assistant teachers have early childhood education credits.

What does the typical day look like?

Children arrive anywhere from 7:30-8:00.  We ask that all children are here from at least 8:00-1:30 as that is when the bulk of our day is.  1:30 is when we lay down for nap or quiet time, and at that time children will transition into quiet time so it is a nice transition point for children who will be leaving.  Not all children need a nap so those who are not sleeping work quietly in the room or leave the room with a teacher.  Between 7:30 and 1:30 children will participate in a variety of play-based activities, special classes, and outside time.

What “curriculum” do you use?

We are a play based program.  That means we do the majority of our teaching through play.  You will not see worksheets, coloring sheets, and whole group academic instruction taking place in our room.  If your family is looking for this we are not the program for you. Instead, you will see us engaging children in conversations, supporting their play with props and questioning, and assisting children in solving problems.  Because we are a fine arts school, we explore a variety of media to express ourselves each day.  Children paint, sculpt, compose, create collage, manipulate photos, build, act etc. each day.  We use these experiences to teach.  In addition to arts focused work, we also work hard with children on social/emotional skills.  We encourage children to solve problems independently, express themselves, and self regulate.  Again, we do all of this through play.  All preschools in Chicago Public Schools use the Creative Curriculum as a framework to document each child’s growth over their time in preschool.

Who can be in preschool?

Children must be older than 3 but not yet 5 as of September 1.  This applies to all preschools in the Chicago Public Schools.

What other preschool programs do you have in your school?

We do not have any other preschool programs.

Does admission into the TBPK room guarantee admission into Hamilton’s Kindergarten program?

No. All out of neighborhood students must apply in the CPS Options for Knowledge lottery. Placement in our TBPK gives students no advantage for Kindergarten entry.

Can I take a tour?

Yes! Please check the Hamilton School website ( for information on our next tour.  The school tours can spend time in the preschool classroom and you will have an opportunity to talk with our preschool teacher then.