Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile location at 226 E. Illinois St. will debut a new lower elementary school option this fall, as well as an additional space on the second floor of the Optima Signature building able to accommodate new classrooms.
The elementary program is designed for children ages 6-9 and begins Aug. 31, said Sarah Silverman, head of school at Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile. As of Aug. 5, space was filling up quickly and only about five spots were still available in the program, she said.
In accordance with the Montessori method, the program takes a child-led approach that encourages students' self-sufficiency and independence while tackling academic topics such as mathematics, reading, writing and cultural studies, Silverman said.
"We always follow the child," Silverman said. "We always try to figure out exactly where the child is and where their needs are, where their interests are. In many ways, they guide the education. Teachers have goals for what they want them to achieve, but the children are very much choosing for themselves what they're working on and what they enjoy doing."
At the elementary level, children will also participate in "Going Out," which Silverman described as small group field trips centered around the childrens' interests. For instance, students wanting to learn more about ancient Egypt might opt to visit a museum, she said.
"The child is actually the one that leads the charge," Silverman explained. "They figure out where could we go, when could we do it, what chaperones would we need to bring with us. The teachers are there to help, but the child is really leading the charge."
Construction on the second-floor expansion in the Optima Signature Building finished on Aug. 1, and the school is currently setting up six new classrooms in the space, Silverman said. There will be a new classroom for each age group at the school, including a room designed for infants aged 12 weeks through 12 months, she said.
Parents interested in enrolling their children in the school can do so online by clicking here, and families who would prefer to have a trained teacher work with their children at home have the option to take part in the Guidepost at Home program, Silverman said.
"We're doing these kind of in-home pods where a group of families, two or three families, can come together and have one of our trained guides come in and do in-home care," she said. " ... For some families, they're not comfortable returning to school, but they need more than just virtual school. So, that's where the in-home care really came in handy for a lot of our families."