New Eastside Area Schools Guide

Special back to school feature


Lakefront Children’s Academy fosters confidence and learning

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Now in its eighteenth year, Lakefront Children’s Academy is the longest running early education center in New Eastside. Children ages two to six are taught with an individualized curriculum that helps them build a positive attitude toward themselves and learning.

With decades of experience in childcare behind her, owner Cheryl Rogers says her methods for teaching and training educators have developed through trial and error. “You can’t have all academics and you can’t have only ‘learn-through-play,’” said Rogers.  

Teachers at Lakefront run their classrooms with a loving and nurturing, Mary Poppins-like approach. While guiding them through an advanced curriculum, they remain animated and excited to remind the students that learning is fun. The curriculum includes science and computer lessons, as well as activities focused on fostering confidence. School administrator Eilleen Mallary credits the school’s success to its teaching ideals.

“Our philosophy of ‘enriching the mind, one child at a time’ has allowed us to become an anchor of intellectual and cultural guidance in one of Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhoods,” Mallary says.

According to school representatives, 95 percent of preschool and kindergarten students who apply to Chicago’s top private and selected schools are accepted. With a maximum capacity of 57 students split into four classrooms, the average class size at Lakefront is one teacher for every six students. Full-day or half-day toddler childcare, preschool and kindergarten programs are available. Programs at Lakefront Children’s Academy run year-round with rolling admissions, and tuition ranges from $300–400 per week.

Lakefront Children’s Academy

400 E. Randolph St.

(312) 819-1760


Kiddie College at Maggie Daley Park

By Angela Gagnon | Staff Writer

The Chicago Park District’s affordable program for early learners named Kiddie College is housed in Maggie Daley Park’s Fieldhouse. The program is offered to children ages three to five

and runs throughout the school year. Class sizes are 20 students with two staff members. Children can learn with their peers through activities like circle time, crafts, music, fitness, stories and games.

“The Maggie Daley camps and classes are awesome,” says New Eastside resident Carolina Patino. “The staff is top notch and is part of the reason they are in very high demand.”

Securing a spot at the popular Kiddie College program requires some preparation. Parents browse offerings online as soon as they are listed, adding programs of interest to their wish lists,

and registering their child as soon as enrollment opens.

“Life stops for that period of registration,” jokes Reemaa Konkimalla, another Kiddie College parent. Still, many parents agree that it is well worth enduring the short period of registration anxiety to secure a spot for their youngsters.

Chicago Park District Kiddie College

Maggie Daley Park Fieldhouse

337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-742-3918


Ogden International School of Chicago

By Elaine Hyde | Editor

There are many quality schools in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system, from institutions using the Montessori educational approach to magnet and gifted schools. New Eastside is within the attendance boundary of Ogden International School of Chicago, a neighborhood

public school for grades K-8, and selective admission school for grades 9-12.

Offering an International Baccalaureate curriculum, registration typically occurs in August. A bus service, organized by parent volunteers, runs a pick-up and drop-off route in New Eastside.

Elementary grades K-5 attend the East Campus. Grades 6-12 attend classes at Ogden’s West campus.

Ogden International School of Chicago

East Campus (Grades K-5)

24 West Walton Street

Chicago, Illinois 60610

West Campus (Grades 6-12):

1250 West Erie Street

Chicago, Illinois 60642

P: 773.534.0866

F: 773.534.0869


GEMS World Academy fosters global citizenship

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

At GEMS World Academy Chicago, the city is an extension of the classroom, and learning often happens through regular field studies. The school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum emphasizes global citizenship, with a focus on mobile learning and creative use of technology. 

Currently, over 400 students in pre-K to ninth grade participate in technology-based expeditions led by experienced teachers. Recently, fifth graders designed a remotely operated vehicle with guidance from Shedd Aquarium scientists. They also used it to capture footage of a trout fingerling release project in Lake Michigan.  

“Lead teachers have masters degrees and at least seven years of experience,” says Delphine Lenoir, director of enrollment management, marketing and communications.

The mission of the school is to teach children how to be “intercultural learners” who will someday become global leaders. In connection with other GEMS schools worldwide, students work with their international peers through digital collaborations and travel exchanges.

Construction of a new Upper School, which will house grades 9-12, will be complete in 2018. Students already enrolled will move into the new building over the 2018-2019 winter break.

GEMS is “a school of the future,” says Ashley Demma, digital media and events manager. “There has never been a better time to join the GEMS family.”

Families interested in enrolling at GEMS can schedule a parent meeting, playgroup or shadow day. Applications for the 2018–2019 school year are taken during fall and are due by December 31.

GEMS World Academy Chicago

350 E. South Water St., Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-809-8900


British International School of Chicago, South Loop

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

British International School of Chicago, South Loop (BISC-SL) delivers a culturally diverse education to its students. With teachers whose experiences span six continents,

families from more than 30 nations are currently enrolled. Students from preschool to 12th grade learn under one roof without ever needing to change schools.

Since its 2015 opening, the 98,000-square-foot “purpose built” school has taught students under a “Be Ambitious” philosophy, encouraging curiosity, open-mindedness and a belief that all  students can pursue their dreams. 

The curriculum includes lessons in French, Mandarin, German and Spanish. “A worldwide perspective is embedded and celebrated every day,” says Courtney Cebula, director of communications for BISC-SL.

British International School of Chicago, South Loop also provides connections to 46 schools in Nord Anglia Education’s Global Campus network and collaborates with other schools like The Juilliard School for their music curriculum and STEAM lessons with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

With an average of nine students per teacher, each student receives individual attention to help them navigate the school’s curriculum. Tuition fees range from $13,350 per year for part-time nursery school, to $31,720 per year for secondary school (grades 6–12).

British International School of Chicago, South Loop

161 W 9th St

(773) 599-2472


Bright Horizons at Lakeshore East

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Emphasizing the importance of building social skills and fostering a love of learning, Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool offers programs for New Eastside children ages two to

five years old. At its Lakeshore East and River East locations, Bright Horizons

prepares children for grade school with language, math, art and science skills.

With a maximum enrollment of 42 students, class sizes are limited to eight students per teacher. The small classes give teachers the ability to observe each student individually and identify their

interests. Each program operates by teaching children with project-based learning, in which teachers observe and document the interests of each child, analyze their skills, and create

hands-on exploration projects based on that information.

“This approach allows children to problem solve and make decisions on their own from an early age,” says Jennifer Smith, Assistant Director at the Bright Horizons Lakeshore East location.

“It really encourages children to be the thinkers, rather than [letting] the objects or the toys or the activities [do] the thinking for the child,” she explains.

The Lakeshore East Program has limited Preschool and Kindergarten Prep availability. The school has a rolling admissions schedule. Families can start their admissions process as early as during pregnancy by joining the waiting list. Tuition ranges from $1,029 –$2,110 per month.

Bright Horizons at Lakeshore East

360 E. South Water St.

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-565-7300

Bright Horizons at River East

325 E. Grand Ave.

Chicago, IL 60611

312- 527-3573


The Frances Xavier Warde School

A community of thinkers and leaders

By Elaine Hyde | Editor

The Frances Xavier Warde School (FXW) is an independent Catholic school in downtown Chicago that welcomes and embraces all faith traditions.

In addition to a strong commitment to innovative education, FXW emphasizes serving others. There is also a solid focus on remaining purposely diverse and intentionally inclusive.The warm, welcoming environment at FXW is what draws many families to the school where its community is a defining quality.

FXW is comprised of two separate campuses. Old St Pat’s (OSP) is located in the West Loop and serves over 500 students from three-year-old preschool to third grade. Holy Name Cathedral (HNC), in the heart of downtown Chicago, has over 400 students in grades four through eight.

Upon graduation, FXW students take with them a passion for life long learning and a

commitment to being good citizens of the world. Applications for new preschool students will be available starting on September 15 and on October 1 for students applying to grades one to eight.

The Frances Xavier

Warde School

Holy Name Campus

751 N. State Street

Chicago, IL 60654

Old St Pat’s Campus

120 S. Desplaines Street

Chicago, IL 60661

Phone: 312-466-0700


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