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The Childrens School

Private | PK-8 | 100 students


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Living in Berwyn

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $119,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $890.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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24 reviews of this school

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Posted August 8, 2014

The Children's School is not exactly housed in "temporary shared space". The school has been at its present location for a number of years and just signed a five year lease at the same space. It is a former Catholic school, but TCS is the only tenant in its primary building (there is a sanctuary in the middle of the space, but it is closed off from the school). There are other tenants in other buildings on the campus. The building is old, but is reasonably maintained for its age and is cleaned regularly. Our family has never had any problems with any of the faculty - they have all been open and welcoming of any concerns. "Rigorous" means "severe or harsh", which is not what we want for our children - maybe you do. The school uses developmentally appropriate practices, so they will not push your child to read in kindergarten or send home piles of homework. The curriculum is play and exploration based with a heavy focus on student-led projects. TCS recognizes that there is more to success than high test scores. If that is your metric of concern, this is not the school for you. But if you care about your child's whole development as a unique human being, it is.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 22, 2014

This school is a work in progress. They are still trying to figure out basic structural logistics many established schools already have. The school is temporarily located in a shared space that is not maintained and unclean. The teachers' approach was too informal for a school environment. Teachers did not seem prepared and lacked the confidence and demeanor of a trained educator. Communication between the school's leadership and parents was a frustrating experience. The curriculum is not rigorous and overall the school seems more like a day camp than an actual place of esteemed learning. There are better options in Berwyn and nearby Oak Park.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 9, 2014

Our child absolutely loves The Children's School and literally bounds into school everyday. He is engaged and excited and has built a wonderful base of self-confidence. I have serious concerns, however, about the school's ability to meet our needs long term. In speaking with parents of older children, I have heard many frustrations, from the administration's inadequate response to disciplinary issues, to the failure of some teachers to treat all students equally, to wholesale gaps in the curriculum that leave children without basic knowledge like times tables, grammar rules, etc. While I laud the school's commitment to progressive education, it shouldn't be an either/or thing--the school should be able to provide a student-led learning environment while also being responsive to parents' concerns about discipline, faculty, and curriculum. As the school continues to grow, the administration must be more proactive in responding to parents' concerns with real solutions. Otherwise, they will soon find themselves with an attrition rate that leaves the school financially unable to sustain itself.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 1, 2014

The school continues to be a wonderful place for learning for our child. We love the teachers and the school's administrators. They are really approachable and committed to progressive education, project/ problem based learning, and reaching every child in a meaningful way.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 20, 2013

The Children's School is truly incredible. The teachers and administration put their soul into their work. All day, every day! The Director(s) welcome every child into school each day by name. It is such a warm environment and I continue to remain happy that my kids light up at school and are thriving. The project based curriculum allows kids to work in teams. It is cohesive, inclusive and democratic. They discuss social justice issues as appropriate to the age/grade level. You can see the genuine inquiry and excitement in the classrooms. It is such a positive environment and the teachers have a unique way to cultivate each child so he/she flourishes. They understand that all children are different and can learn in slightly different ways. Students are active, engaged participants in their learning; not just handed random facts to memorize. They learn by doing rather than just listening to a teacher's explanations. It is very obvious they are creating critical thinkers, confident citizens and preparing students for a global society. We are lucky to live so close to this school. It is a gem.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 30, 2013

This is our families third year at TCS, and we could not be happier. We have two very different children. One struggles with traditional academics, the other is constantly seeking the next challenge. Both are thriving at this amazing school. The staff is a delightful group of individuals. Each brings him/her whole self to the classroom. It is obvious that they work at TCS by choice and are committed to the mission of the school and the progressive education model. The administration is very visible, accessible, supportive, and sympathetic to the challenges of parenting. It is a shame that more kids can't experience the quality of education that TCS offers. Hopefully this type of school will someday be the norm instead of the exception!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 26, 2013

I have been an early childhood educator for 36 years and I can't say enough about The Children's School. In my opinion, it provides children with an exceptional education in the manner I think most children learn best-hands-on, project based learning. Administrators, teachers and children collaborate and everyone's voice is heard. Children light up when talking about their school and projects. They feel known by the community and it is like a second home. I have watched alumni from my own child care program enter every school in the area and none are as happy about their school, as the ones who attend TCS.. if you spend one hour at The Children's School you will see why. My wish is that every child had this opportunity. I especially feel this way now that Common Core is about to be adopted by our nation's schools. I urge you to visit The Children's School and talk to the students. When you see hear them talk about their school, you will want that enthusiastic love of learning for your own child. It is priceless....

Posted May 24, 2013

The Children's School has been amazing for our child. Our child has flourished in the problem and project based learning environment and we really appreciate the school's commitment to diversity. She learns not only important content, but also how to think and learn and ask questions about that content. The directors of the school do an excellent job of listening to and taking action on ideas from parents and teachers while staying true to the progressive education based mission of the school. The school leadership has our full support and confidence. The teachers do an excellent job of challenging, engaging and encouraging learning and critical thinking. We love how the parents are able to be heavily involved in decisions, volunteer in classrooms, and foster a sense of school community.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 10, 2013

Our child loved going to this school; we love the project-based learning, integrating learning with the whole person. However, the change in leadership, although a great opportunity for a young school's next stage of growth, was misrepresented & static. Strategic mission & educating about the progressive model, is not fully integrated to be embraced, which in and of itself creates stronger community. Despite parent input over the past couple years, attitudes tend to remain "we know better" rather than recognizing input as a force of positive change; it's one thing to present a program, quite another to experience it. "Experience" feedback is politely heard, rarely incorporated. The schools big strength: it's parent community! But the school could do more here too, creating environments of shared contribution from all angles. I agree with the others that more basic fundamental academics could be incorporated, but within the context of the progressive model - so vital here. Despite the push on diversity, they have no language program! Setting better boundaries for what can be developmentally supported for the student population & individual needs would be helpful. LOADS of potential!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 22, 2013

This school is really amazing. The teachers and administrators really have worked hard to develop a wonderful community. The director is approachable and is a fantastic instructional leader. The teachers are dynamic and nurturing while keeping a keen eye to the academics. My daughter has flourished in the school and has developed her social, emotional and intellectual self at this school. I give it my highest recommendation.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 30, 2013

The Children's School's approach to teaching and learning is very powerful. My child absolutely loves going to school and is learning so much. She is a critical thinker and learns how to apply the knowledge and skills outside the classroom. The sophisticated project-based learning teaches her skills in authentic ways. The teachers are nurturing, inquisitive, and know my child extremely well. The small class sizes are great as the teachers understand how to reach and challenge my child. The administration is also very strong and approachable. I am very excited that the school is expanding into middle school grades in Fall 2013 (k-8). My child will continue to flourish in this environment and undoubtedly will be prepared for high school when she completes the 8th grade.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 24, 2013

This school understands how to engage, empower and challenge children academically. My children love the school and are actively applying, both in and out of a classroom, the critical-thinking skills obtained in TCS's project-based learning environment. With the fundamentals firmly woven in, my children are researching, measuring, analyzing, questioning, composing, and more. They are truly experiencing learning as exciting and meaningful to them, and they are excelling. It is so rewarding to see our kids doing equations on weekends and evenings, out in the world, simply because they want to figure something out. They have become intrinsically motivated to push themselves well above grade level, and they can't wait to tell us all about what they've learned and discovered. We are very pleased with the school's progressive education program, including the individual attention the teachers are able to provide. Our experience as parents with the current administration and teachers also has been very good, and we have found them open, thoughtful and responsive (even when we have approached them with a view different from theirs).
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 13, 2013

I sadly am disappointed in this school. I agree that the change of leadership was not good. While many of the teachers are wonderful, some do not completely understand children. What the school claims to be doing does not apply to all classrooms. The school has a hard time recognizing areas in which improvement is needed.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 24, 2012

The Children's School is a breath of fresh air. The school environment is not just supportive or engaging for the children- it is empowering. Children at this school realize that their views, opinions and ideals are worthwhile. Children contribute to the developing curriculum and therefore are more invested in their own learning. Concepts are not "fed" to students here. A deep, meaningful understanding of problem solving is at the root of every question and answer. I know that The Children's School will enable my child to grow and develop into a person capable of immeasurable critical thinking skills, as well as an individual possessing a complete understanding of the need for respectfully listening to and communicating with others.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 23, 2012

Our family has been a part of this school for more than five years. Our children have had a good experience at The Children's School - I wish I could say the change in leadership has been a good one, however. The history of ignoring parent's concerns and maintaining teachers who do not measure up are tough to understand in this small school environment. While a great emphasis is placed on the whole child, rather than test results, a more challenging curriculum should be in place for students who are ready to move forward. The families are wonderful and want to provide support to the school, whose needs are not clearly delineated at times.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 20, 2012

We have been at this school for many years, and our two children have had incredibly positive experiences here. They have learned a lot academically, have gained confidence, and have been part of a respectful, warm, nurturing community. We are very grateful to the school's highly dedicated teachers and staff.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 13, 2012

I have two children at The Children's School and a younger one on her way (in a few years). I have been amazed and impressed with the school at every turn. The progressive educations model is one that I completely embrace and I believe it is building a community of children that think for themselves, express themselves and know how to engage on many, many levels. I am thankful that the school teaches my children how to work in a group, be creative and outside the box thinkers. They are empowered to explore things well beyond the accepted "norm" and not just accept that what an adult says is true. My children (in Kindergarten and 1st Grade) have advanced reading and math skills. Their problem solving abilities far surpass my expectations. This is really the best of both worlds, extraordinary education and nurturing environment that allows children to be children as long as possible. I must also take the time to mention that both the kindergarten and 1st grade teachers are simply amazing. I feel so blessed to leave my children with them every day. I could not ask for a better school or better teachers, period.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 8, 2012

My husband and I are in our 7th year as parents at this school, and we remain delighted with our choice. The atmosphere is warm and nurturing, the learning activities challenging and exciting, the teachers talented and dedicated. Children participate in democratic processes that engage their reasoning and social skills, build their confidence in speaking up for themselves, and challenge them to look at issues from others' points of views. At The Children's School, students actively pursue their learning through interdisciplinary studies and projects, and they undertake their schoolwork with a sense of meaning, purpose, and joy. My children love to learn here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 3, 2012

I tried to give 6 stars, but it wouldn't let me :) The Children's School is such a welcome change from our previous public school experience in Oak Park. My children love going to school and are constantly telling me about what they're learning. I love that my kids know every other student at least by name, and that every adult in the building knows them. The teachers are excellent, really an amazing group of people.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 20, 2011

The Children's School is a remarkable place. Children are truly honored and heard. The small class sizes (under 15) lead to a great deal of interaction with the teachers, who are extremely talented and dedicated. My two children love going to school, have learned as much or more traditional academics as their public school peers, and most importantly, they have a strong sense of who they are. The school is all about critical thinking, accountability, and concern for the broader community. A special place.
—Submitted by a parent

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About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 76% 51%
Two or more races 14% 3%
Hispanic 5% 24%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 3% 4%
Black 3% 18%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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School Leader's name
  • Christina Martin


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
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1428 Wesley Avenue
Berwyn, IL 60402
Phone: (708) 484-8033


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