About Harkness

Whether your child is an infant or getting ready for kindergarten, Harkness House offers quality, full-time care and educational opportunities at an age-appropriate level. We also offer part-time programs and flexible schedules for interested families.

Our small classrooms, caring staff, and low student/teacher ratios make Harkness House a warm, nurturintg, and enriching environment, with individualized feedback for parents and detailed information on children’s daily activities.

Your child will be paired with a primary teacher in their classroom, allowing caregivers and children to develop strong relationships and a solid foundation for learning.

We offer daily hot catered lunches, creative curriculums, outdoor activities, music and art projects, field trips for older children, and classes in Spanish, yoga, tumbling, swimming, and more. Learn more about our age-specific programs.

Patricia Ruffin, Director

Our Staff encourages parents to discuss how their child is doing every day, what their specific needs are, and how we can help maintain a consistent environment throughout the day. In fact, each child has a daily report that is sent home.

All staff are dedicated professionals, trained in infant and early childhood development. Every class has a teacher with a college degree in Early Childhood, or a related field. Our director has a Masters degree and more than fifteen years experience in teaching and child development. We maintain a low teacher-to-child ratio: Infant room – 1:3, Toddlers room – 1:4, Two – Three year old room 1:6, and the three and half to five year old rooms are 1:8

Our infant and toddler room utilizes a Primary Caregiver approach, so each child has a chance to build a strong attachment to a specific caregiver.

Harkness House for Children is supported by a community of families who are dedicated to exceptional childcare and educational enrichment.

Harkness offers fun family events during the year including movie nights, picnics, social events, and fundraisers, allowing parents to meet other families and develop connections within the community. Harkness also offers volunteer opportunities for parents looking for greater engagement with their children's education.

Our teachers and staff stay in close communication with families, providing parents with individual daily notes for every child, weekly lesson plans, and monthly newsletters.

Harkness House was founded in 1988.

We are a non-profit, independent day care and preschool center based in the Winnetka Community House, conveniently located near the Metra train station and downtown Winnetka. We believe that all families deserve a quality and affordable child care program based on exemplary practices and procedures, implemented by a well-trained, professional and caring staff.