School Spotlight: Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile
Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Guidepost at Magnificent Mile serves a diverse community of children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old.
Serving over 130 students in the heart of downtown Chicago, Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile is a vibrant Montessori school for children aged six weeks to 12 years old. Our Magnificent Mile campus opened in 2018 in the city’s gorgeous Optima Signature building and is one of 19 campuses in the Chicago area.
Sarah Silverman, Guidepost at Magnificent Mile’s founding Head of School, joined Guidepost in 2017 as an Assistant Head of School at the Wicker Park campus. She launched Magnificent Mile a year later as the Head of School and has shown incredible leadership and dedication as she’s worked to build and nurture the campus over the past five years. “There are children who started with us as toddlers who are now preparing to enter our elementary program,” she shared. "It’s been amazing to watch their growth and to be a part of their educational journey in this way.”
Upon first entering the school, which occupies two floors of the mostly residential high-rise building, visitors are struck by its sleek, modern aesthetic. The classrooms are filled with natural light and are thoughtfully designed to provide children with the space they need to move, explore, and learn. “We’re really fortunate to have this as our home,” said Sarah. “In addition to the beautiful classrooms, we’re able to use some of the building amenities, like the basketball court, for physical education activities. And the front plaza area has become an integral space for parents and children to connect before and after school.”
Because the campus is so centrally located, children at the Magnificent Mile campus are able to enjoy much of what the city has to offer on a regular basis. “We're a few blocks from Navy Pier, and when the weather permits in the summer the children can go to the splash pad at Polk Brother’s Park,” Sarah explained. “We’re also so close to the Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry that our elementary students are able to extend their learning beyond the classroom with ease.”
In addition, a quaint park that the children can play in is just two blocks from the campus, and the school is also right next to the Chicago River. “Even though we’re in an urban setting and we’re not surrounded by lush green spaces, we find any green space we can, and we definitely utilize it!” said Sarah.
Inside the classrooms, materials are carefully chosen to appeal to each child’s interests and abilities. As they are throughout the Guidepost network, the classroom environments are intentionally designed to encourage both independence and deep learning. Montessori guides (teachers) gently guide children as they work, observing to understand their needs and providing individualized attention and support. "From our Nido (infant nursery) program all the way through elementary, the children are encouraged to work at their own pace and in their own way,” Sarah explained. "We really value freedom within limits, and our guides—some of whom have been with us since we opened in 2018—respect each child’s individuality.”
Montessori guides also work tirelessly to give holistic support—from helping each child build a strong academic foundation in math, literacy, science, and more, to developing fine and gross motor functioning, to cultivating important work skills like concentration, persistence, and time-management, to fostering social and emotional skills like cooperation and conflict resolution. Students in our Nido, Toddler Community, and Children’s House (preschool/kindergarten) at our Magnificent Mile campus have the added opportunity of building fluency in a second language in our Spanish Immersion program.
At Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile, children are able to take advantage of a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including chess, violin, and Mandarin classes, depending on their age. These activities enhance their overall school experience, helping them gain new skills while fostering a sense of community outside of the classroom.
Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile’s strong leadership and team, central location, thoughtfully designed environment, individualized approach to learning, and commitment to helping every child reach their full potential make it a true gem in the heart of downtown Chicago. For more information on the campus, visit their school webpage or book a tour.