0 – 12 MONTHS
Naturally, the place where it all starts. The child is born and so are many questions. Rest assured, there is actually a lot to know but that knowledge is accessible through our group play session where parents observe, gain information and discuss issues with the facilitator and with each other. Note:There are no scheduled classes at this time.CLASS SIGN-UP
The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.
More learning takes place in the first two years than at any other time in a child’s life. The brain develops rapidly, and this growth is aided by the child’s physical experiences. Chicago Montessori’s Parent Infant class is designed to help parents gain a better understanding of their child as they learn to meet their true needs without sacrificing their own. With so much time devoted each day to the “maintenance” of the very young child—diapering, feeding, bathing, communicating—there is very little time to stop and appreciate children for the unique beings they are, and for the contributions they bring to the family.
The children in the Parent Infant class are truly an educational resource for the adults in their lives, as they explore the wonders of their ever-widening world. The Montessori approach provides a specially “prepared environment” for this exploration. Every object in the environment is chosen specifically for this age child. The children are free to explore and learn by experiencing the materials as well as the other children and adults in the class. Through parent discussions, parents will grow to know and appreciate their child more thoroughly from this fresh new perspective.
With their language and movement skills developing well, and their parents supporting their growing independence, young toddlers (15-18 months) are ready for the broader learning opportunities of the Toddler classroom.
18 – 36 MONTHS
The Toddler community welcomes children from 18 - 36 months for its three hour morning program, Monday through Friday. A Montessori trained 0-3 teacher works closely to help children who are working hard to build the adult they are to become.
The child's conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his "natural development." In other words, if we observe natural development with sufficient care, we see that it can be defined as the gaining of successive levels of independence.
Fostering Independence - Chicago Montessori's Toddler class takes advantage of the toddler's natural drive to act independently – "Help me to do it by myself."
The Toddler class maximizes a toddler's development through a meticulously prepared environment. A Montessori teacher (with the AMI "Assistants to Infancy" training) implements a curriculum designed to foster cognitive development, speech and language development, strengthen fine motor and gross motor skills, introduce grace and courtesy lessons, and promote independence.
Toddler lessons and activities recognize that young children learn by doing. The classroom environment is divided into several areas, including gross motor movement, fine motor development, and language skills. The exercises of practical life include care of the environment (both indoor and outdoor), care of the self (including using the toilet), and refinement of grace and courtesy. All activities are designed to develop coordination and independence, which in turn, leads to increased self-confidence.
By the end of their Toddler experience, children are ready for the Primary (3-6) environment. They are increasingly interested in learning from other children and about the world around them. The more complex social life and the vast array of materials and lessons to be learned in the Primary class satisfy their continuing need to grow.
3 – 6 YEARS
The three-year-old child is a born explorer. He is filled with wonder, awe and admiration for each and every discovery that he makes, no matter how insignificant it may seem to the adult mind. It is our task, then, to provide him with a specially prepared environment which contains the keys to understanding the Universe.
When we are very young we do not need fairy tales: we need only tales. A child of seven is excited by being told that Tommy opened the door and saw a dragon. But a child of three is excited by being told that Tommy opened the door.
The casa dei bambini, or Children's House, is designed to aid in the child's natural development from the ages three to six. The beautiful materials within this environment provide opportunities for exploration, critical thinking and problem-solving. These real experiences within a community of his peers assist the child in his task of self-construction. In other words, the child builds the man he is to become with what he sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches in the first six years.
The primary environment is alive with a hum of activity. Visitors often ask, “How do the children know what to do?” or “Where is the teacher?” Both of these questions can be answered by Dr. Montessori's belief that the child seeks that which he needs, and that the duty of the trained adult is to guide him in his chosen path, and then graciously step out of his way.
6 – 12 YEARS
The Elementary experience engages the reasoning mind through a series of Great and Key Lessons that provide meaningful historical context for exploration across the Montessori syllabus. Our ages six-to-nine and nine-to-twelve year old environments support the process of self-construction through guided interaction with didactic materials that allow for the understanding of increasingly abstract concepts. We provide a vibrant learning forum where children can think, make choices, negotiate, and learn the art of civility through collaborative and independent efforts amid carefully prepared aesthetic environments.
"Since it has been seen to be necessary to give so much to the child, let us give him a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions."
By acknowledging and incorporating the characteristics of the child in the 6-12 year old plane of development, we work with the nature of the child to allow for full engagement with material-based activities that bring forward the tenets of problem-solving, executive functioning, and integration of cultural knowledge.
While Lower Elementary utilizes the fully formed work habit as the means to discoveries through exploration, the Upper Elementary environment provides a forum for continued investigations through research and refinement of detail. This second phase of “Age of the Reasoning Mind” involves the pursuit of individual interests amid the ongoing quest for acquisition of knowledge and perfection of skills. Students are encouraged to realize their aspirations in a peer-driven context that provides mentoring and support through ongoing presentations, independent study and practice, and regular conferencing with an adult guide. Basic to the process is the exercise of freedom of choice as balanced by responsibility and self-discipline, leading to increasing proficiency, social acumen and self-knowledge.
This philosophical backdrop provides the infrastructure for lifelong learning as students construct their cognitive, social and emotional aptitudes through their own engagement in a collaborative, material-rich environments. Our interdisciplinary approach to subject matter blends historical study with geography, literature, writing, fine and performing arts, as integrated with the study of mathematics, geometry, biology, chemistry, and the physical sciences. The blend of individual initiative and collaboration within a multi-aged community works towards fulfilling the promise of development of thinking, ethical, empathetic participants who can take their rightful place as members of and contributors to a global society.
12 – 15 YEARS
The Chicago Montessori Adolescent community is guided by our commitment to an authentic Montessori education for students ages 12 – 15 and is based on Dr. Montessori’s Plan of Study and Work.
Students entering the Adolescent community are not just moving into a new classroom; they are moving into a new stage of development that leaves childhood behind, yet they are not adults. Adolescents have their own sensitivities and characteristics that need a special environment to meet their new social and intellectual needs.
“Success in life depends in every case on self-confidence and the knowledge of one’s own capacity and many-sided powers of adaptation. The consciousness of knowing how to make oneself useful, how to help mankind in many ways, fills the soul with noble confidence… with dignity.”
Chicago Montessori provides such an environment that is optimal for the development of the emerging adult. Graduates of the Adolescent community leave with a strong sense of who they are, how they fit in, and most importantly they know how they can make meaningful contributions. This self-assured student is adaptable and knows how to solve problems – qualities that will serve them well no matter what path they may take in life.
“Education therefore should include the two forms of work, manual and intellectual, for the same person, and thus make it understood by practical experience that these two kinds complete each other and are equally essential to a civilized existence.”
Components of our prepared environment include opportunities to work side by with a variety of adults within the school community and Chicago neighborhoods. Students also work to maintain the community garden that is integral to their class business. This land-based micro-economy not only provides a model for economic independence, but is also material for many academic studies.
Humanities, science, and math are all easily integrated with the work done in the garden. This space also caters the student’s need for reflection, physical work, and desire to make meaningful contributions.
“Social life is not sitting in a room together or living in a city. It does not regard social relations. The essence is that something is produced which is useful to the whole of society, and is changed for something else. Production and change, exchange, are the essence of social life.”
Students benefit from a small class size that calls on students to find and exercise their strengths among peers who may or may not share the same abilities. Students also work alongside expert adults, taking on real-world tasks and work that informs their academic studies. These experiences result in a student that has a strong sense of self, knows where they fit in, and possesses a clear vision of how they may make a meaningful contribution to the larger society.
The balance of intellectual, manual and social skills produces a student that is confident, self-assured, curious, and most of all adaptable.
Chicago Montessori provides an interdisciplinary approach to study with opportunities for adult-like work in and a safe and nurturing environment.
Our dual language program (Spanish/English) is among the best in Chicago with native Spanish speakers in every class, all day, every day. Our children really learn the language and are exposed to various accents.
“The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!”
“...the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.”
The Physical Education program at Chicago Montessori is run by a Phys. Ed. specialist and combines many different sport and physical activities. Starting at the age of 3 the program guides the child through a series of physical activities designed to increase strength and balance and overall, control their bodies.
Children’s access to the program is customized to their work schedules and offered throughout the day as well as before and after care classes.
Before and After Care
From various sports to Spanish, art and drama, we offer a variety of before and after school sessions. Other classes include music, robotics, logic/chess, choir, drumming/percussion and more.
Before Care: Mon – Fri, 7:45 – 8:30 am
After Care: Mon – Thu, 3:30 - 5:00 pm