Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile is a new Montessori community in the heart of downtown Chicago, located in the hub of the city between Navy Pier, the Riverwalk and the south end of the Magnificent Mile. At the core of our school is our belief that children thrive when given freedom and responsibility in Montessori environments prepared especially for them. Our bright, beautiful classrooms and caring staff members will nurture your child’s joy in learning. We welcome your family to our community!
Our beautiful campus and welcoming community is the perfect place for your child to explore her own potential.
Guidepost Montessori classrooms are light, airy, calming, aesthetically beautiful spaces. Each material is carefully chosen and carefully displayed — to inspire and entice your child to explore.
Children's House Classrooms
Ms. Sarah Silverman, Head of School
Ms. Sarah has spent the last 11 years working with students of all ages. She completed her bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and her master's degree in philosophy from the University of California Santa Barbara. It was while working on her doctoral dissertation that she realized her place was not in academia but instead surrounded by young learners, facilitating their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. She fell in love with Dr. Montessori's pedagogy and her focus on educating the whole child. Ms. Sarah helped to launch the first Guidepost Montessori school in Chicago in the Wicker Park neighborhood and is thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the new Chicago campus at Magnificent Mile. In her free time, she is also a resident head at the University of Chicago, where she lives and works with undergraduates within college housing. She loves to read and spend time with her husband, their two cats, and the fifty-six university students they live with.
Ms. Flossie Topping, Children's House Lead Guide
Ms. Flossie completed her Montessori Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale. Prior to this she worked as a lead teacher in a trilingual international preschool in Moscow, Russia and two bilingual international kindergartens in Osaka and Nagoya, Japan. It was here that she discovered her passion for early years education and language development and learned about the wonders of Montessori materials and their ability to empower children to be independent and guide their own learning. These are now the principles she teaches each day in the classroom, with the aim of forming a peaceful community.
Ms. Vanessa Morales, Children's House Spanish Immersion Lead Guide
Ms. Vanessa earned her bachelor's degree in Economics and French Language & Literature from the George Washington University. After graduating she participated in the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Auxiliares de Conversación program where she taught ESL at the elementary and high school levels for three years. She became interested in Montessori after learning about its goals to foster independence in young children. Once completing her training with Prepared Montessorian, she combined her love for Montessori and languages to become the Lead Guide in Children’s House Spanish Immersion at Guidepost. Her hope is to house an environment where learning Spanish is not only fun, but to use it as a tool to spread peace and unity. During her downtime, Ms. Vanessa enjoys running, learning more about her native Chicago, and eating Japanese food.
Ms. Monica Vega, Toddler Spanish Immersion Lead Guide
Ms. Monica began her journey of teaching three years ago and has since been in love with it. She first began teaching in an infant/toddler classroom at Northern Illinois University where she studied child development. Although she loved teaching in the classroom, she discovered and fostered the Montessori approach while working at the Chicago Children's Museum in Navy Pier. Although teaching children how to safely use a power drill on their own was fun, she decided it was time to go back to the classroom. Ms. Monica is a Chicago native who enjoys exploring the city, and works on her art when possible.
Ms. Shakenya Smith, Nido Lead Guide
Ms. Shakenya has been studying early childhood since the age of 16 when she took a course offered to students at her high school. She went on to attend Olive Harvey College where she majored in Early Childhood Development and minored in Psychology. Ms. Shakenya has been working with infants for almost 6 years at a variety of child care centers. She enjoys every aspect of teaching, and she is committed to providing a safe and caring atmosphere in which children feel comfortable to explore and learn. Through the years she's noticed that children can teach us more than we teach them. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her own children who are 13 months and 6 years old. She's very excited about her new journey at Guidepost!
Children are compelling in every way. They are fascinating, intriguing, charming, heartwarming creatures with infinite variation in personalities, tendencies, and interests.
The unique joy and sacred responsibility of a child's caretakers is to learn about her — to discover and fall in love with her as she grows, to let careful observation and observant care guide her development, and to get to know her well enough to help her shape herself. A child's teachers and parents are collaborators in this process that is at once scientific discovery and heartfelt nurturing.
To that end, our school is designed to further connect you with your child, to bring you into a community of valuable resources and education-minded people, and to make it as easy as possible for you to understand and support your child as she grows.
Insights into Your Child
The Montessori approach emphasizes careful, theory-informed, individualized observation of each child's development. We don't want to keep what we see to ourselves! The impact of these observations is greatest when shared with a child's parents.
At Guidepost, parents receive regular, detailed updates about their children. Classroom guides are available outside of class hours by phone, email, or for scheduled in-person meetings. Your child’s guide will also meet with you for regularly-scheduled conferences about your child's learning and growth.
We see these conversations, both periodic conferences and frequent exchanges, as critical for both giving and receiving information. They allow teachers to hear from the people most expert and most observant about a child: his parents.
Parents will also receive written progress reports two to three times per year, each a summary of a teacher's observations of the child over the course of the previous months. Meanwhile, day-to-day and week-to-week, parents receive regular updates from the teacher, in the form of photographs and written anecdotes about their child.
And finally, parents are able to directly access Transparent Classroom, the web-based system we use for careful record keeping and observations about your child. Transparent Classroom offers you an on-demand window into the lessons and classroom life of your child.
A great school offers the incredible resource of a trusted partner for parents in the education of their child. The simplest way to amplify that resource is to offer more of it: to offer it at flexible hours so that you can access a trusted, caring partner during days and times when you need us the most.
At Guidepost, we offer an extended school day program, where children thrive in the Montessori approach all day long. Early morning and late afternoon times offer children the downtime and free time they need in order to assimilate all that they have learned during the school day. Each child can find time to develop interests outside the classroom with expert guidance, and to explore an environment rich with opportunities.
To ensure that parents can rely upon a consistent social and recreational experience in a warm and expert school setting, our extended day schedule is offered inclusively with the cost of our programs: there is no extra charge for morning and afternoon extended day hours.
In addition, extracurricular programs are offered during the afternoon extended day, after class time is over. Parents and children can choose from a wide variety of optional activities designed to spark your child’s passion in some way.
Guidepost Montessori runs year-round. We know that we need to be available as a support for your family, so we minimize school closure days as much as we can. For enrolled families, a full calendar will be available on our Parent Portal.
Our typical school day runs from about 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, depending on the program. However, because we believe so strongly in supporting a partnership between home and school for families needing greater accessibility, our all-inclusive tuition price includes the option to utilize our extended day program. This means that your family can drop off as early as 7:00 AM and pick up as late as 6:00 PM.