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LIFE IN CHI

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The happier divorce Modern-day methods for conscious uncoupling are making “the D word” less intimidating

Real Life .................... 6 Failing with Gusto ..... 8 Viva Daddy ................ 9 Calendar .................... 20

16 Music to our ears

Parenting Dilemma.... 28

Year of Chicago Music highlights the city’s best sounds PLUS Ways to fill your house with music

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EditoR’s Note

The right note

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TAMARA L. O’SHAUGHNESSY

hen my middle daughter announced she wanted to play the clarinet, I groaned and resisted. Of course, I relented as I always do when my kids want to do something. I then put up with eight years of screechy practice that put me in a sour mood. But you’ll never hear me deny the impact music had on her. It gave her a readymade group of friends, it taught her how to work with other people even through disputes and typical school drama. And because our school offers a hugely competitive marching band, it taught her how

to handle winning and losing. I think it has set her up nicely for the real world. My youngest — who plays the harp — was drum major of the marching band the past two years. I never anticipated the pressure or work that would fall on her shoulders. As with her sister, there are so many valuable lessons that she’ll take with her through the rest of her life. She, in fact, is planning a music career. That’s why I am especially excited Chicago chose to kick off 2020 as the Year of Chicago Music. I hope it opens the doors to other children and families to discover a passion through listening to all the many forms of music Chicago is known for, or actually picking up an instrument and playing. We’re even lucky enough to have one of the best youth

orchestras in the country, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, right here to help fuel a child’s music passion. I think you’ll find the story tracing Chicago’s music history by Managing Editor Hillary Bird really fascinating. It teaches us a few things we might not know about the Windy City’s musical history and gives families a few new places to discover this year. Inside you’ll also find our annual Making the Grade supplement. Think of it as the one place you can turn to find info about the best schools in Chicagoland as you consider all of the great options we have as parents to make sure our kids get the most of their education, music or otherwise. I plan to start 2020 on a positive note. It is my wish for you and your family, too.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 3


our village

Hello, 2020!

KATINA BENIARIS

New year, new plans. We know one of your top priorities this year is creating new family memories together. On ChicagoParent.com, we’ve got so many great ideas on things to do with your kids in the city and suburbs. Don’t forget to share your photos with us by using our community hashtag #sharechicagoparent.

Enter to win This month, we’re giving away tickets to Nick Jr. Live! playing at The Chicago Theatre on Feb. 29-March 1. Pogo Pass is also offering a family pack of passes to visit as many as 14 Chicagoland venues including the Legoland Discovery Center and the Mascot Hall of Fame. Enter to win these prizes and more at ChicagoParent.com/Contests.

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What are your New Year’s resolutions? Whether you hate them or love them, we can’t help but think about New Year’s resolutions every January. They seem more important this year since we’re entering a new decade. Discuss your resolutions and find out how other parents are working on theirs in our Facebook group—Chicago Parent Village. Join the conversation at ChicagoParent.com/OurVillage.

ICYMI There are so many exciting new family attractions coming in 2020! From a new six-lane racing water slide at Raging Waves to the Disney musical Frozen making a stop in Chicago, we’ve gathered a list of new things to see in 2020. Read more at ChicagoParent.com/NewThings.

Listen to the music 2020 is the Year of Chicago Music and there are so many spots in the city where you can celebrate music with your kids. Learn more by reading our feature on page 15. We’ll also be showing you some of these musical places in person over on our Instagram Stories this month. Follow us on Instagram @ChicagoParent and stay tuned!

PHOTO BY DEEN VAN MEER

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CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 5


Real life | DAD

BY LORI ORLINSKY PHOTOS BY THOMAS KUBIK

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ationally known stand-up comedian Pat McGann is used to making people laugh. But when he isn’t on tour, the joke is on him, as he is constantly trying to navigate what he calls the “overscheduled, crazy busy, controlled chaos” of his home life. “My kids always ask me when mom is going to be home,” he says. “Do they not think I’m wondering the same thing?" Your son Elliot (now in remission) battled leukemia as a toddler. How did you use your status to advocate for kids with cancer? We created a night of comedy to raise money and awareness of pediatric cancer. I was fortunate to have relationships with so many great comics that donated their time and talents to help families that were in the midst of a battle with cancer. Beyond that, we try to give back to all of the foundations and charitable groups that helped us during Elliot's journey. We will always be part of that world.

You made a career change at age 31, when you quit your job selling boxes for a packaging company. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking a leap of faith? No matter where you are on the path of life, you can always find time for what you're passionate about. That's the first step, find time to work on whatever craft you

6 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

The joke’s on dad


Real life | DAD

Pat McGann ■ Hometown: Chicago, Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood ■ Day job: Stand-up comedian and television show host ■ Spouse: Sara ■ Children: Josephine, 7, Elliot, 6, and Luke, 5 ■ Parenting must-haves: Wipes ‘til you die ■ Favorite things to do in winter in Chicago: Hide in the basement

have in mind and grow it from there. Before you know it, you'll be yelling at your kids to get dressed for a photo shoot with Chicago Parent! How does being dad influence your material? Having children changes your point of view, and that's really what you have to share with audiences, a point of view. They are constantly giving me new things to think about and talk about. On the flip side, do your little ones ever get mad at you when they find out you are using family stories in material? Josephine doesn't like when I imitate her mom. I will talk like my wife on stage and she will say "Mommy doesn't sound like that" and then I have to say that it’s close enough, and people are laughing so we gotta stick with it if you want to keep

wearing those glitter shirts. What’s the latest bit of comedy straight from the McGann family? We just got a dog and he's been in heat trying to climb on my kids' legs. Our youngest, Luke, likes to let him ride for a bit, as he thinks it's a game. I finally said, "he's trying to have a baby with your leg." They didn't understand, but they laughed and now they know they can't let them do it or their leg might get pregnant. We laugh and joke a lot. I love that all of my kids have their own sense of humor. Which TV dad are you most like? The good parts of Al Bundy and Tony Soprano, and the dad from Webster. I wish I could buy my kids a house where they could take the dumbwaiter instead of the stairs. CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 7


FAILING WITH GUSTO

The Ugly Hat

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y oldest son, Danny, was 3 when he announced he would not be participating in Pajama Day at his preschool. “I don’t want everyone to laugh at me.” I tried explaining that all the kids and teachers would be in their jammies. Hell, I dropped him off every day in my Tweety Bird flannels. What was the big deal? He was having none of it. A few years later, it was Superhero MARIANNE day in kindergarten. Once again, Danny WALSH balked. He was convinced he would be the laughingstock of the school. Nothing I said convinced him otherwise. I began to worry. Because that’s what I do best. I had failed at instilling a sense of confidence and devil-may-care attitude. Danny was always twice as big as his classmates, so where was his swagger, his sense of fun? Why did he care so much what people thought? Throughout middle school, things got worse. He began to shut down and refused to participate in school events and outings. Part of me understood. Kids can be rotten in middle school. Yet I still didn’t want him living his life in fear of being different, of standing out. Thankfully, high school brought some positive changes. He found his people. Being smart was celebrated. His hockey coach nicknamed him “Goliath.” One afternoon, Danny was getting ready to attend a Mount Carmel football game. The student section was advised to dress in their Sunday mass clothes (jacket, tie, khakis). It was a cold day, and I told 8 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Danny to wear a hat. He appeared from his room not wearing his typical high school beanie, but instead the ugliest orange and blue plaid hunting cap that was a giveaway at a Detroit baseball game this past summer. The thing had ear flaps. And he was wearing a suit. He looked like a 6-foot-3 Elmer Fudd heading to a formal. And he was grinning ear to ear. He got the joke. He was OK with the hilarity of how he looked. When his classmates laughed at him, he knew it was his gag to own. For so many years, I worried that he would never get to this point. Dan had finally arrived in all his Goliath glory, wearing the ugliest hat ever produced. And for a moment, I thought perhaps I didn’t screw it up after all. Marianne Walsh, mom of three boys, is married to Chicago firefighter and lives on the South Side.


VIVA DADDY

Now that’s what I call explicit lyrics   

W

MATT BORESI

e’re music people in our home and our daughter Viva has definitely picked up our love of singing and of song. She’s a belting, legit-ing, rapping, dance dance dance machine. She’s also developed a facility for using the Alexa devices scattered liberally throughout our home, which means she’s an 8-year-old with a robot helper who can play any song (and any lyric) in an instant.

Uncomfortable conversation about adult topics married to catchy melodies, here we come! Allowing your children to self-select tunes opens their horizons to a world of double entendre at best and unequivocal profanities at worst. Often the children are lulled into a sense of a song’s propriety by KIDZ BOP or the clean versions you hear while shopping, leaving the “kidz” to later stumble naively into the harsh light of day. As it turns out, “Cake by the Ocean” is not a baking anthem, and it’s repeated two syllable words are merely standins for vastly more indelicate counterparts. Perhaps this is the best way, though, to gradually expose our kids to the filthy place that is this world. “They’ve got learn sometime” may sound cynical, but a steady diet of Laurie Berkner until college leads to crippling nerdom at best. At worst? A monster. Let’s not pretend it wasn’t the same “in our day.” Mortifyingly unseemly songs by Madonna and (yikes) Michael Jackson

were ubiquitous on Gen X playgrounds, and I’m now being told that “Little Red Corvette” wasn’t about automotive engineering and “Raspberry Beret” wasn’t about millinery. Exposure to music is more important than protection from difficult concepts, and there’s not much that pop culture can throw your kid’s way that a diligent parent ready to have an open dialogue can’t mitigate. So do your worst, Alexa. If Viva gets too adept at her Jagger-like moves or figures out that Dua Lipa’s “new rules” aren’t about “meeting up with friends in the morning,” we’ll be there! Viva Music. Viva Viva. Viva Daddy. Viva is 8 years old. Daddy is about 5x that age. They live happily with Mommy in Chicago.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 9


Life in Chi

CATCALLING: IT’S A BIG DEAL Tips to consider for tweens and teens BY EILEEN MEYER

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o matter how prevalent it is for young girls and women, catcalling isn’t harmless. The recent murder of Ruth George, a kinesiology student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, by a Chicago man prosecutors allege was angry the Berwyn 19-year-old didn’t respond to his catcalls shines a new spotlight on those dangers, particularly for tween and teen girls who might not know how to react. George’s body was found in a UIC parking garage. Street harassment is “part of the larger problem of rape culture,” where “sexual violence is viewed as a normal, everyday thing, something that can be dismissed and joked about,” says LeChea Mottley, trauma therapist with Resilience, a Chicago nonprofit for sexual violence survivors. The Girl Scouts found that 1 in 10 girls is catcalled before she turns 11. Cornell University and the nonprofit organization Hallaback! also found that 85 percent of the 5,000 women they surveyed experienced catcalling or street harassment before age 17; 31 percent were just 13-14 years old. Half of the women surveyed reported being groped in public, while nearly 80 percent said they’ve been followed. Catcalling not only feels annoying, it can feel threatening. To help girls figure out how to respond, the Oak Park Police Department, Resilience, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s West Office and Youth Services of Oak Park Township offered kids training addressing street harassment. “Remember: who can protect you better than anyone else when mom and dad aren’t around?

10 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

PHOTO BY EILEEN MEYER

KIDS REACT TO CATCALLING Resilience’s Rachel Hastings offers street harassment tips to students, Girl Scouts and parents at the Oak Park Public Library.

You!” Oak Park Police Officer Anthony Coleman told the group.

What to do

People who want to hurt others watch for those who look distracted or are obscured from public view. Pay attention to your surroundings and listen your gut, the experts advised the group of kids gathered for the training. When someone catcalls and harasses, say “no” with conviction and in your loudest, strongest voice. Saying no to catcallers may sound like this: “No! Nobody speaks to me like that.” “No! I deserve to be spoken to with respect.” But don’t engage with them. Get away from the person. “Don’t be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings if your gut is telling you that person is dangerous.

Trust your gut. Do whatever it takes to get to safety. Worry about that rather than caring about the feelings of that person who is making you uncomfortable,” Oak Park Police Officer Traccye Love told them.

How bystanders can help

Elexys Isidore, legal and medical advocate at Resilience, told the group there are safe ways to help if you notice someone being harassed. She told the students to ask themselves first if intervening will put them in danger. Among the options to consider is confronting the situation directly, causing a distraction so the person being harassed can get away and getting an adult or the police to help.

“It made me angry and sad. It also made me worry, did I do something to cause this? Is it because of what I’m wearing?” SYLVIA ROSE, 13, OAK PARK “I’ve been with my mom and my sister when it happened to them. I don’t relate to it as a guy because it’s something I wouldn’t do. It’s too rude, and it makes me feel embarrassed.” NICHOLAS MCMILLIAN, 12, BERWYN “It made me feel weird and a little nervous and uncomfortable, but I just ignored it and walked to the other side of the street.” JOSIE MAYER, 13, BERWYN


CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 11


the happier

j

Modern-day methods for conscious uncoupling are making ‘the D word’ less intimidating

anuary may mean a fresh start with a new year, but it is also often referred to as “Divorce Month,” as the number of divorce filings surge more than any other month. When we think of divorce, it is often associated with messy, complicated situations that have spouses fighting in court for months, even years. While that is still the case for some, new trends in divorce have made the process easier for all parties involved, but especially for the kids, whose needs are put front and center. “Divorce is a series of choices from start to finish, and the choices that are being 12 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

BY LORI ORLINSKY

made by couples going through divorce have changed,” says Jennifer Mitchell, coauthor of Stress Free Divorce and creator of the Oak Park-based Solace Divorce Mediation, a family law practice that uses mediation and life coaching. “In the past, the majority choose to litigate due to a belief that it was the only option... Now, there is more awareness surrounding the power of accountability, choice, self-care, self-love and the notion of living a powerful life existence, which has led couples to explore alternative options.” Laura Wasser, divorce attorney to celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Kim

Kardashian and Ashton Kutcher, says in general, people are cutting out the “middle man” — attorneys, accountants, child custody evaluators — in favor of ultimately settling their cases as opposed to litigating them. She acknowledges no one wants to think about getting a divorce, but she sees the tide changing on how parents view divorce. “It’s time for a change,” Wasser says of the old-school divorce. “No one is going to approach it with open arms, thinking it’s a fun, great time, but people are starting to approach it with more knowledge and from a place of acceptance and really,


divorce really putting children first and making it about children.” When it comes to parting ways, here are the methods for conscious uncoupling that are changing modern-day associations of divorce:

Mediation Many soon-to-be ex-spouses are ditching attorneys and turning to a third-party mediator like Anne Levinstein of Libertyville to help come to a fair consensus and resolve their issues cost effectively. (Some mediation strategies may involve lawyers, which is called Lawyer Assisted Mediation.) The mediator serves as a facilitator to help couples figure out what’s best. “Once a couple finds one thing they agree on in mediation, they realize how good it feels to agree, and they want to agree on more things. It just snowballs, because conflict feels terrible,” she says.

Collaborative law In the same vein of mediation, a collaborative law approach to divorce, which is growing in popularity in the Midwest, is geared to those who want to settle their divorce outside of court. Each party retains an attorney and signs a participation agreement pledging to resolve issues without litigation. This process may contain a full team of specialists, including a neutral financial professional, divorce coach and child specialist, all working towards a solution in a positive, results-focused setting. “Collaborative divorce is the most supported way to go through divorce,” says Karen Covy, a Chicago-based collaborative divorce professional. “In collaborative divorce, people don’t focus on positions. Instead, the focus is on everyone’s underlying needs and interests.” The Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, a nonprofit aimed at advancing collaborative divorce in Illinois, recently launched its Modest Means Divorce Program, the first of its kind in the Chicago area for families

with low or modest incomes. “We wanted to make collaborative divorce more affordable because we believe it is a better, more holistic process for people,” Covy says.

Online dispute resolution Online dispute resolution makes it possible to complete the process of obtaining a divorce online through teleconference. As long as you and your spouse have reached an agreement, this process is considered to be a straightforward dissolution of marriage. It’s “the wave of the future in terms of legal tech,” says Wasser, who started It’s Over Easy, an online divorce platform that provides everything a person needs to fill out divorce papers online, plus a directory for movers, child therapists, chat rooms and even apps to sell your wedding rings.

The kids When it comes to custody, a few of the newer trends are becoming more common. NESTING Bird nesting simply means that after the divorce, the family residence stays intact. Instead of shuffling kids from house to house, each parent moves out for a few days. The idea is that there is less disruption for kids. 50/50 CUSTODY ARRANGEMENTS With 50/50 custody arrangements, the two parents share joint custody, meaning both parents are actively involved in all decisions regarding the kids. Covy says 50/50 parenting is now becoming more of a standard. Emily Gevrekis, of Palatine, shares 50/50 custody with her ex because she says she knew it was the right thing to do. “We both ended our marriage on equal terms,” Gevrekis says. “We are both fit parents and hands-on with our children, and it works because our two kids get

For more info on a Collaborative Law divorce, resources and specialist, visit The Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois at collablawil.org.

equal time with both of us.” Vinessa Lullo, of Mount Prospect, who has been divorced for more than three years, says much to her surprise, she found the process of divorce to be “freeing.” “In going through the divorce, we found ourselves as independent people and parents,” Lullo says. “We built a ‘new’ love for each other seeing each other in the parenting role. I can honestly say that my ex is one of my best friends and that our relationship is stronger now than it was when we were married.”

Tips for parents on the brink of divorce In her 25 years, family law attorney Laura Wasser says she’s found the best outcome for kids is when the parents are OK. “When the parents are not OK and do these terrible, terrible things to each other, that’s when the kids are not OK.” 1. Find therapy or counseling. It doesn’t have to be about reconciliation, but rather how to best navigate a separation. It helps to have an objective third person, preferably with a mental health background, to help define boundaries. 2. Be a united front with your kids. “If they see two parents as a united front talking to them and lovingly explaining to them that they are still a family but that the living arrangement is going to be different, it is going to be so much easier for them to accept it.” 3. Embrace tech. There are all kinds of apps available to help co-parenting such as Fayr, fayr.com, to coordinate schedules, communicate and split expenses easily. Find the one that works best for your family. CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 13


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British International School of Chicago

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Guidepost Montessori

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Kensington School

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Latin School of Chicago

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10, 31

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MAKING GRADE

3 Embracing empathy

How local schools are educating students inside and outside the classroom

7 The technology balance

With more students plugged in to screens, schools creatively fight back

11The keys to student success School experts weigh in on the one thing every parent wants

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MAKING THE GRADE 2020 1


Researchers define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions and to imagine what another person might be thinking or feeling.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCIENCE & ARTS ACADEMY

Embracing empathy How local schools are educating students inside and outside the classroom

E

mpathy is a key part of our social fabric. Numerous studies have tied empathetic behavior to success in the classroom and in life. Here are some ways area schools are focusing on empathy in their classrooms and school communities.

Encompassing both kinds of empathy Lila Jokanovic, executive director at Council Oak Montessori School in Blue Island, explains that there is emotional empathy and cognitive empathy, and the school emphasizes the need for both. “We place equal emphasis on being kind, which is emotional empathy, and being able to walk in the shoes of another and taking the perspective of another, which is cognitive empathy. This allows our students to develop into adults who

BY SHANNAN YOUNGER

are more likely to show compassion and lead as adults motivated to help others,” she says.

Empathy is not automatic, but can be learned Schools recognize that empathy is a skill that can be learned but first students need to learn what it is and what it looks like. “Although empathy and compassion come naturally, empathy is not unlike other skills that need to be introduced, nurtured and practiced,” says Tina Centineo, SEL coach and teacher at Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines. Students at Science & Arts Academy are first introduced to the concept of empathy through the school’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program. “After learning the basics of how to show empathy and why it is important, teachers consistently work to help students apply what they have

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learned throughout the day,” Centineo says. There are many opportunities to put empathy into practice, ranging from sitting on the Buddy Bench to working on group projects to the peer conflict resolution process. Lisa Herold, educational specialist at St. Clement School in Chicago, agrees. “We see empathy as a life skill, and we teach it, instead of just expecting that kids should have it,” she says. She also notes that it is not something that can be taught once. It’s an ongoing effort, in school and beyond. “Social skills once thought to be mastered in kindergarten take a lifetime to acquire,” she says. “New students are young and egocentric because of human development,” says Shanna Bayer, leader teacher at Sauganash Montessori School in Chicago. She says learning about empathy starts with acknowledging and giving students names for feelings and that using simple words help students with big emotions. Empathy starts to develop when students can relate those feelings to

their own experience, she says.

Meeting other students where they are - literally Some schools use student meetings as a time to work on empathy, especially the communication and listening skills required to be truly empathetic. At Near North Montessori School in Chicago, there are a few ways that happens. Reena Vohra Morgan, primary director, says that for younger students it can be spending time on the peace rug where they are encouraged to use “I feel” statements and learn tools for resolving conflict. Junior high students have weekly council meetings that begin with compliments and acknowledgements. Students then discuss facts and come up with constructive ideas to improve daily life at school. “It’s amazing to see. They take turns facilitating and moderating and sharing C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 4 MAKING THE GRADE 2020 3


E M PAT H Y C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 3

the space,” Vohra Morgan says. At St. Clement School, students begin each day in a circle of Morning Meeting or Class Meeting, which offers a chance to greet and share with each other. In addition to it being an opportunity to practice socialemotional skills, that positive start and connection can help students learn better throughout the day. “It is difficult for a child to concentrate on math if he feels disconnected from his peers,” Herold says.

Deepening education by identifying with the curriculum

PHOTO COURTESY OF COUNCIL OAK MONTESSORI

4 MAKING THE GRADE 2020

Educators find the empathy leads to a deeper level of learning and understanding of the curriculum. Tamar Cytryn, director of Jewish Studies and Campus Life at Chicago Jewish Day School, explains that “often when students are learning

some of the sacred texts and texts from general studies classes, we challenge them to view them through an empathetic lens and ask ‘How do you think they felt?’ and ‘What was it like?’” They explore the answers through activities like role playing and writing diaries. Recently, students learning ancient civilizations studied the importance of access to water. When they read about a modern African community lacking access water and the impact of putting in a well, “students were so moved they did a water walkathon while carrying water themselves to know what it was truly like and raised money to build another well in that African village.” Cytryn says that empathy is fundamental to learning and putting that education into action. “Our students cannot begin to fix the world if they do not have empathy for what other people are experiencing,” she says.

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Through hands-on experiences, S.T.E.A.M.* activities, and fostering creative expression, learning comes to life right before our students’ eyes. *Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math

Schaumburg 847.592.2513

Lincolnshire 847.415.5420

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF AVERY COONLEY BY JEFFREY ROSS

The technology balance With more students plugged in to screens, schools creatively fight back BY SHANNAN YOUNGER

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lassrooms are more connected than ever as schools use technology to teach. At the same time, however, educators are making sure our digital natives explore and learn about the world without devices. Educators seem to agree that a healthy balance is the key, for a variety of reasons.

Intentional use of technology “We are always talking about balance,” says Sarah Vaughn, director of innovation at The Frances Xavier Warde School in Chicago. She says for a teacher there, balance often comes down to being very intentional about the use of technology. They observe an annual Day of

Unplugging, which Vaughn says helps both teachers and students identify when technology is unnecessary and when it is very helpful. “By taking a step back as a school, it helps think about when we missed devices and would have found them helpful, and also when we use them just out of habit but don’t truly need them,” says Vaughn, who explains that the day is not anti-technology and more about using it purposefully. The phrase “high tech, high touch” guides the approach at Catherine Cook School in Chicago, according to Brian Puerling, director of education technology. He calls it “extremely important” to strike a balance between having educational time with and without technology in the classroom. “We see the value that technology offers in terms of taking down the classroom walls, and using our actual

and virtual world as our classroom. At the same time, we place a high value on children using musical instruments, creating with art materials and going on field trips.”

Get outside Students at the Chicago Friends School in Chicago unplug and spend an hour each day outdoors. Karen Carney, head of school, explains that they do so because research shows that recess is great for bodies. She also notes that it allows for unstructured social play, which is important to child development, and offers opportunities to interact with and develop a love of nature. Puerling agrees, noting that Catherine Cook’s Imagination Playground is beneficial for gross motor development and getting children tinkering

and designing collaboratively while outdoors. Parents know that fresh air and open spaces can work wonders on children. The same is true at school. “We do outside learning whenever we can,” says Elizabeth Blaetz, head of school at Vanguard Gifted Academy in Batavia. For a paleontology unit, she bakes puzzle pieces into dough. She then simulates what a dig would be like and the students go outside, discover the chunks of dough, chisel out the puzzle pieces and then assemble the puzzle, just as paleontologists do with a dinosaur skeleton. “The students gain deeper understanding and have higher level thinking because the information is presented with a hands-on connection,” says Blaetz. Design Thursday is a weekly afterC O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 8

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T E C H N O L O G Y C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 7

“It’s rewarding to see kids enjoy their time outside and even more so to see them work together and have those aha moments.” noon fixture at The Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove. Students participate in a variety of classes outside the traditional program, including cooking, ethics and outdoor education. Peter Brown is the chief financial officer and assistant head of school who also teaches the Design Thursday class that includes a challenge course. “It’s rewarding to see kids enjoy their time outside and even more so to see them work together and have those aha moments,” he says.

Face time paired with screen time Schools also find that group projects are good for students to learn

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how both in-person communication and screen time are important when working towards a goal. “Devices are great for collaboration but first we have students start with face-to-face conversations so they are actually talking and interacting and sharing ideas. Teachers talk about what are different ways we can brainstorm and when is a good point to start using a Google doc,” says Vaughn. Skills essential to functioning in a group, such as compromise, articulating thoughts and taking others’ perspectives into account are learned organically through play offline starting at a very early age, Carney notes. Those same skills are also very important when students start interacting online when they’re older, she says.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF VANGUARD GIFTED ACADEMY

Reaching different kinds of learners Time unplugged can be of benefit to all kinds of learners. For kids who learn kinesthetically, painting a timeline or acting out a story can be hands-on projects that make the concepts clear to the students. Kids

can really relate to the information in a way that they don’t when reading words in the text, says Blaetz. “Our students are learning in a way that works best for them. Some kids learn so much better when they are using their hands. We have flexibility so we can take advantage of their learning style and maximize their development.”

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. BENEDICT PREPARATORY SCHOOL

2. Have downtime without devices. Rachel Gemo, head of St. Benedict Preparatory School in Chicago, says that students need downtime away from digital devices. “Do the research, determine what is right for your family, then stand your ground,” she advises. She suggests having some time for physical play after school for a mental break before starting homework.

3. Model kindness and respect.

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keys to student success School experts weigh in on what every parent wants

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1. Foster independence. “It is vital that children learn to be independent,” says John Biggs, head of primary school at the British International School of Chicago, South Loop. He encourages making them responsible for their backpack and

4. Encourage students to be actively involved in their education. The best learning happens when children are engaged. “You can’t just sit back and watch, you have to participate,” says Eric Wozniak, headmaster at St. John’s Northwestern Leadership Academies in Delafield, Wis. “Encourage your child to take ownership and have an active part in their own learning.”

5. Read at home.

BY SHANNAN YOUNGER

ll parents want to see their children succeed in life, and there are many different ways they can help them to do so. We asked some educators in and around Chicago to share what they believe are the keys to success for students and ways parents can help their kids be their best.

Robyn McCloud-Springer, head of school at Chiaravalle Montessori School, cautions that little ones are watching and modeling our behavior, and that’s especially true when parents are stressed. “They sense our level of anxiety and how we are treating each other and the energy between us,” says McCloud-Springer, who also represents the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools. “Just speaking respectfully to your family can have a big impact,” she adds. “It can start a kindness revolution.”

gathering everything they need for the day. He says that even little ones can be responsible for getting their coat. Biggs also stresses not bailing students out when they forget something. “They may have consequences to face at school, but that is part of them developing their independence and resilience,” he says.

Jill Vanderhye, a language arts teacher at Immaculate Conception Grade School in Elmhurst, says reading at home is important and that teachers can really see a difference in students who spend time reading with their parents. She also encourages reading aloud, by both parents and students, regardless of age. “Kids are never too old to read aloud,” she says, noting that doing so increases fluency and listening skills. C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 3

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S U C C E S S C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 1

6. Teach time management. “[Kids] sense our level of anxiety and how we are treating each other and the energy between us. Just speaking respectfully to your family can have a big impact. It can

Parents know there are never enough hours in the day, but it’s important to help your kids manage the hours they have. “Parents can help students by setting out an agenda at home,” Vanderhye says. Parents can help students learn how to fill out their assignment notebooks and going a step further to include extracurricular and family events. Margaret Smith of Tiger Tutor agrees. She suggests that students have a checklist and/or a daily calendar on the refrigerator. “Not only does it take pressure off parents to manage their children, it helps kids learn how to manage a process and see that process through,” she says.

start a kindness

7. Model lifelong learning.

revolution.”

When parents share what they are learning and what challenges they

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are overcoming, they model for children that learning extends beyond the classroom, Smith says. “Check in with your children about what they are learning and how it’s going. Ask what they’re struggling with and share what you are struggling with,” she advises. Wozniak encourages helping kids get comfortable saying, “I don’t know” and “I don’t understand.” One way to do that is to model doing so.

8. Communicate with your child’s teacher. Sharing information about what’s going on at home can help your child’s teacher assist them in class. Biggs says knowing about a sick pet, bad night’s sleep or parent away for work when that’s not the norm can help a teacher adjust their expectations and give your child the support they need. That said, Biggs cautions against emailing teachers all the time if it is not necessary.

9. Let go of perfection. “Set the daily expectation that you want your children to do their best on homework, but that doesn’t always mean perfect,” Gemo says. She explains that struggling students “need to feel good when they give it their best and complete their work, even if there are errors.” Conversely, she says that parents should “give their ‘perfectionist’ child a time limit to complete the work so he/she is not spending too much time on an assignment.”

10. Empower your kids. “One of the most important things for student success is helping children understand that they have the agency to create the future they want,” Wozniak says. “Help them see that they have power over their own life and the ability to control their destiny.”

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SCH O OL LI ST I N GS

Alcuin Montessori School Main Campus: 324 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park Roosevelt Campus: 6942 W. Roosevelt Road, Oak Park (708) 366-1882 • alcuin.org Education should not be one size fits all. At Alcuin Montessori, it’s more than education. It’s education for life. We focus on discovering and developing each child’s interests and talents to prepare them to excel in the next level of education and beyond. We’re AMS- and ISACs-accredited, with programs for ages 6 weeks to 14 years, including DCFS-licensed all-year infant/toddler care. It’s no wonder Alcuin has been a Montessori tradition for more than 50 years.

The Ancona School 4770 S. Dorchester Ave., Chicago (773) 924-2356 anconaschool.org Since our founding in 1962, Ancona has been dedicated to diversity and committed to social justice. At every grade level, our students learn to identify inequality and are empowered to address injustice in the world. From 3 years old through eighth grade, Ancona students explore, evaluate, and grapple with real-world challenges in thoughtfully prepared experiential learning environments.

Ascension School 601 Van Buren, Oak Park (708) 434-1541 school.ascensionoakpark.com Ascension School offers more than 100 years of faith in education and more than 100 years of commitment to community, to the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church, to the development of the whole child. At Ascension, we provide your child with a warm and nurturing environment while challenging them with a rigorous curriculum and enriching their experience with outstanding extracurricular and co-curricular programs.

Association of Illinois Montessori Schools ilmontessori.org The Association of Illinois Montessori Schools (AIMS) provides a

Midwestern professional development/advocacy organization for member schools to: promote standards of ethical educational excellence; monitor and disseminate educational legislation; advocate and communicate as the collective Montessori voice in Illinois; serve as a bridge between members and other educational organizations; and support highfidelity practices in Montessori education. Interested in learning more about Montessori education? Attend our annual conference and see our website for listings of local schools.

AHSS Autism Centers Early Learners Group Northbrook, Arlington Heights, Lakeview and soon in Schaumburg (844) AHSS-ABA (844-247-7222) austismhomesupport.com The AHSS Early Learners Group is a structured, small group classroom environment tailored specifically to help your child begin learning age-appropriate skills that will develop their social, academic, and transitional abilities. It is designed for those students who are not quite ready for or who are struggling in a traditional classroom. By providing structured training, in a group setting, each child can learn the needed skills to more fully participate in future outside and academic situations.

Avery Coonley School 1400 Maple Ave., Downers Grove (630) 969-0800 • averycoonley.org The Avery Coonley School is a nationally recognized PreK through 8th grade independent school for academically bright and gifted children. ACS has an enriched and accelerated curriculum to foster creativity, teamwork, and independence in students. We also offer a like-minded peer group, fully integrated technology and arts programs, a maker space, outdoor challenge course, and a nurturing faculty who understand the unique academic, social, and emotional needs of gifted students.

Baker Demonstration School 201 Sheridan Road, Wilmette (847) 425-5800 bakerdemschool.org

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Located on the border of Evanston and Wilmette, Baker Demonstration School is nationally recognized for excellence in progressive education. Baker serves bright, creative students from preschool through 8th grade who are ready to engage in a challenging, hands-on education and who are prepared to thrive in our diverse community of learners. Sign-up today to Tour, Explore & Baker, 9 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15, or call for a personal tour.

British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park 814 W. Eastman St., Chicago (773) 907-5000 • bischicagolp.org At British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, we are a community of learners preparing our students to be global citizens of the future where internationalmindedness is the foundation. Our campus educates children from ages 2 to 11 years old in a handson, values-based learning environment. Both full-day and part-day programs offer specialist lessons in areas such as the performing arts, athletics, and foreign languages beginning as young as 2.

British International School of Chicago, South Loop 161 W. 9th St., Chicago (773) 998-2472 • bischicagosl.org The British International School of Chicago, South Loop, offers a personalized and truly international approach to learning for students ages 3-18 years, developing lifelong learners and determined problem-solvers who are prepared to be leaders in the 21st century. Your child is supported to achieve more than they ever thought possible in our vibrant, inclusive, international community that represents more than 30 countries. Join us on Jan. 9 for our Open House.

Catherine Cook School 226 W. Schiller St., Chicago (312) 266-3381 catherinecookschool.org The Catherine Cook School inspires children in a nurturing learning environment focused on the formative years of preschool through eighth grade. Thoughtful

teachers engage children in challenging, project-based learning experiences using computational thinking, supported by our innovative technology. Our focus on social development and encouraging personal excellence fosters a community of motivated learners. The result is a confident and ethical young person ready to succeed in high school and beyond.

Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University 2020 summer programs 617 Dartmouth Place, Evanston (847) 467-1575 ctd.northwestern.edu/summer2020 CTD’s summer programs provide life-changing residential and commuter programs for academically advanced students, preK-grade 12, at Northwestern University and other Chicago-area sites.

Chicago City Day School 541 W. Hawthorne Place, Chicago (773) 327-0900 chicagocitydayschool.org Chicago City Day School is an independent, co-educational, urban elementary school serving children in junior kindergarten through eighth grade. The school’s spectacular two-acre campus is located on a tree-lined residential street in Chicago’s Belmont Harbor neighborhood. A rigorous academic program encourages intellectual curiosity, aesthetic sensibility, critical thinking, joy in learning and a lasting commitment to physical activity and healthful living. Dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students work together in small groups with great success.

Chicago Friends School 1246 W. Thorndale, Chicago (773) 442-2371 chicagofriendsschool.org Chicago Friends School is a K-8 school in Edgewater where the Quaker values of community, simplicity, equality, peaceful conflict resolution, integrity, and service make the difference. Children reflect, question and explore through multidisciplinary whole-person learning that fosters a solid foundation for critical thinking and a lifelong love of learning. Small, multi-age MAKING THE GRADE 2020 15


CHICAGO CITY DAY SCHOOL 541 West Hawthorne Place • Chicago 773.327.0900 • chicagocitydayschool.org

Rigorous educaaon. A culture of kindness. Junior Kindergarten through Grade 8 • Two-acre, urban campus with state-of-the-art faciliies • Dedicated teachers and engaged students work together in small groups with great success • Challenging academic programs including lab science, foreign language, and enriched visual and performing arts • Field trips that help children develop an awareness of the vitality of city living

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SC H O OL LI ST I N GS classes ensure that instruction is challenging and developmentally appropriate. Children benefit from an integrated STEAM curriculum and multigenerational service. Attend the open house 2-4 p.m., Feb. 2.

Chicago Jewish Day School 3730 N. California Ave., Chicago (773) 271-2700 chicagojewishdayschool.org CJDS is a dynamic, multi-denominational Jewish day school on the cutting edge of best practices in progressive education. We celebrate our extraordinary commitment to engaging and educating the next generation of Jewish leaders in our new 2.6-acre, state-of-the-art campus in the Irving Park neighborhood. Through our integrated, experiential curriculum, we educate the whole child, provoke creativity, and spark critical thought. We achieve academic excellence in general studies, Judaic studies, and Hebrew and graduate students with a deep sense of responsibility to the world.

Chicago Waldorf School 5200 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago (773) 465-2371 chicagowaldorf.org At the Chicago Waldorf School, each PreK through 12th-grade student discovers that they are a scientist, writer, mathematician, artist, musician, and athlete; empowered to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively. It’s how we teach that changes everything. RSVP for a tour and see why we’re the fastest growing education in the world!

Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center 1111 N. Wells., Chicago (312) 573-8900 cornerstonechildrenslearning center.com Preparing your child for kindergarten and beyond! Providing year-round preschool and childcare in the Old Town/River North area of downtown Chicago for children ages 6 weeks through 6 years. Part-time and full-time options. Very diverse student body! Special programs include music,

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fitness and health, art, science, Spanish and yoga. Managed by Childtime Learning Centers. Schedule a tour, enroll at any time of the year!

Council Oaks Montessori 2521 Grove St., Blue Island (708) 926-9720 counciloakmontessori.org Since 1990, Council Oak Montessori School (COMS) has served the families of Chicago’s southwest side with a nurturing, highfidelity Montessori education. COMS is a full-member AMS school. In addition to all teachers credentialed through either AMS or AMI, students ages 3 through 15 enjoy the full Montessori curriculum enriched by specialist instruction in music, farming and yoga. Call to schedule a classroom observation to see how Montessori can work for you.

The Cove School 350 Lee St., Northbrook (847) 562-2100 coveschool.org The Cove School is a K-12 day

school for students with complex learning disabilities. Students come from more than 50 school districts in the Chicagoland area to receive an individualized educational experience in a safe and respectful environment. Cove provides customized learning strategies to complete an academic curriculum, while at the same time facilitates the development of students’ social and emotional skills, self-advocacy and sense of well-being.

Fourth Church Day School 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago (312) 640-2579 fourthchurchdayschool.org Fourth Church Day School is an established, play-based preschool that respects and educates the whole child. Located across from the Hancock Center and housed within Fourth Presbyterian Church, our school welcomes a diverse population. Our strong community is supported by teaching professionals and engaged parents working

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SCH O OL LI ST I N GS

together. Half-day programs are available for children ages 2-5. Lunch options for children 3-5 years old. School is in session from September through May. Summer Camp in June.

The Frances Xavier Warde School OSP Campus: 120 S. Desplaines, Chicago (Preschool-3rd) HNC Campus: 751 N. State, Chicago (Grades 4th-8th) (312) 466-0700 • fxw.org FXW School is driven by a vision of creating a unique urban educational program for the children of Chicago. As a Catholic school that embraces multi-faith values, teachers provide a high-quality, value-driven education to students of all ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Individual values of all children are respected, supported and encouraged. FXW’s rigorous curriculum enables students to grow, clarify their values and develop decision making skills.

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The Gardner School

Gateway Montessori

Naperville: (630) 657-5029 Chicago-West Loop Campus: (312) 229-4299 Northbrook: (847) 770-6260 Chicago-Bucktown Campus: (773) 661-0151 Oak Brook: (630) 576-4740 Chicago-Lincoln Park: (630) 639-1008 Lincolnshire: (847) 415-5420 Schaumburg: (847) 592-2513 thegardnerschool.com The Gardner School is an awardwinning, academically-focused preschool that offers educational programs for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. We are committed to providing a nurturing environment for learning where your child can prepare for lifelong success and academic achievement. Our four-year degreed teachers, nationally recognized curriculum, focused enrichment programs in art, science and movement, safe and secure spaces, and nutritious menus set The Gardner School apart.

4041 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago (773) 539-3025 gatewaymontessorischool.org To nurture the potential within each child is Gateway’s mission. Programs from age 15 months through elementary. Visit online and call for an informational tour. Upcoming Open Houses: Feb. 3 and March 2.

GEMS World Academy Chicago 350 E. South Water St., Chicago (312) 809-8910 At GEMS World Academy Chicago, we leverage the International Baccalaureate framework to inspire students to learn locally and think globally, using the entire city of Chicago as an extension of the classroom. Accepting applications for 2020-2021. Select seats available for the current school year. Attend an upcoming admissions event to learn more. RSVP at gemschicago.org/events.

German International School Chicago 1726 W. Berteau, Chicago (773) 857-3000 germanschoolchicago.com The German International School Chicago (GISC) is a private, nonprofit IB World School that provides students with a bilingual, international education from preschool through grade 8. Low student-teacher ratios enhance the supportive and individualized learning environment that prepares students to become wellrounded, creative, and responsible global citizens. The current student body represents 43 nationalities. Non-German-speaking students are welcome to apply through Grade 2. Learn more at an Open House or schedule a Tour!

Grace Lutheran School 7300 Division, River Forest (708) 366-6900 graceriverforest.org Grace Lutheran School serves

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SCHOOL PROFILE

British International School of Chicago Lincoln Park: 814 W. Eastman, Chicago bischicagolp.org admissions@bischicagolp.org Grades served: PreNursery-Grade 5 South Loop: 161 W. 9th St., Chicago bischicagosl.org admissions@bischicagosl.org Grades served: Ages 3-18 Total enrollment: 1,200 Student to teacher ratio: 10:1 Average class size: 20 College acceptance rate: 100 percent What makes your school a great choice for families? We deliver transformative learning experiences that go beyond traditional education. Our innovative and individualized curriculum prepare our students for the everchanging world through valuesbased and skills-driven instruction. Our school is a diverse community with more than 40 different heritages represented within our school, we embrace and celebrate our global perspectives.

Program highlights: Collaborations with Juilliard, MIT and UNICEF offer our students a one-of-akind experience. Specialist lessons in music, dance, language, PE, art, science, library and culinary arts begin as young as 2 years old. The most powerful takeaway for students: Learn to be a leader, critical thinking and problem solver through an international and individualized curriculum. Your message to prospective parents: Come visit our vibrant campuses, which offer a unique set of experiences preparing students for an ever-changing world.

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SCH O OL LI ST I N GS children age 3 through 8th grade, offering a quality Christian education in a caring environment. Resource teachers assist experienced classroom teachers in helping students achieve their personal best. Robust arts education, daily religion classes, after-school sports and enrichment classes, before- and after-school care also offered. Open House 1-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 26. Or drop by on First Look Friday, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Jan. 17 or Feb. 21.

worldwide. In Chicago, we have four schools serving children age 6 weeks to 6 years. Each of our schools has a beautifully prepared environment with authentic Montessori materials, designed to inspire your child. At Guidepost Montessori, we believe that children thrive when given freedom and responsibility under the thoughtful guidance of dedicated teachers. Spanish Immersion programs are available at selected locations.

Guidepost Montessori

Hyde Park Day School

Guidepost Montessori at Wicker Park: 1530 N. Damen Ave., Chicago • (773) 663-4732 Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile: 226 E. Illinois St., Chicago • (312) 796-9400 Guidepost Montessori at West Loop: 1000 W. Washington Blvd., Suite 5, Chicago • (312) 883-4090 Guidepost Montessori at Naperville: 5051 Ace Lane, Naperville (630) 884-8866 guidepostmontessori.com/chicago Guidepost Montessori is a growing network of schools that serves more than 3,000 families

Chicago Campus: (773) 420-2550 Lemont Campus: (630) 296-1229 Northfield Campus: (847) 446-7025 hydeparkday.org HPDS is the leading school in the Chicago area specializing in students of average to superior intelligence who have learning disabilities. We provide an innovative and comprehensive educational model that helps prepare students for successful transitions to a school in their home community. Our specialized and supportive environment teaches students to be self

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advocates and gives them the strategies to succeed.

Immaculate Conception Grade School 132 Arthur St., Elmhurst (630) 530-3490 icgradeschoolelmhurst.org As an educational ministry of Immaculate Conception Parish, we partner with parents to prepare students for lives as Catholic leaders. As Christians empowered by the Holy Spirit, we focus on formation through prayer, message, concern, and service to community. We teach students to live lives that embody these values, are centered in Christ, and strive for their greatest academic potential. We invite you to schedule a tour or shadow day and take a closer look.

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago (312) 335-1996 chicago.cervantes.es The Instituto Cervantes is the largest international Spanish teaching

organization in the world, established by the Spanish government to teach the Spanish language in the United States and around the globe. Our internationally recognized curriculum will enhance your child’s ability to communicate in both Spanish and English. (Learning a foreign language also increases a student’s comprehension of English grammar.)

Kensington School Arlington Heights, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glenview, LaGrange, LaGrange Highlands, Naperville, South Naperville, St. Charles, Western Springs, Wheaton Coming Soon: Hinsdale, Lincoln Park, Park Ridge kensingtonschool.com Founded in 1969, Kensington School celebrates 50 years of excellence in Early Childhood Education at 11 locations and looks forward to joining the Hinsdale, Lincoln Park and Park Ridge communities soon. Kensington School provides inspirational early learning experiences from infancy through kindergarten with innovative curriculum, beautiful

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SCHOOL PROFILE

Chicago Waldorf School Andersonville Campus: 5200 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago Lincoln Square Campus: 2156 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago chicagowaldorf.org PreK-5th: jzielinski@chicagowaldorf.org 6th-12th: lgrenholm@chicagowaldorf.org Grades served: PreK-12th Grade

Total enrollment: 360 Student to teacher ratio: Varies between grade levels Average class size: Varies between grade levels College acceptance rate: 100 percent

Robotics Club (Middle & High School), Athletics (Middle & High School), Drama Club, Social Justice Club, Student Ambassadors, school-wide service days in local communities, High School Service Learning Trips (two weeks of service projects every spring)

What makes your school a great choice for families? Each student discovers that they are a scientist, writer, mathematician, artist, musician and athlete; empowered to think critically, creatively and collaboratively. Our immersive foreign exchange program, practical internships, year-long research projects and dedication to service-learning prepare our graduates to be global and ethical citizens.

The most powerful takeaway for students: At CWS students love to learn. Students feel seen and heard by their peers and teachers and, with hands-on experiences, our curriculum is brought to life.

Program highlights: Foreign Exchange Program (High School),

Your message to prospective parents: Chicago Waldorf High School is redefining rigor. While traditional schools teach to the test, we provide real world experience and, with a 100 percent college acceptance rate, get real world results.

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SC H O OL LI ST I N GS classrooms and a talented teaching staff. Spanish, music, yoga and health specials, time in The Kensington Tinkerlab and Kensington Garden, and natural and organic meals are highlights.

Latin School of Chicago 59 W. North Blvd., Chicago (312) 582-6000 (312) 582-6080 Summer at Latin latinschool.org Latin School of Chicago is dedicated to delivering an exemplary liberal arts education that makes learning inquiry-based, personal and inclusive for PreK through 12th grade. We are committed to developing lifelong learners who succeed in college and beyond. Serving 1,190 students from 74 Chicago neighborhoods and 18 suburbs with a student-to-teacher ratio of 8:1, Latin is a community where every student is known and valued. Visit our website to learn more.

Montessori Language Academy 314 Circle Ave., Forest Park

(708) 771-5030 montessorilanguageacademy.com Montessori Language Academy offers an authentic Montessori program with Japanese-English dual language setting. Children learn developmentally appropriate social skills, math concepts, and natural science with handson Montessori materials. The program includes music class, art class and harmonica class. Optional piano lesson and Spanish class offered. The school is open five days a week and accepts children 3-6 years old. Summer program available. Teaching staff with American Montessori Society credentials. Award-winning faculty.

Near North Montessori 1434 W. Division, Chicago (773) 269-6230 • nnms.org Near North Montessori is a powerful student-inspired educational experience for children ages 6 months through eighth grade. We take a purposeful, fearless look at ourselves, our differences, and our connections, and together we work to create a warm, welcoming community where young

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hearts and minds take flight. Please join us for an Admissions Coffee Tour! They fill up quickly, so visit our website at nnms.org/ admission for the full list of tour dates and how to register.

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help School 1123 Church St., Glenview (847) 724-6990 • olph-il.org Celebrating 90 years of Catholic education, OLPH School is a place unlike any other — a vibrant 21st century Catholic school in an idyllic eight-building campus for 3 year olds to 14 year olds. When you choose OLPH School, you join a community bound by a mission of faith, with families passionate about education, students fully engaged in their learning, and teachers committed to their practice as caring professionals. Discover the distinction that makes our school an extraordinary place of learning!

Pilgrim Lutheran School 4300 N. Winchester Ave., Chicago (773) 477-4824

pilgrimchicago.org Pilgrim’s whole child approach ensures students engage in a high-quality educational program, supported by a nurturing Christian community. Pilgrim’s play-based Early Childhood mixes free choice play with literacy skills. Pilgrim students learn to transform “how” and “why” questions into critical thinking skills, working from source texts rather than a scripted program. Students learn problem-solving for the real world so that service learning is a key, transforming Pilgrim students into courageous and active members of society.

River Forest Community Center Early Childhood Learning Center 8020 Madison St., River Forest (708) 771-6159 • rfcc.info Offering an age-appropriate curriculum designed to encourage positive group interaction as well as foster individual growth. Our teachers thrive on creating a safe and fun learning environment through play in which children

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SCHOOL PROFILE

The Gardner School Chicago-Bucktown Campus, Chicago-Lincoln Park, Chicago-West Loop Campus, Lincolnshire, Naperville, Northbrook, Oak Brook, Schaumburg thegardnerschool.com/our-schools/chicago contact@thegardnerschool.com Grades served: Ages 6 weeks to PreK Total enrollment: Currently enrolling Student to teacher ratio: Depends on age level Average class size: Depends on age level What makes your school a great choice for families? Our learning atmosphere at The Gardner School includes a blend of traditional and Montessori educational styles, centered around curriculum-based lessons, child-directed activities, and structured play. We provide real-time updates through the parent communications app, a safe and secure environment with two security checkpoints, plus inviting classrooms with highly qualified teachers.

Program highlights: We offer delicious, healthy meals in the Kids’ Café, on-site supplemental enrichment classes (sports, music, computers, foreign language) in our enrichment studio and computer lab. The most powerful takeaway for students: Each child is provided with experiences that enhance creativity and selfesteem, which is essential in the learning, exploring, and growing stages of child development. Your message to prospective parents: Our parents love our open-door policy, parent-teacher conferences and receiving updates with photos each day on our communications app.

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MAKING THE GRADE 2020 23


SC H O OL LI ST I N GS are encouraged to explore and develop their cognitive, language, social-intellectual, and motor skills.

Sacred Heart Schools 6250 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago (SK-Grade 8 Campus) 5649 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago (Preschool Campus) (773) 681-8418 shschicago.org Sacred Heart is a Catholic, independent, PreK-8 school that warmly welcomes children of all faiths into a joyful community. Serving the city’s children since 1876, Sacred Heart enrolls more than 700 students on two campuses overlooking Lake Michigan. Preschool and senior kindergarten are coeducational; grades 1-8 are single-gender on a coed campus. Our students graduate with a strong academic foundation as well as confidence and values — ready to take their place in the city’s best high schools.

St. Athanasius School 2510 Ashland Ave., Evanston (847) 864-2650 • saintas.net

24 MAKING THE GRADE 2020

Inspiring both the minds and hearts of our students, St. Athanasius School nurtures the whole child. Through innovative teaching combining the sciences, languages, arts, service, technology & STEM lab, we grow a love of learning, respect for one other, and compassion for the world around us. St. Athanasius welcomes all to its vibrant community. For a closer look at Jr. Kindergarten through 8th grade in beautiful north Evanston, please call today for a private tour.

St. Benedict Preparatory School 3900 N. Leavitt St., Chicago (773) 463-6797 • stbenedict.com Located in the thriving Northcenter community, St. Benedict Preparatory School is devoted to preparing students for learning, achievement, and service in the 21st century global society. Our commitment to inclusive, rigorous challenge creates a dynamic, innovative, and active learning experience. The strengths of each child become an inspiration to others to learn fearlessly, lead responsibly,

and serve joyfully. Full-day and half-day preschool options available. We are proud to be a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School.

Saint Clement School 2524 N. Orchard, Chicago (773) 348-8212 stclementschool.org Anchored in the richness of Catholic tradition, Saint Clement School engages each child in a challenging academic environment that empowers and inspires our students to recognize their unique gifts. Highlights of our curriculum include faculty members trained in Positive Discipline, a Child First team that supports each child individually, and participation in the University of Notre Dame Trustey STEM Fellows Program. Upon graduating, our students enter high school empowered by their rich experience of faith, service and intellectual discovery.

St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy 1101 Genesee St., Delafield, Wis.

(800) 752-2338 • sjnma.org St. John’s Northwestern prepares boys and girls to become young adults who can achieve their best personal potential for lifetime success by immersing them in a disciplined environment that inspires increased personal growth through core commitments to excellence in academics, leadership skills, spiritual and character development, and athletics/wellness. Signature programs include JROTC, Aviation Science, Pipes and Drums, Summer Leadership Academy and Camp.

St. Josaphat School 2245 N. Southport Ave., Chicago (773) 549-0909 • stjosaphat.net Located in Lincoln Park, St. Josaphat School serves grades PreK3 through 8th grade. St. Josaphat School is a two-time winner of the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence. We are welcoming community where our children are enlightened to discover God, empowered to thrive intellectually and emotionally as they Excel to meet a lifetime of challenges as future leaders.

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SCHOOL PROFILE

GEMS World Academy Chicago 350 E. South Water St., Chicago gemschicago.org admissions@gemschicago.org Grades served: Preschool-Grade 12 (currently through grade 11) Total enrollment: 460 Student to teacher ratio: 8:1 (varies by grade) Average class size: 15-20 (varies by grade)

extension of the classroom, an emphasis on global citizenship and exchange, with daily instruction in French, Mandarin, or Spanish starting in preschool, a robust e-sports program, and more.

What makes your school a great choice for families? We’re the only private International Baccalaureate continuum in Illinois. Our outstanding core faculty all hold graduate degrees, and we’re housed in some of the city’s most cutting-edge facilities. As part of a global network, we offer exchange to inspire new perspectives and develop the resilience to embrace a future of unknowns.

The most powerful takeaway for students: GEMS provides a unique opportunity to shape the culture and traditions of a school. Children will have many opportunities to discover and hone passions and a community dedicated to success.

Program highlights: Field Studies that treat Chicago as an

Your message to prospective parents: Your child will benefit immensely from the IB and its emphasis on critical thinking and global citizenship, plus unparalleled access to what the city, and world, have to offer.

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MAKING THE GRADE 2020 25


SC H O OL LI ST I N GS

Sauganash Montessori School 5750 N. Rogers Ave., Chicago (773) 545-6295 sauganashmontessori.com Sauganash Montessori School offers exceptional early childhood education in a warm, home-like atmosphere. Our mission is to cultivate a child’s natural desire to learn and provide the child with a prepared environment in which they may explore the world around them. Rolling admissions, eligible on third birthday. Please call to schedule a tour. Open House: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 26.

Science & Arts Academy 1825 Miner St., Des Plaines (847) 827-7880 scienceandartsacademy.org Science & Arts Academy educates junior kindergarten through 8th grade gifted students from more than 70 Chicagoland communities. Learn more about SAA by attending our upcoming Interactive Open House, 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25. This event will be a unique, engaging experi-

ence, allowing students the opportunity to take part in sample lessons, while parents observe and learn more about our school community. RSVP at scienceand artsacademy.org/openhouse.

Seton Montessori School 5728 Virginia Ave., Clarendon Hills (630) 655-1066 setonmontessori.org Seton Montessori is an internationally recognized model Montessori program that has educated children for more than 50 years. Located on a six-acre wooded campus, the school serves children from infancy through elementary. Seton offers school year and summer camp programs with full- and half-day schedules and is accredited by the American Montessori Society, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, American Camp Association and registered with the Illinois Board of Education.

Sonnets Academy Lincoln Park: 1932 N. Clark St. (312) 951-1024

26 MAKING THE GRADE 2020

River North: 430 W. Erie St. (312) 344-1926 West Loop: 229 S. Peoria St. (312) 733-7580 sonnetsacademy.com Sonnets Academy celebrates the individuality of children and inspires boundless learning through play in its discovery-based curriculum & enrichment programs for children 6 weeks to 6 years. Sonnets Academy teachers track growth and developmental milestones in the following categories: fine and gross motor skills, language, creative expression, cognitive development, and social & emotional skills. Located in Lincoln Park, River North & West Loop, a first educational experience from Sonnets instills confidence so that students can play, learn, grow and succeed to their fullest potential.

Tiger Tutor 1016 W. Argyle St., Chicago (872) 302-4253 • tigertutor.com Building students. Building skills. Building dreams. Tiger Tutor is a tutoring and test prep company committed to helping students

unleash their academic potential. An affordable, personalized service, we work closely with both students and parents to provide unique curricula for students. We offer tutoring and test prep for: Subject-based tutoring for middle school, academic center exam, CPS’ Selective Enrollment Entrance Exam, PSAT and ACT and SAT. Come learn with us!

Vanguard Gifted Academy 1078 E. Wilson St., Batavia (224) 213-0087 vanguardgiftedacademy.org Learning at Vanguard Gifted Academy is a joyful community experience driven by the curiosity and creativity of engaged learners in kindergarten through fifth grade and framed by teachers who understand gifted children. Students learn at their academic ability levels and engage in challenging projects where they use their knowledge in real-life applications. Through the projects, students learn that success is the result of planning, revision, and perseverance. Find resources about giftedness on our website.

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SCHOOL PROFILE

Guidepost Montessori Guidepost Montessori at Wicker Park 1530 N. Damen Ave., Chicago • (773) 663-4732 Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile 226 E. Illinois St., Chicago • (312) 796-9400 Guidepost Montessori at West Loop 1000 W. Washington Blvd., Suite 5, Chicago • (312) 883-4090 Guidepost Montessori at Naperville 5051 Ace Lane, Naperville • (630) 884-8866 guidepostmontessori.com/chicago inquiries@guidepostmontessori.com Grades served: Infant to 6 years their unique journey. Total enrollment: Varies by Program highlights: campus Spanish Immersion programs are Student to teacher ratio: available at selected campuses. Infant 3:1; Toddler 7:1; Preschool Each season, we also offer a and Kindergarten 10:1 different extracurricular activity, Average class size: 14 such as gymnastics, soccer, music or dance. What makes your school a great choice for families? The most powerful takeaway At Guidepost Montessori, chilfor students: Guidepost Mondren are nurtured and cherished, tessori is where joyful and meangiven freedom to explore and ingful learning takes place. offered enticing opportunities to learn, grow and experience Your message to prospective inspiring challenges. As students parents: Give us a call to schedpass through each distinct age ule a tour. You’ll be amazed at and stage, our classrooms offer how happy, independent and capable children in a Montessori what is needed for each child classroom can be! to reach the next milestone on Special Advertising Supplement

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28 MAKING THE GRADE 2020

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SCHOOL PROFILE MARK CAMPBELL PRODUCTIONS

Sacred Heart Schools SK-Grade 8 Campus: 6250 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago Preschool Campus: 5649 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago shschicago.org admissions@shschicago.org Grades served: PreK-8 Total enrollment: 715 Student to teacher ratio: 9 to 1 Average class size: 18 What makes your school a great choice for families? Sacred Heart is a Catholic, independent, PK-8 school that warmly welcomes children of all faiths into a joyful community. Founded in 1876, Sacred Heart Schools is Chicago’s oldest independent school and is part of a worldwide network of more than 150 Sacred Heart schools. Program highlights: We offer families with children in grades SK-8 convenient morning and afternoon bus service in seven

Chicago neighborhoods: Gold Coast, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Old Town, Ravenswood and Roscoe Village. The most powerful takeaway for students: A challenging curriculum within a nurturing environment inspires students to achieve their best and be their best selves. Ninety-five percent of our students are accepted at their first-choice high school. Your message to prospective parents: Guided by five timeless principles—faith, intellect, service, community and personal growth—our students graduate with confidence, competence, and compassion.

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MAKING THE GRADE 2020 29


Do you love your school? In Catholic schools, we do a great job teaching things like reading, writing, science, and math. But we also spend our time educating the whole child in mind, heart and spirit. Our schools are caring communities where children get one-on-one attention and a strong sense of right and wrong. We provide many things that other schools don’t or can’t. We invite you to take some time and visit some of our schools to see what we believe is important. We believe it’s about finding a school filled with quality faculty who bring a commitment to academic excellence, an atmosphere that ignites a love of learning and a community that is welcoming and supportive. Celebrate Catholic Schools Week Jan. 26- Feb. 1.

CHICAGO Alphonsus Academy & Center for the Arts Tots, Preschool-8th grade, extended care offered Dr. Casimer Badynee, Principal 1439 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago (773) 348-4629 alphonsusacademy.org

The Frances Xavier Warde School Preschool-8th grade, extended care & summer programs offered Need-based tuition assistance available Michael Kennedy, Head of School Old St. Patrick’s Campus 120 S. Desplaines St., Chicago (preschool-grade 3) Holy Name Cathedral Campus 751 N. State St., Chicago (grades 4-8) (312) 466-0700 • fxw.org

Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School Tots-8th grade Co-Principals Maria Hill & Katie Sullivan North Park Campus: PreK3-Grade 3 1431 N. North Park Ave., Chicago Hill Street Campus: Grades 4-8 & Tot Program 363 W. Hill St., Chicago (312) 944-0304 • icsjschool.org

Northside Catholic Academy Preschool-8th grade Christine Huzenis, Principal 6216 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago (Primary School Campus PK-4) 7318 N. Oakley, Chicago (Middle School Campus 5-8) (773) 743-6277 northsidecatholic.org

Sacred Heart Schools Independent, single-gender education on a coed campus PreK-8, before and after school care, summer programming Mr. Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools 6250 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago (SK-Grade 8 Campus) 5649 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago (Preschool Campus) (773) 681-8418 • shschicago.org

St. Bartholomew School PreK-8th grade, before and after school care Mrs. Nilma Osiecki, Principal 4941 W. Patterson Ave., Chicago (773) 282-937 • stbartsschool.net

St. Benedict Preparatory School PreK-Grade 8 Rachel Gemo, Head of Parish School 3900 N. Leavitt St., Chicago (773) 463-6797 • stbenedict.com

Saint Clement School PreK3-8th grade, before and after school care Mari Jo Hanson, Principal 2524 N. Orchard, Chicago (773) 348-8212 stclementschool.org

St. Josaphat School PreK-8th grade Ms. Nel Mullens, Principal 2245 N. Southport Ave., Chicago (773) 549-0909 • stjosaphat.net

St. Mary Star of the Sea PreK3-8th grade Candice M. Usauskas, Principal 6424 S. Kenneth Ave. Chicago (773) 767-6160 stmarystaroftheseaschool.org

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St. Mary of the Woods Catholic School

all-day kindergarten, before and after school care Amy Mills, Principal 1123 Church St., Glenview (847) 724-6990 • olph-il.org

PreK-8th grade, before and after school care Geralyn Lawler, Principal 6959 N. Hiawatha, Chicago (773) 763-7577• smowschool.org

Pope John XXIII School

St. Matthias School International Baccalaureate PreK8th grade Katie Carden, Principal 4910 N. Claremont Ave., Chicago (773) 784-0999 stmatthiasschool.org

St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic School Programs for 2-year-old, PreK, K-8, summer Ms. Deanne Roy, Principal 6036 W. Eastwood Ave., Chicago (773) 725-5133 • srb-chicago.org

St. Athanasius School PreK and kindergarten (half- and full-day) through 8th grade, before and after school care Carol McClay, Principal 2510 Ashland Ave., Evanston (847) 864-2650 • saintas.net

St. Catherine LaBoure School PreK3-8th grade Jodi Reuter, Principal 3425 Thornwood, Glenview (847) 724-2240 sclschool-glenview.org

WEST Ascension School PreK3-8th grade Maryabbe Oolega, Principal 601 Van Buren, Oak Park (708) 434-1541 school.ascensionoakpark.com

The School of Saints, Faith, Hope and Charity PreK-8th grade Tom Meagher, Ed.D., Principal 180 Ridge Ave., Winnetka (847) 446-0031 faithhopeschool.org

Immaculate Conception Grade School PreK3-8th grade Mrs. Cathy Linley, Principal 132 Arthur St., Elmhurst (630) 530-3490 icgradeschoolelmhurst.org

SOUTH St. Germaine Catholic School

NORTH Our Lady of Perpetual Help School 3-year-old Preschool-8th grade,

PreK-8th grade, before and after school care Dr. Molly Cinnamon, Principal 1120 Washington, Evanston (847) 475-5678 • popejohn23.org

3-year-old Preschool-8th grade Mr. Kevin Reedy, Principal 9735 S. Kolin Ave., Oak Lawn (708) 425-6063 stgermaineschool.com

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SCHOOL PROFILE

St. Benedict Preparatory School 3900 N. Leavitt St., Chicago stbenedict.com jgallagher@stbenedict.com Grades served:Â PreK-8th Total enrollment: 670 Student to teacher ratio: 15: 1 Average class size: 20 What makes your school a great choice for families? As a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School, St. Benedict Prep is devoted to preparing students for learning, achievement and service in the 21st Century global society. Our commitment to inclusive and rigorous challenges creates a dynamic, innovative and active learning experience. Students are inspired to learn fearlessly, lead responsibly and serve joyfully.

Program highlights: Students consistently exceed national benchmarks on ACT Aspire tests. The Middle School program uniquely prepares students for high school success. The most powerful takeaway for students: The 7 C’s Learning Framework allows students to think critically and creatively, learn rigorous content, develop confidence, and become productive collaborators. Your message to prospective parents: The best way to experience St. Benedict Preparatory School is to schedule a visit. Call today to schedule a tour.

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SCHOOL PROFILE

Saint Clement School 2524 N. Orchard, Chicago stclementschool.org nvalle@stclementschool.org Grades served: PreK3 through 8th Total enrollment: 450 Student to teacher ratio: 1:12 Average class size: 24 What makes your school a great choice for families? We recognize that all students learn differently and we strive to meet the academic, physical, social and emotional needs of each child. We place equal value on academic achievement, spiritual growth, and the social responsibility of each of our students. Upon graduating, our students enter high school empowered by their rich experience of faith, service and intellectual discovery. Program highlights: Highlights of our curriculum include a faculty member trained in Positive Discipline, a Child First team that supports each child individually, and participation in the University of Notre Dame Trustey STEM Fellows Program. All of our students participate

in service activities throughout the year: Service Day, homeless lunches, Thanksgiving baskets and more. Saint Clement provides a high school prep team to assist the middle school students and families with the high school process. Saint Clement students have Spanish starting in PreK and in middle school they have Spanish every day. The most powerful takeaway for students: Saint Clement School is like a big family! The teachers are smart, they love and care for each student. Students are excited about coming to school each and every day, and enjoy getting to know all the students through their reading buddies. Saint Clement School has a playground on the ROOF! Your message to prospective parents: Saint Clement School boasts a welcoming, faith-based and loving community while also supporting students’ academic and social-emotional skills.

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Jewish Day Schools

Celebrate Knowledge... Chicago Jewish Day School A multi-denominational, progressive Jewish day school. Junior Kindergarten-Grade Eight 3730 N. California Ave., Chicago (773) 271-2700 chicagojewishdayschool.org Cortney Stark Cope, Director of Admissions

Keshet Pre-K through Transition 3210 Dundee Road, Northbrook (847) 205-0274 keshet.org/education Dr. Melinda Remaly, Director of Education

Celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week Jan. 26 - Feb. 1

Grace Lutheran School Preschool (age 3) through 8th grade Bill Koehne, Principal 7300 Division, River Forest (708) 366-6900 • graceriverforest.org

St. John Lutheran Church and School Preschool (age 3) through Grade 8, before and after school care Jon Woldt, Principal 501 W. Park Ave., Libertyville (847) 362-4424, ext. 2002 stjohnslib.com

Pilgrim Lutheran School Preschool (age 3) through 8th grade Chris Comella, Principal 4300 N. Winchester Ave., Chicago (773) 477-4824 • pilgrimchicago.org Lutheran schools admit students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin. 34 MAKING THE GRADE 2020

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c i s u M F to our

ears

Year of Chicago Music highlights city’s best sounds BY HILLARY BIRD • ILLUSTRATIONS BY SWISS COTTAGE DESIGNS

amilies have been flocking to the lakeshore since Mayor Anton Cermak started the Grant Park Music Festival in the 1930s as a way to get families downtown during the Depression. Chicago has upped its festival game over the last 80 years with more reasons and places to find music in the city. Chicago-style jazz was formidable in the Prohibition era and by the 1970s and ‘80s, Chicago was a hotbed for rock and roll, R&B, punk, metal and jazz musicians. With the invention of house music, the city solidified its roots as a music mecca. There remain lots of great places in Chicago to see, learn and play music, especially for families. The citysupported Juicebox series helps parents start babies and toddlers down a path to music while the Chicago Symphony Orchestra hosts kid-friendly concerts. As The Year of Chicago Music kicks off, the city’s history is on display as well as the many ways to engage families in the dynamics of music.

A

–Downtown & Loop–

rtists in the 1950s through the ‘70s could take a walk down Michigan Avenue to find a recording studio to help produce an album. Record Row—from Cermak to Roosevelt—held several recording studios and was an R&B, jazz and blues mecca. (The Rolling Stones even wrote a song called “2120 South Michigan Avenue” about Chess Records along the stretch.) Today, there are museums to visit, and downtown is the hotbed of music festivals galore from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends. Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.): A movie theater built in 1921, it was renovated as a music venue, and in ’86 Frank Sinatra reopened the theater. Families can take tours at noon daily. Record Row & Chess Records (2120 S. Michigan): Chess Records has become Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation, a museum with tours Tuesdays-Saturdays. Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.): In addition to Juicebox performances, the center is home to chamber and classical music gigs.

16 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Chicago School of Music (900 N. Franklin): Kids can take lessons on almost any instrument and learn jazz and blues. Navy Pier & ChicagoFest (600 N. Grand Ave.): Navy Pier hosted ChicagoFest, a musical celebration that included a floating stage from 1978-1982. It continues to host concerts for all ages. Chicago Board of Trade (141 W. Jackson Blvd.): The original “Soul Train” was produced out of WCIU’s old studios at the Chicago Board of Trade, along with “KiddieA-Go-Go,” a Chicago-style American Bandstand.


Lawrence Neuman Violist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra I was not motivated to practice when I was a child. My parents asked me or cajoled me to practice, and that was that. It’s possible that there were some pieces that I enjoyed playing, but I don’t recall ever going to the violin of my own volition (I started on the violin, not viola). Practicing—or knowing how to practice—is a skill in itself, and it can take a lot of time to develop.

Practice makes Perfect How to fill the house with music

Y

BY DANIELLE BRAFF

our child begs and pleads to play the piano, the violin, [insert instrument]. So, you rent one and you sign her up for lessons. A week passes and she practices daily. Then it dwindles until it stops and you turn into a nag, begging and bribing to hear practicing even for a minute or two. Sound familiar? Is this normal? Are there any kids who actually enjoy practicing their instruments—and how did their parents manage to develop them into these musical unicorns? As Chicago kicks off its Year of Chicago Music initiative, we asked professional Chicago musicians and a music student about practicing. Spoiler alert: sometimes, the pros needed to be bribed to practice, too.

Tips for getting your child to practice Set a regular time. Have them do it when they first come home from school or before school, says Laura Voigt, pianist and piano teacher. Act like it’s a given, like brushing your teeth, doing your math or clearing the table.

Audrey Keller

Six instruments, sixth-grader I tend to have my parents remind me, but a lot of the time, it’s a choice between dishes and instruments. It’s really hard to stop once I start, so I could practice for hours. … Parents need to tell their kids that if they want to continue playing, they need to practice, or they cannot play; if they truly want to play, they will practice.

Che Smith

Bribery. Money works, says Oto Carrillo, French hornist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “I’m kinda not kidding.” He’s bribed his own kids with access to the internet. Remind them every day. Parents should understand that almost every kid has to be reminded, or even forced against their will to practice, says John Bruce Yeh, clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “My older daughters’ piano teacher told my girls once, ‘You only have to practice on days that you eat,’” he says. His parents would wake him up to practice before they gave him breakfast.

Sit with them. A self-motivated child is a parent’s fantasy, says Joann Cho, pianist and founder of the Oak Park School of Music. “My mom was the one who sat down with me during each practice session and helped me recall my teacher’s notes from each lesson. She was strict sometimes, but in retrospect, I’m glad she was. I was sometimes reluctant to start practicing, but would often lose myself in the music a few minutes into the process.” Make goals. Give your child a handful of very specific goals for each practice session, Cho says, adding that parents should set up a weekly practice schedule. Allow review pieces. “Don’t discourage them from playing something just because they should ‘move on,’” from something they’ve already learned, Cho says. Sometimes, these review pieces help maintain confidence.

AKA Rhymefest, a Chicago-based hip hop artist Music is already in our souls and doesn’t need to be forced on anyone. I think parents should let children experiment with multiple ways of creating music, traditional and non-traditional. We must be careful not to place the weight of our own musical ambitions upon our children: they’ll want to practice naturally if we allow them the space to grow ... I’d suggest making music a part of everyday life for how your family expresses itself. Instead of television and video games, play songs after dinner. Rather than everyone being isolated with headphones or phones during car rides, play fun songs.

Stephanie Browning

Chicago-based jazz singer My mom was responsible for waking me up early to practice before school. But later I became obsessed with playing scales in different meters. … I’d suggest that others find a hook like a favorite song, and even if it’s not what’s on your practice agenda, you should put your energy into that thing that lights you up. … At this point, don’t make it about excellence, make it about joy and self-expression.

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CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 17


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Musito oucr ears

School of Rock (3254 N. Lincoln Ave. & 1913 W. Chicago Ave.): Kids as young as 5 hoping to find their sound in rock can take percussion, bass, piano & keyboard, voice and guitar lessons at the home to young rock music. Families in the suburbs can also find schools in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Elmhurst, Evanston, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Highwood, Hinsdale, Libertyville, Mokena, Naperville, Northbrook, Oak Park, Park Ridge, Plainfield and Schaumburg.

Metro (3730 N. Clark St.): Bands like R.E.M., Fallout Boy, Chance the Rapper and Smashing Pumpkins graced the Metro stage in their early years and Bob Dylan and James Brown hit the Wrigleyville scene during stops in Chicago. Wrigley Field (1060 W. Addison St.): Not just home of the Chicago Cubs, the stadium has filled for the likes of Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, AC/DC, Pearl Jam and Lady Gaga. In 2020, Wilmette-based Fallout Boy will join Green Day and Weezer on a tour that will stop at Wrigley Field.

Gallagher Way (3635 N. Clark St.): Located just outside the Friendly Confines, Gallagher Way holds summer music concerts, child & parent music classes, family movie nights and Rock & Roll Playhouse events.

Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N. Lincoln Ave.): Known for its Wiggleworms classes for babies, Old Town teachers instruct toddlers to adults on instruments like the banjo, guitar, fiddle, piano and ukulele.

n the 1990s, bands like Liz Phair and Smashing Pumpkins set up shop in Wicker Park, and Billboard Magazine dubbed the area “Cutting Edge’s New Capital” in 1993. Indie rock and punk had found its home before the turn of the century, and after the area’s gentrification, the North Side became home to studios of music houses that today teach classes to young musicians and help elementary and middle school kids thrive on instruments.

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- North Side -


Sources: DCASE; musician, DJ, archivist and author James Porter; and musician, author and writing instructor Phil Rockrohr.

Beverly Arts Center (2407 W. 111th St.): In the heart of Beverly, the BAC is the home to a fine arts school as well as a concert venue for artists ranging from zydeco to country to cover bands. Kids beginning at six months can take classes in music, dance, art and theater at the school.

Guaranteed Rate Field (333 W. 35th St.): Like Wrigley Field on the North Side, the home of the Chicago White Sox has also been a hotbed for concerts and family events. In 2016, “Magnificent Coloring Day” concert brought Chance the Rapper, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kanye West, Common and Hannibal Buress to perform for a nearcapacity crowd.

The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W): A restaurant and music venue, The Promontory is home to some of the South Side’s most family friendly music. With Baby Soul Jam and most evening shows all ages, The Promontory makes music accessible to everyone.

Honky Tonk BBQ (1800 S. Racine Ave.): Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not all Rockabilly here (though there is some). With musical artists that play everything from bluegrass to blues to Latin rock, honky tonk is a food and fun destination for family and friends to find new bands and new sounds.

Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport St.): Modeled after an opera house in Prague, Thalia Hall hosts the Rock & Roll Playhouse shows for families monthly.

he diversity of families on the South Side, from Pilsen to Bronzeville to Beverly, has brought out a diversity of sounds. The Great Migration to Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century helped make the city a hub for jazz music, which opened the door to R&B and rap stars who called Chicago home. House music found its hub on the South Side, with surrounding jazz and blues influencing its rise. Families still flock to the South Side for music and parties for the preschool set thanks to Rock and Roll Playhouse at Thalia Hall.

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- South Side -


Calendar

25 family-friendly

events you can’t miss

JANUARY seasons with a playful pair of bears beginning Jan. 25 at Chicago Children's Theatre.

Black Creativity Family Day. Families

can participate in a community art experience, design and test a prototype during the opening of the Innovation Studio and explore the Juried Art Exhibition Jan. 20 at MSI.

Family Build: MLK Day. Families with kids

ages 3 and older explore the Chicago Architecture Center’s galleries to learn fun facts, find hidden gems and participate in hands-on demonstrations Jan. 20.

Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures. Hit the

Beauty and the Beast PHOTO CREDIT LIZ LAUREN

Drag Queen Story Hour. Enjoy a fun-filled

sing-along story time with readers from Kiki Queens Jan. 4 at Peggy Notebaert.

Dino Activity Day.

Learn more about fossils with hands-on activities Jan. 4 at Lizzadro Museum’s new Oak Brook location.

Beat Kitchen Winterfest. Jam

out to sets from some of Chicago's best “kindie" musicians and enjoy activities in the party room Jan. 5.

Girls Build! Day.

Listen to an interactive panel discussion on careers in STEM Jan. 11 at Chicago Architecture Center.

Trolls Live! Poppy,

Branch, Cooper, Cloud Guy, Smidge, Guy Diamond, Fuzzbert, Biggie (and of course Mr. Dinkles) invite kids into the colorful world of Troll Village for interactive performances Jan. 11-12 at Chicago Theatre.

The Pigeon Comes to Chicago

Family Day: Museum of Contemporary Art. Take part in

20 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

workshops, open studio sessions, gallery tours and performance on Jan. 11.

Bunny's Book Club. A new play cel-

ebrates the joy of reading in this world premiere adaptation of Annie Silvestro’s celebrated picture book beginning Jan. 11 at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago.

Rose Queen Craft. Make pink

8-16 can make their own gemstone jewelry to keep on Jan. 18 at Lizzadro in Oak Brook.

Wake Up, Brother Bear. This interactive

show that will take theatergoing cubs on a fun-filled journey through the four

PJ Masks Live! Save The Day.

Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and the Baddies delight fans of all ages with live performances and immersive interactivity Jan. 23 in Rockford.

{ }

crafts with Roselle’s Rose Queen on Jan. 11 at the Roselle Public Library.

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony. Watch

Rockin' Jewelry for Kids. Kids ages

road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a highoctane ride. Performances Jan. 23-26 at Allstate Arena and Jan. 29-Feb. 2 at United Center.

and listen to the beloved cartoons and classical music of Bugs Bunny Jan. 18 at Symphony Center.

Disney on Ice


Calendar Chicago shows classic cartoons Jan. 26 projected in the food and beverage space plus all-you-can-eat cereal from the cereal bar.

Nature Cat: Backyard and Beyond. See the That's Weird, Grandma PHOTO CREDIT EVAN HANOVER

Eagle Watch.

Nature fans ages 6 and older can travel to Starved Rock State Park to view wild eagles fishing along the river, make crafts and participate in hands-on activities Jan. 25.

National Geographic Live: On the Trail of Big Cats. Follow

photographer Steve Winter into the wild and unpredictable

world of big cats during a presentation Jan. 26 at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Aon Step Up for Kids. Step-

pers can climb the Aon Center in Chicago to raise money for Lurie Children's Department of Family Services Jan. 26.

Sunday Morning Cartoons.

Kohl Children’s Museum’s collaboration with WTTW before it leaves Jan. 26.

The Pigeon Comes to Chicago! A Mo

Willems Exhibit. Interact with friend duo Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon in an exhibit at Chicago Children's Museum through Jan. 20.

Beauty and the Beast.

See the stunning presentation of one of Disney’s most beloved animated films comes to life through Jan. 19 at Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre in Aurora.

ComedySportz. Check out Chicago’s longestrunning, game-based improv comedy show on weekends, plus a sensory-friendly performance Jan. 26 in Chicago.

Romeo & Juliet Ballet.

Watch 55 of Ukraine’s brightest and most talented ballet stars perform William Shakespeare’s tale of tragic love, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev on Jan. 26 at Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

That's Weird, Grandma: Travels Through Time.

Laugh to the stories written by Chicago students that lead the PlayMakers Laboratory theater show on Sundays beginning Jan. 19 at Neo-Futurist Theater in Chicago.

Wndr Museum in

National Geographic Live: On the Trail of Big Cats Nature Cat

PHOTO CREDIT STEVE WINTER

Adler Planetarium

Answer the call to ‘look up’

H

ow many times have you looked up to the stars, if only to find the moon while illustrating Good Night, Moon? The folks at Adler Planetarium are betting the answer is close to “lots of times,” and the newest exhibit at the museum is dedicated to the art of looking up. “Chicago’s Night Sky” showcases what the sky over the city has looked like throughout history and allows families to find better ways to see all of the stars. In addition to learning where the stars are in relation to the city, families can learn about light pollution and what it means when trying to best view the night sky. Kids can also create their own constellations using an interactive station and visit the Atwood Sphere, which originated in Chicago and shows what the sky looked like in 1913. There are also lots of pieces from Adler’s collection in the exhibit, including a Celestial Globe made by Gerardus Mercator in 1551, a Celestial Sphere made in Pakistan in the 1600s and a star finder from 1871. The 5,000-square-foot exhibition will also be a home to art exhibits about the night sky and a spot for some of Adler’s youth initiatives, such as Zooniverse, Far Horizons and Youth Organization for Lights Out. Hillary Bird

Chicago’s Night Sky Free with museum admission 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily adlerplanetarium.org CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 21


main National Geographic Live: On the Trail of Big Cats PHOTO CREDIT STEVE WINTER

2 | THURSDAY YOU! The Explorer. Explorers

Dino Activity Day. Learn more

ages 6-10 will navigate through the wild forest on an adventure with friends to answer the mystery of the forest. $20. 1-3 p.m. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901, hellernaturecenter.org.

about fossils with hands-on activities. $8. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, Oak Brook. (630) 833-1616, lizzadromuseum.org.

3 | FRIDAY Drop-In Small Wonders Art for Kids. Artists ages 4-12 will take part in a variety of creative visual and performing arts activities. $5 donation. 4:15-6:15 p.m. Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin. sidestreetstudioarts.org.

Secret Agent Storytime.

SUBURBS

Junior agents ages 0-4 and their families will sing, dance, read books, and make crafts with Agent Zach. 11 a.m.-noon. The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. (646) 239-9625. secretagentsupply.com.

5 | SUNDAY

11 | SATURDAY

CHICAGO

CHICAGO

Girls Build! Day. An interactive

Beat Kitchen Winterfest.

panel discussion that will enlighten and empower girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering

Featuring Chicago’s best “kindie” music and activities in the party room. $10. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Beat Kitchen. beatkitchen.com.

About the calendar 4 | SATURDAY CHICAGO

Drag Queen Story Hour. Enjoy a fun-filled sing-along story time with readers from Kiki Queens. Free with admission. 11 a.m.-noon. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. naturemuseum.org.

22 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

The deadline for submitting listings for the February issue is Dec. 30. All events are subject to change. Please confirm before you go. Events taking place on four or more dates during the month are listed in Ongoing Events, beginning on page 24. ■

Searchable listings updated daily ChicagoParent.com/calendar

and Math. $8 chaperones, $6 member chaperones, Free students. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. architecture.org.

CAC Family Day. Families with kids ages 3 and older can explore the galleries to learn fun facts, find hidden gems and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. (312) 922.3432, architecture.org.

Family Day: Museum of Contemporary Art. Take part in workshops, open studio sessions, gallery tours and performances. Free for families with kids 12 and under. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum of Contemporary Art. mcachicago.org.

SUBURBS

Rose Queen Craft. Make pink crafts with the Rose Queen. Registration required. 2-3:30 p.m. Roselle Public Library, Roselle. (630) 529-1641, roselle.lib.il.us.


main

18 | SATURDAY

25 | SATURDAY

SUBURBS

SUBURBS

Rockin’ Jewelry for Kids. Kids ages 8-16 can make their own gemstone jewelry to keep. $12, $10 members, reservations required. 10:30-11:45 a.m. Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, Oak Brook. (630) 833-1616, lizzadromuseum.org.

Preschool & Daycare Fair. Chat with teachers and administrators face-to-face to help your family sort through preschool decisions. 10 a.m.-noon. NilesMaine District Library, Niles. (847) 663-1234, nmdl.libnet.info.

20 | MONDAY

Preschool and Enrichment Fair. Meet program representatives and gather information about preschools and preschool activities in the area. 10 a.m.-noon. Evergreen Park Public Library, Evergreen Park. (708) 4228522, evergreenparklibrary.org.

Eagle Watch. Nature fans ages 6 and older will travel to Starved Rock State Park to see a live bird show, view wild eagles fishing along the river, make crafts and participate in hands-on activities. Dress warmly and for walking. $24. 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 4336901, hellernaturecenter.org.

Black Creativity Family Day. Families can participate in a community art experience, design and test a prototype during the opening of the Innovation Studio, and explore the Juried Art Exhibition. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. msichicago.org.

Family Build: MLK Day. Families with children ages 3 and older can explore the galleries to learn fun facts, find hidden gems and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago. architecture.org. Natural Naturalist Animal Encounter. Nature fans ages 6 and older will meet live animals up close and have the opportunity to touch some. $10. 2-4 p.m. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901, hellernaturecenter.org.

Total-T Magic Show. Enjoy a fun magic show starring veteran magician Terrance Hunter. 2-3 p.m. Morton Grove Public Library, Morton Grove. (847) 929-5102, mgpl.org.

26 | SUNDAY CHICAGO

National Geographic Live: On the Trail of Big Cats. Follow photographer Steve Winter into the wild and unpredictable world of cats as he reveals some of his most memorable experiences from working with big cats and discusses the work being done to protect them. $42+. 3 p.m. Auditorium Theatre. auditoriumtheatre.org.

Aon Step Up for Kids. Steppers can do either a half or full climb of the Aon Center, an 80-story, 1,136-foot-tall building to raise money for Lurie Children’s Department of Family Services. Visit event website for entry information. 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Aon Center. foundation.luriechildrens.org. Sunday Morning Cartoons. Wndr Museum shows classic cartoons plus all-you-can-eat cereal from the cereal bar. $20, Free 10 and under with adult. 10 a.m.-noon. Wndr Museum. wndrmuseum.com.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 23


ongoing EXHIBITS

The Pigeon Comes to Chicago!

Amazing Pollinators. Featuring

PHOTO CREDIT: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF PITTSBURGH

a colorful maze, Amazing Pollinators immerses visitors in diverse environments in need of pollination, including gardens, farms, rainforests and deserts. Free with museum admission. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. naturemuseum.org.

Art on theMart. Curated digital art installation across 2.5 acres of theMART’s river façade. About 4-6 p.m. WednesdaysSundays. The Merchandise Mart, Chicago. artonthemart.com. Bixbee Imagination Station. Rooms inspired by Bixbee product design themes, each providing Instagrammable backdrops with engaging activities. $30, $23 ages 3-11, free 2 and under. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. through Jan. 20. North Avenue Collection, Chicago. bixbeeimaginationstation.com.

Chicago’s Night Sky. This 5,000-square-foot exhibition encourages people to look at the sky. Free with museum admission, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Adler Planetarium, Chicago. adlerplanetarium.org. Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light. The Grand Tree takes center stage, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees. Free with museum admission. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; extended hours on select days through Jan. 5. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. (773) 6841414, msichicago.org.

Enchanted Railroad. Watch an intricate miniature model railroad wind through scenery that the whole family can enjoy. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays beginning Jan. 17. Morton Arboretum, Lisle. mortonarb.org.

Illumination: Tree Lights. Walk a mile-long path to marvel at and interact with lighted trees. $13-$23 adults, $7-$15 kids. 4:30-9:30 p.m. through Jan. 5. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.

Lightscape. Along a mile-long path, the night comes alive with

color, imagination and sound. $17$25, $8-$13 ages 3-12, free under 3. 4:30-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Jan. 5. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe. chicagobotanic. org/lightscape.

Fantastic Bug Encounters. Told from a bug’s point of view, Fantastic Bug Encounters! invites you to take a closer look at the beauty, diversity and abilities of these resourceful creatures. $6+. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Field Museum, Chicago. fieldmuseum.org.

Flurry Days. Enjoy Polar Express kiddie train rides, character appearances, snowman parades, story strolls through the Habitat Park holiday lights and more. Free with museum admission, fees for some activities. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Jan. 5. Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview. (847) 8326600, kcmgc.org/flurry.

Nature Cat: Backyard and Beyond. In collaboration with WTTW, Nature Cat and his friends encourage kids to explore the natural world. Free with museum admission through Jan. 26. Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview. kohlchildrensmuseum.org.

The Pigeon Comes to Chicago! A Mo Willems Exhibit. Many familiar characters are featured including best friend duo Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny and the wily city bird best known for his antics in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Free with museum admission. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Jan. 20. Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago. chicagochildrensmuseum.org.

Remembering Dr. King: 19291968. Walk through a gallery of key moments in Dr. King’s work and Civil Rights Movement. Free with museum admission. Chicago History Museum, Chicago. chicagohistory.org/visit.

Stunning Stories in American Indian Jewelry. For thousands of years, artisans have expressed their cultural stories in a wide range of jewelry. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. TuesdaysSaturdays, noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Evanston. (847) 475-1030, mitchellmuseum.org.

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier. Indoor ice skating, entertain-

On the Right Track: By Rail to Chicago & Beyond. Visitors

ment, rides and inflatable slides. $10-$28, through Jan. 12. Check website for schedule. Navy Pier, Chicago. navypier.com.

will discover how Chicago-area railroads helped create the suburban transportation landscape. Free with museum admission. 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays & Sundays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst. (630) 833-1457, elmhursthistory.org.

Wired to Wear. The first-ever exhibit dedicated to wearable technology—smart clothing and devices designed to extend the human body’s capabilities. Recommended for ages 6 and older. $12, $9 ages 3-11, $6

24 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

members. Timed ticket required. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. (773) 684-1414, msichicago.org.

ZooLights. More than two million lights illuminate the zoo. 4:30-9 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through Jan. 5. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. lpzoo.org/zoolights.

OTHER EVENTS

DAILY Story Time. Listen to a story selected for the littlest visitors, and then keep the fun going with games and activities. Free with admission. 11 a.m. daily. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. (773) 755-5100, naturemuseum.org.

Winter Play. A self-guided glimpse into the world of outdoor play. Free with admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.

SUNDAY Family Build Lab. Join experts in the studio for themed stations to introduce you and your family to architecture basics, a design challenge and a take-home project. Recommended for families with children ages 3 and up. $12, free members. 10 a.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago. architecture.org.


ongoing

Fiddleheads. Join the conservatory for activities and projects that get kids and families wondering about the plants and the natural world. Each week is a different science-based activity. Noon-4 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, garfieldconservatory.org. Weekend Crafts. Explore the Native American culture with crafts for different age groups. Crafts change monthly. Free with admission. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston. (847) 475-1030, mitchellmuseum.org. MONDAY Morning Glories. Children and their caregivers can explore different areas of the Children’s Garden. Educators provide storytime, imaginative play and sensory activities. Recommended for 5 and younger. Free, donation requested. 10 a.m.-noon. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 638-1766, garfieldconservatory. org.

Art Games. Children create art through playing games and play games while creating art. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder-works.org.

Wired to Wear

explore nature, get their hands dirty and discover new things about plants, animals and nature. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 4-7 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, garfieldconservatory.org.

Mindfulness and More. Oral storytelling and mindful awareness games. Free with museum admission. 3:30 p.m. Wonder Works Children’s Museum, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder-works.org.

Songs and Stories. Attend every Thursday afternoon for songs and stories. Entry includes cost for open play. $12, Free enrolled families. 3:30 p.m. Bubbles Academy, Chicago. bubblesacademy.com. Teen Open Studio. Design professionals and CAC education staff provide project supplies and offer suggestions for teens working on design projects. 5-7 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago. architecture.org.

THURSDAY TUESDAY Kido Books Storytime. The story time specializes in books that feature multicultural characters and encourage empathy and inclusivity. 10:30-11 a.m. KIDO, 1137 S. Delano Court, Chicago. kidochicago.com.

Little Playtimes. Legoland opens early for toddlers and their parents. $10 in advance; $12 at door; free kids 2 and under. 10 a.m.-noon. Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg. chicago. legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

WEDNESDAY Wild Wednesdays. Kids

FRIDAY

Slot Car Free Play. Enjoy racing slot cars, hot chocolate, a coloring station and a game room. 5-9 p.m. Fieldhouse Jones, Chicago. fieldhousejones.com.

Play Late Thursdays. On the first Thursday of each month, kids take center stage with programs including open mic nights with guest MCs to run the show, themed dance parties for the whole family, kid-friendly and kid-starring performances and more. The rest of the month on Thursdays, entrance late in the day is $14.95 for up to four people, $5 each additional person. 4-8 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000. chicagochildrensmuseum.org.

Slot Car Free Play. See Thursday.

SATURDAY Kids Pokémon League. The Cat & Mouse Games Kids’ Pokemon League brings together kids 6-12 serious about learning how to play the game. Participants need to understand the official rules and be able to play independently. For those who need to learn, there is a drop-in group instructional session 10-10:30 a.m. Must have a deck of 60 cards. 10:30 a.m.-noon. Cat & Mouse Games, Chicago. cat-n-mouse.com.

Little Squirrels Storytime. Stories and songs celebrating classic literature for preschoolage kids. Free with admission. 10:30-11:30 a.m. American Writers Museum, Chicago. (312) 374-8790, americanwritersmuseum.org.

S.T.E.A.M. Saturdays. Each week, kids get a chance to learn more through play focusing on chemistry, geometry and physics. Free with museum admission. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder-works.org. Family Fishing. This 2 1/2-hour class for fishermen ages 8 and older includes in-class instruction and on-the-water fishing (weather permitting). $5. 8-10:30 a.m. Northerly Island, Chicago. chicagoparkdistrict.com. Family Drop-In Days. Explore with the kid-friendly Young People’s Guide, which offers activities and learning tools for Biennial installations. Noon-3 p.m. through Jan. 5. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago. chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org. Slot Car Free Play. See Thursday, Saturday times: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Fiddleheads. See Sunday. Weekend Crafts. See Sunday. Saturday times: 11 a.m.-noon.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM January 2020 25


performances Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience. The fast-paced show is perfect for the entire family. $39.95-$79.95. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays & 8 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 5. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago. broadwayInchicago.com.

Romeo & Juliet Ballet. Watch 55 of Ukraine’s most talented ballet stars perform William Shakespeare’s tale of tragic love, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev. $35-$65. 3 p.m. Jan. 26. Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre, Aurora. paramountaurora.com. Storytown. Kids design the setting and help shape the story, and the Storytown actors, artists, and musicians bring it to life. $10. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Stage 773, Chicago. storytownimprov.com.

Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures

Beauty and the Beast. One of Disney’s most beloved animated films comes to life with bright costumes and songs to remember. Recommended for ages 5 and older. $34-$75. Through Jan. 19. Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre, Aurora. paramountaurora.com.

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony. Watch and listen to the beloved cartoons and classical music of Bugs Bunny. $30-$95. 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago. cso.org.

Bunny’s Book Club. Celebrate the joy of reading in this world premiere adaptation of Annie Silvestro’s celebrated picture book. $20, $15 ages 2-18. 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays beginning Jan. 11. Lifeline Theatre, Chicago. (773) 761-4477, lifelinetheatre.com.

ComedySportz. Chicago’s longest-running, game-based improv comedy show is recommended for ages 7 and older. $25. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, plus 6 p.m. Saturdays. Sensory-friendly performance Jan. 26. ComedySportz Theatre, Chicago. (773) 549-8080, cszchicago.com.

Corduroy. Based on Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy, by Don Freeman, the play is recom-

mended for ages 3 and older. $17.50-$25. Through Jan. 5. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago. emeraldcitytheatre.com.

Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures. Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride. Other Disney characters in the show include Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, princesses Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana, and Maui and Moana. $20-$75. Jan. 23-26 at Allstate Arena, Rosemont & Jan. 29-Feb. 2 at United Center, Chicago. disneyonice.com.

Grace and The Hanukkah Miracle. An interfaith immersive experience designed for families of all beliefs, for those who like to solve puzzles and riddles, celebrate with friends, time travel and just be a part of an exciting story. $25. 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 5. Grace Lutheran, Evanston. (773) 236-2172, chicagoimmersive.com.

Love, Chaos, and Dinner. Dinner and unique circus event. $123 and up, includes four-course meal. 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, noon Saturdays & Sundays. The Cambria Hotel Loop-Theatre District, Chicago. broadwayinchicago.com.

26 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Mary Poppins. An enchanting show containing unforgettable songs and breathtaking dance numbers that will appeal to fans of all ages. $30 and up. Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. through Jan. 19. Drury Lane Theater, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 530-0111, drurylanetheatre.com. Mean Girls. Musical based on the movie about a naïve newbie who falls prey to a trio of frenemies. $31+. Through Jan. 26. James M. Nederlander Theatre, Chicago. broadwayinchicago.com.

Phantom of the Opera. Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical makes a return to Chicago as part of its North American tour. $42+. Through Jan. 5. Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago. broadwayinchicago.com.

PJ Masks Live! Save The Day. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and the Baddies delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring familiar and original music, acrobatics and immersive interactivity. $37+. 6 p.m. Jan. 23. Coronado Performing Arts Center, Rockford. pjmaskslive.com.

That’s Weird, Grandma: Travels Through Time. Stories written by Chicago students help lead the PlayMakers Laboratory plays through time. $20, $10 12 and under. 3 p.m. Sundays beginning Jan. 19. Neo-Futurist Theater, Chicago. playmakerslab.org.

Too Hot To Handel: The JazzGospel Messiah. Enjoy the music of a jazz combo, orchestra and choir. $29 and up. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18; 3 p.m. Jan. 19. Auditorium Theatre, Chicago. (312) 341-2300, auditoriumtheatre.org.

Trolls Live! Poppy, Branch, Cooper, Cloud Guy, Smidge, Guy Diamond, Fuzzbert, Biggie (and, of course, Mr. Dinkles) invite kids into the colorful world of Troll Village for this interactive performance only the Trolls can create. $29+. 10 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12. Chicago Theatre, Chicago. chicagotheatre.com/trolls.

Wake Up, Brother Bear. An interactive show that will take theater-going cubs on a fun-filled journey through the four seasons with a playful pair of bears. $22. 9:30 & 11:30 a.m. SaturdaysSundays beginning Jan. 25. Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago. chicagochildrenstheatre.org.


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L ast word

I Dilemma PARENTING

made my son do his own science project, but when I got to school to see all of the projects, I was embarrassed to see his compared to the other kids’ projects that were obviously put together by parents with time and money to spare. What’s the best way to handle this?

I have a second-grader and I see it all the time. My daughter comes back and says “so and so’s project was better or so and so did this” and it’s clear the kid didn’t do the project. As my dad says, “worry about what you do, not what others do” and it’s true. I tell her, “your project was better because you did it by yourself. Joey P. ■ ALWAYS have your kid do his/ her own projects. I despise parents who are so fixated on “winning” that they forgo the lesson. Kelley F. ■ Our kids’ teachers prefer it when the parents help out. I would just ask the teacher what their thoughts are on it. Jeff B. ■ In the long run your son will be so much better off. You are teaching him so many valuable lessons of life. Good for you. Linda H. ■ It depends on the child’s age, capacity and how big the project is. A child from 4 to 8 would need parent support and it is expected. At 9 and above it is expected that the child can read and write well, know how to do basic research, and it is expected he/she do most of the work, with little support. Johana M. 

You can help but let them do the project! You won’t be there when your son gets a job and has to do a project at work. People who do work for their kids (different from helping) are doing their kids a great disservice! Heather F. ■ First of all, the schools should make these projects kid friendly. Second of all, these parents should stop the competition of how perfect it looks and let the kids be creative no matter how good or bad it looks. Jim H. ■ Good for you for having your kid do his own project. I, too, had my daughter do her own science project. I don’t care if the other parents judge me. I’ve taught my child a valuable lesson about what she puts forth being good enough and THAT is what is

28 January 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

important to me. Jennifer E. ■ As a parent and a teacher, it’s obvious and NOT impressive when a parent clearly did the project for the child. My thirdgrader’s projects look like a thirdgrader did them, and his teachers are grateful for that. The same goes for students in my classroom. Keep it up, Mama! Kids need more resilience and less entitlement. Tricia P. ■ If you can see the parents’ involvement with the other kids’ projects, the teachers can, too. You are not doing your kid any favor by taking over these projects. I always love seeing what the kids made, and it’s sooo obvious when mom and dad took over! Valerie M.

■ I, too, have helped my kids with their projects, but I regret doing too much. The schools expect us to help, but do not insist that the kids do it themselves, therefore the parents end up doing too much of the work. The problem with that is that our kids never learn how to do things themselves. We are doing them a disservice by helping to much. You should be proud of your son and tell him you are. You did exactly what we should all be doing, letting our kids do their own projects. Geenah S. ■ 99% of parents go to Michaels and buy the projects that take a few steps to build or make and BAM your kid has a nice project. Rosie Z. 


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Discover your capable, confident Montessori child. Children learn best when they’re working with activities they love. At Guidepost, your child will enter the wonderful world of Montessori lessons and learning materials, designed to captivate and inspire. Montessori Spanish Immersion is now available for toddlers through kindergarten-age children.

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Profile for Chicago Parent

Chicago Parent, January 2020