Guidepost Montessori at Wicker Park is a Montessori community in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, located one block from Wicker Park itself. At the heart 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. Your child will love gardening in our engaging outdoor play spaces filled with native plant species and designed to encourage your child to explore. We welcome your family!
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.
Nicole Shemroske, Head of School
Ms. Nicole Shemroske has over 20 years of experience as a Montessori administrator and teacher in both Toddler and Children’s House communities. Nicole is devoted to helping children become creative, competent individuals, who are fully aware of themselves, others and the world around them. She is a founding team member for a high-fidelity Montessori school in the Northern suburbs of Chicago. Nicole imparts a love of learning to children through teaching self-motivation, persistence and concentration, modeling habits of inner discipline, order and self- confidence. As a school leader, Nicole is passionate about nurturing supportive learning environments by providing hands-on modeling and mentoring to classroom teachers, and being the steady and experienced go-to for parents who need additional resources and guidance on their own journey. Nicole holds her Early Childhood Montessori certification from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center at DePaul University.
Denise Archibald, Assistant Head of School
Ms. Denise Archibald graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a Master of Education (Ed.M.) in education policy and management. She also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in special education from National Louis University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing management and international relations from Virginia Tech. Denise began her career in education in 2010 as a Teach For America corps member where she taught elementary students with special needs. Over the past seven years, she has worked within the Chicago Public School system as a special education teacher, teacher leader, school operations manager, and program manager. Denise was attracted to the Montessori approach because it aligns closely with her belief that education should be child-centered and should facilitate the development of critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. In her leisure time, Denise enjoys exploring the Chicago food scene with her husband, redecorating her new home in Wicker Park, and beating as many escape rooms as possible.
Madonna Hinkle, Toddler Lead Guide
Ms. Madonna Hinkle earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from North Park University. Ms. Madonna started her teaching career 20 years ago in an Early Intervention program. She has worked in several Early Childhood Education programs since then, including a special needs program, Montessori and traditional child care settings. Ms. Madonna fell in love with the Montessori method and worked in a previous program for seven years. Ms. Madonna loves traveling around the world and has spent time both living and vacationing in various countries.
Maria Jesus Mirallas Salvador, Children's House Spanish Immersion Lead Guide
Ms. María Jesús holds a Master’s in Montessori Pedagogy (Ages 0-6) from the Universitat de Vic in Catalonia, Spain. She also holds her Montessori Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Ms. María Jesús started her teaching career 4 years ago as a Lead Guide in a Children’s House classroom in Spain. She enjoys learning new languages in her free time and is currently learning French.
Maria Waring, Children's House Lead Guide
After completing her Montessori certification from the Association of Montessori International (AMI), Ms. Maria Waring started her teaching career in her home country of India followed by many wonderful years of teaching in Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. She has spent the last 12 years working as a Lead Guide. When she isn't teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking and reading.
Patricia Trevino, Toddler Spanish Immersion Lead Guide
Ms. Patricia Trevino has over 18 years of experience working in Early Childhood Education. She graduated with her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College. Ms. Patricia enjoys every aspect of teaching, and has realized that children can teach us as much as we teach them. Her favorite part about teaching little ones is seeing their growth and development by facilitating their curious minds. Ms. Patricia has two boys of her own, one of whom is currently enrolled in our Spanish Immersion Children’s House Community here at Guidepost! Her favorite activities are going on nature walks and having picnics by the lake.
Paulina Dominguez, Children's House Spanish Immersion Lead Guide
Ms. Paulina Dominguez earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Universidad del Valle de Mexico. She also holds a Montessori Assistant to Infancy and Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Ms. Paulina started her teaching career seven years ago in a traditional school in Mexico but fell in love with Montessori after being a shadow teacher for a child with Asperger’s Syndrome who attended a Montessori school. Ms. Paulina is very passionate about Montessori and is always trying to learn more about it. In her free time, Ms. Paulina enjoys singing, traveling and listening to people's stories.
Saniyyah Khalilallah, Children's House Lead Guide
Ms. Saniyyah Khalilallah was born and raised in Blooomington-Normal, where she attended Illinois State University and graduated with a degree in psychology. She began her Montessori career as an assistant guide at another Montessori school in Chicago and went on to receive her AMS diploma from Seton Montessori Institute. She has five older sisters, eight nephews, and one niece. She tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes doing yoga. She enjoys reading, doing puzzles, and exploring the beautiful city of Chicago in her free time. Working with children is her passion, and she is so happy to have found her dream job at Guidepost Montessori!
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 AM and pick up as late as 6 PM.