Employment at the Garden

Lead Preschool Teacher

Requisition Number:
Reports to:
Director Early Childhood programs, Preschool Director
Assistant teacher, volunteers, interns
Teach in a high quality, mission-based early childhood educational program. Implement developmentally appropriate lessons to children ages 3 to 5 in a nature-based preschool setting.
This is a 41-week position from August 22, 2022 to June 2, 2023 for the school calendar year.
Monday/Wednesday 11:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. regular teaching hours. Additional time for planning, prep, professional development, some family events, and non-class days as needed.

Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Teach with a qualified assistant teacher and/or volunteers
  • Supervise assistant teacher, volunteers and interns as needed
  • Manage the day-to-day activities including and not limited to: accurate records of attendance, emergency information, medical release information, current email list, communication about the activities to parents, assessment of children regularly via established method
  • Plan activities that are developmentally appropriate for your class
  • Carry out curriculum indoors and outdoors incorporating the natural world and seasonal changes
  • Prepare items to be used in the day-to-day curriculum/clean up materials at the end of class day with the assistant teacher
  • Monitor safety and do risk assessments
  • Prepare documentation for each child during the school year for conferencing with parents
  • Take photos and upload to the private class site for parents to view on a regular schedule as determined by the director. Add appropriate documentation including standards for the parents to better understand nature-based learning and how we meet state standards.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.



Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education or equivalent experience preferred.  Type 04 certification is preferred.  (Transcripts will be requested.)
  • Associates degree in Early Childhood Education or equivalent experience required.  At least three years of experience working with preschool age children required.
  • Background knowledge in nature based and/or play based education.  Experience in either is preferred.
  • A love of nature and teaching outdoors.  Experience in and knowledge of informal education, science, horticulture, environmental education is preferred.
  • Ability to communicate with parents professionally in person and via electronic means.
  • Ability to handle situations tactfully and with confidentiality.
  • Ability to work as part of an educational team.
  • Ability and enjoyment of working outdoors with children for several hours a day under all types of weather conditions.
  • CPR/First Aid required.  Willingness to attain after hire.
  • Newly hired staff must become members of Gateways to Opportunity Registry within 30 days of hire.
  • Newly employed staff shall submit a report of a physical examination completed no more than 6 months prior to employment that provides evidence that they are free of communicable disease, including active tuberculosis and physical and mental conditions that could affect their ability to preform assigned duties.  This examination shall include a test for tuberculosis by the Mantoux method. Newly employed staff will be subject to background checks, to submit to fingerprinting and to authorize the background checks required by 89 Ill. Adm. Code 385, Background Checks.

*The Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires after this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption after an offer is extended.*


Apply for Lead Nature Preschool Teacher using the link below:

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
Must be able to lift 40 pounds, enjoy working primarily outdoors in all weather, and be comfortable standing for long periods of time. Must be able to assume postures in low level positions that allow physical and visual contact with children, bend to preform numerous tasks, stoop, and sit on the floor. Must be able to sustain a high level of energy and have agility to perform all activities with children (jump, dance, walk, run) for extended periods of time. Work may include some evenings and/or weekends, as needed.
Why Apply?:

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.