A mix-age Montessori philosophy
implemented at the Pre-K level
Mixed-age classrooms are at the heart of the education philosophy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian pediatrician over a 100 years ago. Her work has transformed schools around the globe, and LilyPad is proud to bring her teachings to preschoolers in Chicago’s West Loop.
Our mixed-age pre-K environment allows each child to learn from and work with peers in a range of social, emotional, physical, and cognitive developmental stages. This arrangement mirrors the real world, in which individuals work and socialize with people of various ages and abilities.
Dr. Montessori believed when children are
given the freedom to choose their own learning activities a self-confident, inquisitive, creative child emerges-something that is exactly what millennial parents are looking for!
“My son began attending preschool at Lily Pad when he turned 3. He's become more independent and has learned to control his emotions better. The space inviting, peaceful, and very clean. The teachers walk the kids to local parks for their outdoor activity, and the organic snacks and lunches even manage to satisfy my very picky eater. Sometimes, I pick our son up after lunch and can tell you firsthand that his lunch looks and smells great. If you're looking for a preschool, definitely check out LilyPad.”
- Bea K.
ratio of 1-10
A small class with custom Independent Work Plans (IWPs) for each child.
Our Bullfrogs classroom has a low child-to-teacher ratio of 1:10. LilyPad uses Classroom Dojo, an app to easily communicate between teacher and parent(s) throughout the day. Each child in our program has a personalized Independent Work Plan (IWP) – something unique to Lily Pad. We foster Montessori’s “uninterrupted work period,” in which children in our Bullfrogs program have nearly 2 hours of time to select, focus on, and complete activities on their own.
Consistently participating in this cycle allows children to develop coordination, concentration, independence, and order, while also instilling a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It’s not uncommon to walk into our Bullfrog classroom and see a 5-year-old who knows all of the names of the countries in Africa, for example. Teachers guide by inviting children to explore the materials, like a globe.
A place for your preschooler to learn about diversity in a natural environment.
Dr. Montessori believed the environment a child learns in should mirror the community. Our Bullfrogs classrooms have a global feel, the natural diversity you get in the West Loop. For example, if you take a trip to India for work and bring back some souvenirs, Lily Pad welcomes you into the classroom to share your experience with everyone. We’ve had Taiwanese cooking demonstrations, learned about local Spanish festivals, and showed pictures of the Eiffel Tower.
Grace, courtesy, and empathy are vital to the culture and curriculum of our school. Our teachers follow a kindness curriculum that encourages pro-social behavior and a peaceful classroom environment that includes things like reading and discussing books that celebrate our differences in age-appropriate ways.