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Preschool and Kindergarten

Helping children become not only lifelong learners but good people and global citizens.

Class Sessions

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Welcome to

High-Quality Holistic Education that is fun and developmentally appropriate, while focusing on the` development of The Whole Child in Albany Park, Chicago, Illinois.

What makes The Play lab

Unique From Other Schools?

Small Class Size for more personal attention and multi-age class for individualized learning.

Highly credentialed and Award Winning Staff and Handwriting Without Tears ™

Illinois Whole Child School Winner, Holistic and Progressive Education

Conscious Discipline™, Calm Classroom ™

The Science of Reading and Writing Guide literacy practices.

All Inclusive Enrichments including Fun Fitness & Dance, Music & Movement.

Meet the Master Teacher and Founder - Melinda Martinez

I’m so grateful to have worked with children and families for over 38 years! Over 16 of those years professionally as a State Certified Teacher specializing in ages Birth- 3rd Grade. My Teaching and Volunteer Experience spans from Non-Profit, to Centers, Private, Public, and Parochial Schools. Working with children and families is truly my life’s Passion! My degrees are in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, and Psychology: Human Growth and Development with Graduate Work in Early Childhood Administration and pursuing my PhD in the Fall. I have an Illinois Gateways ECE Level V Credential and Illinois Director’s
Credential and currently completing my Family Childcare Credential.

I am an Internationally Accredited Mindfulness for Children Practitioner, Certified in First Aid & CPR, and have completed several Business Cohorts with The Women’s Business Development Center. Currently, I’m being certified in Breathe for Change 200+Hour Wellness, SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and Yoga Teacher Training. I won The Whole Child School Award from the Illinois ASCD for my work here at The Play Lab. I was 1 of 5 winners in the entire state of Illinois and the only winner from Chicago this year. Best practices in Early Childhood Education and Business are of the highest importance to me, so I am mentored and membered with the Top Leaders in the Industry. I’m Married to a loving husband, have 1 amazing Son, and I also helped raise four other awesome young men. Aside from my passion for Education and Child Development, I love to read, travel, the arts, my community work and activism, and spending time with my loved ones.

Our Story

I founded The Play Lab because I have a passion for progressive early childhood education, but I was very disheartened with our educational system. I witnessed overpopulated classrooms, unappreciated teachers, schools that had become more and more laser focused on academics and with preparing students for incessant testing. They kept inundating these young minds and our educators with never ending piles of paperwork, traditional and rote learning that didn’t empower the multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles. All without taking the time out to nurture and establish relationships with the children and their families or their teachers. My own personal experience as a child and witnessing this lit a spark within that grew to a powerful flame. One that fueled my inspiration and led me to my Vision for The Play Lab.

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