Premier Progressive Home Preschool and Kindergarten

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

Call us at 773-803-6160 for Enrollment Queries

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 Sizes At most 8:1 or 12:2 Student to Teacher Ratios

Multi-age Classrooms with a myriad of benefits for peer learning and teaching

Holistic and Progressive Education

Teaching Service, Charity, Social Justice, Citizenship, Finance, and Entrepreneurship

All enrichment classes are included in tuition including JiggAerobics TM, Yoga, S.T.E.A.M., Spanish Corner, and Mindfulness

Inquiry-based, Multisensory, and experiential learning for Multiple Intelligences and developing critical thinking, collaboration, community, and problem-solving

Fun Fitness, Music, and Dance

Handwriting Without Tears TM

Conscious Discipline TM and Social-Emotional Learning

The Science of Reading and Writing Guide literacy practices.

Engaging in-depth Topic Studies and following children's interests

Meet the Master Teacher and Founder - Melinda Martinez

I’m so grateful and blessed to have worked with children and families for over 38 years! Over 16 of those years have been professionally as a State Certified Teacher specializing in ages Birth- 3rd Grade. My Teaching Experience spans from Non-Profit, to Centers, to Private, and Parochial Schools. Since I was a very young girl I babysat, been a Nanny, worked in home daycare, The Boys and Girls Club, volunteered, done community work, activism, summer camps, Vacation Bible Camp, and Sunday School. Working with children 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. I have an Illinois Gateways ECE Level V Credential, Certified in First Aid & CPR, and have completed several Business Cohorts with The Women’s Business Development Center. Currently, I’m being certified in 2 programs: Teaching Mindfulness for Children and Breathe for Change 200+Hour Wellness, SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and Yoga Teacher Training. I won The Whole Child School Award for my work here at The Play Lab developing the Whole Child from the Illinois ASCD. I was 1 of 5 winners in the entire state of Illinois and the only winner from Chicago 2021-2022.
Some of my Memberships include NAEYC, NAFCC, FEA, IL ACSD, Teacher Trailblazers, Childcare Success Launch Track Founding Member, Childcare Millionaires Accelerator, Preschool All-Stars, Mexican Fine Arts Museum, Northside Parent Network, Illinois Gateways for Opportunity, Dow Janes, Botanical Gardens for Educators, Chicago Children’s Museum, Albany Park Chamber of Commerce, and still growing, evolving, and networking for the best and mutually beneficial community relationships, supports, and professional development opportunities. I am also Founder of a Non-Profit Organization called Chicago Underground which organizes community events throughout various parts of Chicago including Homeless Drives, Back to School Events and give aways, Holiday Toys and Gift Drives, and Non-Perishable Food Drives to name a few of our annual events.
I’m Married to a wonderful and supportive husband, have 1 amazing and talented Son, and I also helped raise four other awesome young men. Aside from my passion for Early Childhood Education and Child Development, I also love to read and constantly learn. I enjoy the arts and continuing my community work and spending free time with my loved ones traveling.

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.

What parents say about us

Stimulating environment for children