CHICAGO — August 23, 2017 — American Montessori Academy has announced the opening of newly constructed Montessori classrooms and the completion of its ‘campus transformation,’ a project that began in late 2016 to renovate and expand its facility located in the historic Dearborn Station (47 West Polk St.). Enrollment for the new school year and year-round programs remains open for children 8 weeks to 9 years of age.
“We’re thrilled to open this incredible space and invite more families to a 21st century learning environment in which their children will grow to their fullest potential,” said Mahdi Dadrass, Executive Director and Co-Founder of South Loop Montessori School. “The new campus expands programing and increases capacity — in a setting that is truly unique and special to the South Loop — and helps us provide more resources for parents and our community.”
The updated facility features a second floor that was transformed from raw space into six additional state-of-the-art classrooms, a large motor room, and corridors for class observation. A central entrance and welcoming space for parents was also added, along with teacher resource rooms and faculty lounges. The project also included ADA-compliant bathrooms, energy-efficient utilities and technology, including a leading security system. Original classrooms located on the first floor experienced the same overhaul-style renovation, updating the entire south wing of the landmark building.
“In modernizing a space with such rich history and architectural brilliance, we seized a rare opportunity to design an environment that truly embraces the Montessori philosophy,” Dadrass added.
Each classroom was custom designed, uniquely suited to the needs of its students with defined spaces for each part of the curriculum and fully equipped with learning materials and child-sized features, such as reachable shelves, low sinks, chairs and tables — which are hallmarks of a Montessori classroom.
The space features high ceilings, brimming windows and an abundance of natural light. Unobstructed south-facing views of Dearborn Park and tree-lined west-facing views also helps bring nature into the classrooms.
An expansive natural playground is being completed outside the school, which will serve as an extension of the Montessori classroom. The innovative playscape promotes safer, collaborative and more natural play and learning opportunities with ecosystem exploration and study. The playground will also focus on organics and sustainability, encourage children to get back outdoors, and demonstrate the importance of instinctive play in the natural world.
“An increasing number of parents today are turning to Montessori for its all-encompassing approach to education,” said Sameer Shanbag, Administrative Director and Co-Founder of South Loop Montessori School. “In a neighborhood that continues to experience growth, our school serves a great need and plays an important role for children in their key developmental years.”
The school leadership hopes to expand further in the future and is currently hiring teachers and classroom aids to help maintain the student-to-teacher ratio and build its faculty of AMS / AMI Montessori Certified educators. Applications for student enrollment are being accepted online or at the school, located at 47 West Polk St. in Chicago, IL.
American Montessori Academy will be hosting an opening ceremony at the end of the summer to celebrate the new campus and playground. To schedule a tour or inquire about enrollment, visit our website.
About South Loop Montessori School
American Montessori Academy is a private learning institution that aims to deliver the highest standard of Montessori education in the Chicagoland area by meeting the academic, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs of children 8 weeks to 9 years of age. It offers year-round, all-day programs based upon the Montessori Method in a stimulating learning facility, located steps from Downtown Chicago in the historic Dearborn Station. It is a Full Member School of the American Montessori Society (AMS), a member of the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools and is registered with the Illinois State Board of Education, with program licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Visit our website to learn more.