Our Mission

Our mission at A Mother’s Touch is to provide a safe and loving place where children can learn and grow at their own pace. By providing children with opportunities to explore, experiment, and have meaningful social interactions, we foster independence which leads to higher self esteem and self knowledge. Through this awareness of self and community, we strive to promote peace and kindness towards others.

Our Educational Philosophy

We believe each child is unique, so we commit to finding and building each child’s competencies and helping each child reach ambitious and feasible goals. We commit to developmentally appropriate practice, formally and informally observing progress towards developmentally appropriate milestones using the following tools:

We believe teacher knowledge and decision making driving educational outcomes, so we entrust skillful teachers with the care of your child. On average, our teachers possess five and a half years of experience with A Mother’s Touch, and all are deeply vested in our mission.

We believe children succeed by building character, so we make character our priority! Our teachers create authentic experiences to reveal, build, teach, and learn from our children and families about character. We strive to help raise children who are kind and committed to creating greater good in our communities. Our preschool and kindergarten programs use the Second Step Early Learning and Kindergarten curriculums to explicitly teach executive function skills, which research has proven to be the foundation for self-regulation and social-emotional competence.

We believe children learn through play and social experience, so we commit to providing children with uninterrupted time to play deeply and imaginatively in the areas of their choice. We ensure all curriculum choices align with this belief, directly and imaginatively engaging our children through play.

We believe a child’s education begins in infancy, so we create a cohesive curriculum from infancy to kindergarten to support age-appropriate development and respond to your child’s needs over time. Our preschool and kindergarten programs prioritize:

  • reading and writing, including but not limited to explicit support in phonics
  • math
  • science
  • social studies
  • enrichment, including Spanish with Language Stars and specialty movement courses

Quality of Care Standards

Licensing and Accreditation

A Mother’s Touch is licensed by the State of Illinois. At A Mother’s Touch Arlington Heights and A Mother’s Touch Des Plaines, we have achieved the Silver Circle of Quality accreditation through ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s new quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development programs. ExceleRate Illinois recognizes a program’s commitment to quality beyond basic statement licensing requirements, focusing on four areas:

  • 1.Teaching and Learning
  • 2.Family and Community Engagement
  • 3.Leadership and Management
  • 4.Qualifications and Continuing Education

The Silver Circle of Quality programs meet or exceed quality benchmarks on learning environment and instructional quality, along with program administrative standards, staff qualifications, and professional development.

A Mother’s Touch Arlington Heights is accredited by NECPA, the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. As articulated by NECPA, the organization assesses

quality in the areas of adult and child interaction, staff framing, health and safety; physical environment, administration, and parent and community relationships. A strong emphasis has been placed on current developments in health and safety, brain research and risk management.” Learn more about NECPA

Safe and Loving Environment

Because we welcome you into our family, we are committed to creating a safe and loving environment for your child. Our program features a state of the art safety system, including cameras, an on call nurse, and CPR and first aid certification requirements for all teachers. Evaluation of the quality of our learning environment is part of NECPA and Silver Circle accreditations.

Learning Standards

Our curriculum aligns with the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines and the Illinois Early Learning Standards for teaching children in infancy through preschool. Our curriculum aligns with Common Core State Standards for teaching children in kindergarten through age 12.

We understand that each child’s educational experiences begin in infancy, so we create a cohesive, vertically aligned curriculum from infancy to kindergarten in order to support and accelerate age-appropriate development.

Nutritional Standards

We know each child has different needs, and we are fortunate to partner with Food2You to provide healthy options for all. Fresh fruits and lightly steamed veggies are organic, locally sourced, and packed with nutrients. Our milk is organic. Breakfast and lunch are made from scratch in a nut-free facility. You won't find high fructose corn syrup in our breads. Our vegetarian options are delicious, and we offer an allergy-sensitive lunch menu that is free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, egg, fish, peanuts and tree nuts. All meals come with allergy & ingredient information. 

We are proud to provide meals with an extensive variety of flavors and nutritional benefits. 

Message from the Founder

Thank you for considering A Mother’s Touch for the care and education of your child. I began A Mother’s Touch in 1994 in order to fill an important need within our community. After the birth of my third daughter, I was looking for an early childhood center that was warm and nurturing, while providing rich educational experiences. When I was not satisfied with my options, I decided to start my own center.

I created A Mother’s Touch as a nurturing place where babies are rocked and cuddled, toddlers are free to explore, preschoolers paint, laugh, and make lasting friendships, and all children are respected, listened to, and valued.

Early childhood education is my passion, and your child is my priority. I invite you to join me on this wonderful journey of childhood.

Warmly Yours,
Laurie Gashkoff

Meet Our Executive Directors!

Rachael is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City and Relay Graduate School of Education. She has her master’s in education and is an alumnus of AmeriCorps’ Teach for America Program, through which she taught in East New York Brooklyn focusing on literacy growth and grit in partnership with families of the community. 

Upon her return to Chicago, Rachael joined Noble Network Charter Schools, where she continued to teach and served as a Dean of Instruction. There, students and teachers demonstrated the curiosity, initiative, resilience, and care for others that led to record levels of student growth and achievement. Notable to the results was an emphasis on core values that connected students and staff to each other as well as to their community. It takes a village to nurture a child’s potential.

Rachael is a strong advocate for quality education for all. She was a mentor in Harvard University’s Global Teacher’s Project and served on a collegiate board of Best Buddies International, an organization dedicated to providing equitable opportunities for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. Her experience spans developmental stages, beginning with instruction for nonverbal learners, and extending through instruction of high school students in college level courses. Through her experiences, she has come to understand that education begins with the creation of a nurturing environment at an early age and requires a true responsiveness to the individual children in your care.


Lexi graduated from the University of Michigan School of Nursing. She brings to A Mother's Touch eight years of experience as a pediatric intensive care nurse at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. At Lurie, Lexi served as charge nurse and the chair of the Education Counsel, planning and executing ongoing education for the 100+ nurses on staff. 

Most recently, she also served as Nurse Educator at Almost Home Kids, an innovative, community-based care system that provides a bridge from hospital to home for children with medical complexities. There she focused on educating staff, ensuring the highest quality and safety standards of care, and advocating for children and their families.  

Both Lexi and Rachael feel a profound respect for children and educators, which is the foundation of their commitment to A Mother’s Touch. As Executive Directors, they look forward to supporting our mission according to the values that built A Mother’s Touch and that are carried out in classrooms by teachers with great care every day.

Rachael may be reached at rachael@amotherstouch.us. Lexi may be reached at lexi@amotherstouch.us.