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425 Dempster Street
Evanston, IL 60201

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(847) 864-2190
(847) 864-2206
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Map of Chiaravalle Montessori School address.

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January 21, 2015
Our daughter is in her 6th year as a Chiaravalle student in Upper Elementary (grades 4-6). I haven't read other reviews of CMS, so forgive me if my praise and gratitude for our great school and community is repetitive of others' comments. I don't mean to sound proud or boastful, and I know that every one will have their own individual experiences and opinions, but Chiaravalle is the type of school and community that we are lucky to enjoy, and we feel that all kids and families should have the same available to them. Though Montessori education was initially an unknown for me, I was a quick "convert" once I got to experience the Chiaravalle environment & community first hand & observed during each school/classroom visit and activity how our daughter thrives here. Chiaravalle manages to be rigorous, welcoming, nurturing and challenging at the same time. My wife & daughter are both living examples of the benefits of Montessori education, which helps children become motivated, confident, self-directed learners, and prepares them well for the worlds outside of school. We could not imagine a school could be any better-suited to our child's academic, personal and social needs.

- submitted by a parent
January 20, 2015
I have three children attending Chiaravalle Montessori. I am amazed at their growth. At 6 years old they know things I didn't learn until much later. Attend a tour to see the kids working and enjoying learning. Chiaravalle is the best!

- submitted by a parent
January 15, 2015
We have a 4 yr old and 9 yr old at Chiaravalle and have been part of this special community of educators and amazing families for 8 years. This school is an extension of our home and family. The faculty are thoughtful, caring and truly passionate about the Montessori method. They know my children very well and always strive bring out the best in them. You will not find a more beautiful learning environment beaming with confident children who love to learn. Chiaravalle is an exceptional school that I highly recommend.

- submitted by a parent
January 15, 2015
Great program, great facility, great teachers and administration. Our daughter has been going here since pre-school and it's been an excellent fit between how she learns and the Montessori philosophy which values independence and a calm and beautiful learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
December 10, 2014
My son is 3 years old and in the preschool program here. His two teachers are both so wonderful. I was worried about his transition to school, as he has so much energy and is a sensitive kid. He loves his school! There is so much movement built into his day and his focus and ability to take care of himself is astounding! We love it.

- submitted by a parent
December 05, 2014
I have children in Upper Elementary and Middle School at Chiaravalle. These very different learners have both had incredible, highly individualized experiences. They are excited to learn and love the integrated studies approach. This is a place where every day something interesting is happening: writing a novel and working to get it published, exploring advanced math concepts, making dinner at a homeless shelter, learning to sew, student initiated service learning, being in a play or designing and building a chair Kids are really engaged. The teachers and staff have been so dedicated. They know my kids and their learning styles really well. Our only regret is not being at Chiaravalle earlier.

- submitted by a parent
October 24, 2014
After four years here, we are so happy to be part of the Chiarvalle family. My older one is now in kindergarten here and I'm amazed at the things that he is learning and encountering. The new Head of the School, Robyn, is really amazing. Even more so are the teachers that have really guided my son's progress and development. This is our daughter's first year there and already she is really growing and learning rapidly. There is a bit of a communication difference varying from classroom to classroom but overall, we have enjoyed our time at Chiaravalle and look forward to future growth together.

- submitted by a parent
March 04, 2014
The new Head of School is amazing and has really made a difference at Chiaravalle. She is a well-rounded and has experience in many roles including teacher, program director, parent and now Head. The school has a wonderful positive feeling and this combined with the excitement of the new North Wing, Chiaravalle is a fantastic choice for any family.

- submitted by a community member
August 11, 2013
This schools sucks. The teachers give like a five minute lesson. And you have listen really well because I this school they give you alot of freedom and they will Turk during the lesson to tell the other students that they are giving a lesson and that they need to be quiet even Though they can't help our selves. and because they are children. But I can tell you this. At first when you go there you be like "mom, dad I love this school" and then when the year after that you will be like "mom I hate this school". But the PE teacher is really nice!!

- submitted by a community member
May 24, 2012
My daughter is currently in fifth grade and she loves it at Chiaravalle. It has helped her become strong in all subjects and learn at her own pace. She is going to seventh grade next year to accommodate her needs, and the principal was supportive and also realistic. The environment is great and she met two of her best friends at Chiaravalle. She is extremely exited to have more homework, and I think this is because of the way they teach there. She started here at Pre-K and fit in right away. The teachers treat everybody equal and keep the drama under control. I would definitely recommend this school to any parent.

- submitted by a parent
November 08, 2011
The strengths of this school are individual attention to each child's learning style, needs and interests. learning happens in a natural way that children find interesting and meaningful. Children are respected and by this example learn to be much more respectful of others than many children in their age group. The school is beautiful, clean and well-lit. The school welcomes all kinds of children and families, has a higher level of racial diversity than most private schools and makes significant efforts to welcome an economically diverse population. As a lesbian family, an interracial family and an adoptive family, we have felt not just welcome, but understood.

- submitted by a parent
October 31, 2011
Chiaravalle is a wonderful school. My son was in the toddler program last year and is now in 3-6. Above all I was looking for was a Montessori program. We live in Andersonville and looked into Rogers Park Montessori and Near North Montessori also. Frankly, both of those schools did not have a space for us because of siblings and limited space, so we enrolled in Chiaravalle. I may have chosen Chiaravalle anyway because it felt more welcoming than the others even though one of the other schools was literally 3 blocks away from where we live. First, it is accredited by AMS, meaning it sticks pretty closely to the Montessori philosophy with some flexibility, which is important to me. Second, they have wonderful teachers and staff. Everyone who works there seems to take ownership of the school environment and are consistent in how they respect the children. Third, the learning environment is beautiful. The school has recently gone through major renovation. The early education rooms are very clean and orderly, and the elementary spaces are amazing. The parent community is great. And finally, most importantly, my son loves going to school every day.

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2011
My daughter is currently in first grade at Chiaravalle, and both she and I couldn't be happier with the curriculum, teachers, and community. All of my daughter's teachers (and the whole staff) clearly care very much about her (and every child) as a whole child: they are nurturing, encouraging, spend lots of time and energy determining and providing just the right level of challenge for her as an individual learner, and are passionate about learning themselves and help to instill a life-long love of learning in all their students. My child is not just thriving academically at Chiaravalle but learning skills that will serve her well throughout her life.

- submitted by a parent
July 14, 2011
We were at Chiaravalle for 2 years. We had a wonderful first year. However, the second year we discovered that the school is ill-equipped and unwilling to handle differently abled students. The teachers were wonderful, but the resource/special services staff and principal were dismal. Once our child began to experience difficulties at school, we were treated so poorly. The lack of communication and respect was appalling. For example, the principal called us to meetings to discuss our child's functioning and educational placement -- without the teacher's presence or involvement (even though we continually and vehemently insisted that the teacher's presence was essential)! I could go on and on, but I will spare you the details of our horrendous experience. I loved the community and teachers at this school, but this experience broke our hearts. Please beware of Chiaravalle if your child is different in any way.

- submitted by a parent
May 19, 2011
My son has eaten up the education offered at Chiaravalle. He started as a 3 year old and is now in 5th grade. Along the way, he learned to add & subtract positive AND negative numbers (as a 4 year old), write a research paper on Nuclear Physics (3rd grade), and perform in MacBeth (5th grade). The teachers are wonderful at nurturing each student's interests and also at guiding them to areas that don't come as naturally to them. The school listens to feedback from parents and has easily accessible administrators. Twice yearly parent-teachers conferences, sports teams for the older kids, and a great facility complete this exceptional school.

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2011
My son has been going here for 2 years now. I will say that this was not originally my first choice (because of distance) but he is doing well, he is happy and I can't help but notice how well the children behave and interact with one another (older grades with younger). The daily commute is well worth it.

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2011
We are wrapping up our second year at Chiaravalle (our daughter is currenty a 1st grader "first year") and we couldn't be happier with the teachers, curriculum, class size, community support and friends we have made Chiaravalle. Our daughter started at Chiaravalle as a Kindergartener for what we thought was going to be our first and only year at Chiaravalle. However, the richness of the curriculum, materials available in the classroom, committed staff and dedicatation to providing a true Montessori education has been exemplary. We investigated many options, but nothing has come close to what Chiaravalle offers. Our daughter and family will be at Chiaravalle for many years to come.

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2011
We have two boys at CMS, ages 5 and 9. While we have tried another, there is no finer school for the education of our young boys.

- submitted by a parent
December 23, 2010
I just saw the movie Race to Nowhere and felt better than ever that my kids are at Chiaravalle Montessori. While other schools promote memorization (think multiplication tables and spelling bees), fact building (text books full of bullet points) and hours of homework each night (enough said) as a means to force knowledge onto children, Chiaravalle is teaching my children to be problem solvers and critical thinkers and develop a love of learning. In addition, Chiaravalle is showing my children how to work in teams and develop leadership skills. These are the tools that will guide my kindergardener and 3rd grader to success in adolescence and adulthood far more effectively than their ability to ramble off the all 50 state capitals or US presidents... Chiaravalle teaching and the warm and nurturing community have been a gift to our family.

- submitted by a parent
May 19, 2010
I have two children at Chiaravalle, one in upper elementary, another in the middle school. I also have a child who graduated a few years ago. The academics and attention to the development of the whole child have been excellent. Looking at my high school age son and his peers who graduated with him, Chiaravalle clearly gave them social and academic confidence, leadership skills (many of his friends from Chiaravalle have taken on leadership roles in their local public high school) and an extraordinary ability to work with and motivate others.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 27, 2010
My child has been at CMS for three years. We have loved the hands on materials and interesting curriculum. The level of independence and ownership children have at an early age is remarkable. These skills are clearly evident in their elementary middle school students as well. There is a nice level of attention given to promoting diversity and supporting students with learning challenges. I have found the social emotional approach to be a tremendous strength of the school. Admin and teachers have been very responsive to our needs. Thank you CMS! This is a very special place to educate a child!

- submitted by a parent
March 25, 2010
We are in our 3rd year at Chiaravalle, with both of our boys (2yrs & 4 yrs) attending. We have experienced the Parent/Infant, 3-Day Toddler, and 3-6 programs. After looking at different schools throughout Evanston, it was clear to us that we wanted our children at Chiaravalle. What is most valuable about Chiaravalle is difficult to put into words (as I feel are most things in life of true value). There is a feeling when one walks into a Chiaravalle classroom that is filled with peace (yes, peace, in a room of 3-6 yr olds), respect and a sense of community. My husband and I have no worries about the level of learning (academically) our children will continue to receive there. Most importantly to us, the respectful and aware young people they are learning to be is evident at their young ages. We can't wait to experience the magical Kinder year!

- submitted by a parent
November 19, 2009
My daughter, Sabine, entered Chiaravalle as part of the Toddler Full Day program and her success at this school, and the care and enthusiasm of every teacher I've had the pleasure to encounter, makes my eyes well with tears sometimes. She came from a KinderCare where when I picker her up she'd sometimes be pushing a plastic chair around the room to Chiaravalle's robust Montessori program---and what a difference this program made in her life. Just after starting the TFD program, she became more independent---dressing herself (still needed help, obviously), helping me with basic tasks, a whole host of activities. Now, as part of the school's 3 to 6 program, she lights up when she goes to school and is gaining self-confidence and independence every day, it seems. The teachers who guide her day pay attention to her needs while also giving her the space and opportunity to discover herself

- submitted by a parent
October 11, 2009
My child recently started his 4th year at CMS. We have done parent/infant, parent/child, 5 partial day toddler and now he is in the 3-6 program. I can not say enough about not only his development, but my development as a parent. I believe CMS provides a tremendous sense of community for the whole family. As the saying goes 'it takes a village' and Chiaravalle certainly feels like a village to me.

- submitted by a parent
September 16, 2009
The classrooms are great. The school is quiet and focused, with child driven learning. It is an environment that is really special. The community is also very involved, with good caring, diverse families.

- submitted by a parent
August 20, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
July 17, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2009
Our elementary aged son has been at Chiaravalle since he was in the toddler program, and has thrived. The academics in elementary are outstanding. The school emphasizes the social and emotional development of the children, and offers a warm, welcoming environment with dedicated faculty.

- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2009
Our daughter loves going to Chiaravalle. She is just finishing her kindergarten year, and the curriculum is rich and engaging, covering cultural, social, and scientific areas as well as the math, language, and practical life. She is reading at a second grade level. Our children have thrived in a school where they can learn at their own pace, and each child is respected and appreciated for what he or she brings to the classroom. Montessori materials are interesting to the children, and Chiaravalle provides a structured, calm environment for children to explore and discover a love of learning. Our daughter is sad that summer is coming, but she is excited to start in first grade at Chiaravalle next year.

- submitted by a parent
May 19, 2009
I chose Chiaravalle Montessori School for my son not once, but twice. I knew before my children were born I wanted a Montessori education for them. When my eldest was 16 months old he was accepted the two local Montessori schools for the parent-child program. I chose Chiaravalle because of the warm reception I received from the administration during my tour; and, because I what I witnessed on the playground during several visits = respect. Older children were respectful of themselves, each other and elders; and, most impressive the older children were engaging the younger children. My children have been valued and respected as individuals. They have been nurtured by faculty and encouraged by a tremendous set teachers. The bar was held high for my son and he soared. His kindergarten years was amazing! My son loves to go to school every day at Chiaravalle. 1st grade is equally terrific!

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2009
I have my daugter at this school in the 3-6 year program for the last two years. I believe the school is one of the better ones in following the Montessori method. I was very impressed with how much my daugter has learned especially in the Kindergarten year. However, I was not impressed with the hands off approach that the teachers seem to have regarding various instances amongst the children. I believe they may carry the approach a little too far and leave too many problems that normally occur amonst children up to the children. They are not nuturing and are even cold in their relations with the children. During these first years, it is important to feel that your teacher is happy to have you in the class and not a burden. They have been a bit too rigid. My child does not want to go to school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 16, 2009
Chiaravalle Montessori has far exceeded my expectations. I am writing this review because the parent reviews on this website helped me as I went through the process of selecting a school for kindergarten for my son. I visited and applied to about 20 schools in Chicago and Evanston. I knew that the Montessori philosophy was a good match for my son but I had no idea how comprehensive the kindergarten curriculum was at Chiaravalle. When the school says they offer science, I had no idea my son would be learning every bone in the body, or extensive details about the solar system and the list goes on. When I went to observe my son in the classroom, I was surprised to notice other kindergarteners working on multiplication, counting money and advanced reading. The Montessori philosophy allows for different learning abilities. My son loves going to school at Chiaravalle Montessori.

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2009
Chiaravalle is not true to Montessori philosophy and practice. This is our second year at the school and I have seen teacher turn around too often which does not follow the idea of 1 teacher for a 2-3 year cycle. They claim to promote respect and unity yet I am not allowed in the room with out a prior appointment with an administrator. Very rigid and fake in my opinion. This school is not worth the high cost of a true Montessori Education.

- submitted by a parent
no rating January 13, 2009
Chiaravalle is a terrific Montessori school. We ve had experience with several Montessori schools, both in and out of the Chicago area, and this one is one of the best we ve seen. True to Montessori principles, Chiaravalle teachers accept and honor children for who they are as individuals, allowing them to explore their strengths while gently guiding and challenging them through areas they re not as familiar or comfortable with. The school does an outstanding job of communicating with parents and including them as an integral part of the school community.

- submitted by a parent
January 07, 2009
I have a child at Chiaravalle for seven years --grades 2-8. I have never donated money to the school above my tuition payments because that is not within my family's means. This never affected my kid's experience or my sense of being very much a full member of the school community. The school is an absolute gem. The physical facility, location, teacher and staff quality and curriculum design are all excellent. The Middle School has proved to be a capstone experience-- rigorous and imaginative academics (good prep for high school) with superior attention to each child's social and personal development. There have been some changes recently--the new Head of School has been strengthening the academic rigor of the curriculum and the professionalism of the staff. This bodes well for the future of the school even if it is unsettling at the moment for some families who must endure staff turnover mid-cycle.

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2008
Chiaravalle's interest in the bottom line seems a much more robust motivation for them than an education as outlined by Maria Montessori. At least for the exhorbitant tuition sake, I would expect her teacher to remember her name, and spell is correctly. It's a matter of respecting the child.

- submitted by a parent
October 28, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
October 23, 2008
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- submitted by a student
October 23, 2008
Our kids have been at Chiaravalle for the past 4 years. We loved the school but like at most schools, parents tend to talk with other parents, and the things being said about the high turnover this year makes us uneasy. The parents that are happiest at the school seem to be the parents that can afford to donate largest contributions to the school and get treated differently. We need stronger and more honest communication at Chiaravalle.

- submitted by a parent
August 26, 2008
We started off in the toddler full day class and have had a great year. The 2 head teachers are exceptional and will not be returning in the Fall. We are extremely disappointed. The Director has not been supportive to their needs and of the needs of other teacher and parents. This year has been the year with the greatest number of teachers and students leaving. The Director talks but no action has been taken. She takes no responsiblities on the going ons of the school. The Board should wake up and see what is happening. Teachers and parents are not happy and more will leave. We are currently looking into changing schools even if the school year is starting next week. There are safety, health and staffing issues which needs to be addressed.

- submitted by a parent
August 11, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
August 09, 2008
I have brought safety concerns to the Head of School's attention and each time I am told that it will be fixed and never once did this happen. She did not take me seriously, and after speaking with other parents about this I would love to know who is 'in charge' of her being in this position. Now that it's clear how our money is being spent at this school, I may just pull my children out. We should be paying for a a safe environment not a newly painted one, and the teachers that work so hard to educate and support our children and I feel like I am paying an arm and a leg for replacement teachers that no one knew would be there. The last week of school and they couldn't wait to do construction? These people have no heart or mind for that matter. I am repulsed.

- submitted by a parent
August 09, 2008
My child had a wonderful first year of school in the toddler full day program. We had a great connection with the teachers and the families in that class. I am concerned with how little recognition the staff received for their commitment and hard work. The toddler programs are very expensive but when issues arise the administrative staff pays little attention to what has been voiced. I just learned that both teachers won't be back next year which is a great loss to the school and future families. Maybe if the head of the school was more concerned with the quality of the staff and could modify her own self-centered behavior, the school would feel less rigid and synthetic. A friend of ours has a child moving up to the middle school which has lost both teachers as well. It makes you wonder when long time teachers leave.

- submitted by a parent
August 03, 2008
Unfortunately the school has lost a vast amount of their qualified educators this year and I anticipate who will fill these shoes. I have worked at Chiaravalle for over 1o years now and have never seen this much turn around ever. I will continue my work at the school but I do not feel as well informed or as supported as I have in years past. I do not recommend this school to parents at this time.

- submitted by a teacher
April 27, 2008
Do not let yourself believe only what you see at the open house or visit. This school does not know how to handle different from average children, especially the ones who need more help. Not only my child but I know other parents whose children have been emotionally distressed and no one had answers or could solve the situation. My son is now in a smaller day care school with less reputation and advertising but he is learning happily everyday. At Chiaravaller, the schools counts to much on your 'volunteering' involvement and participation to the school auction both of which are scrutinize and not your child's learning. A school to avoid or get out if you still can!

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 08, 2007
I found the toddler program exceptional, but the entire preschool experience was disappointing. (My son attended this school from toddler to PreK.) My son was bullied and teachers and administrators seemed clueless about how to handle the situation. The monthly pressure for fund-raising and the 'optional volunteering' (ha) puts a lot of pressure on working parents.

- submitted by a parent
May 05, 2007
My child is now in sixth grade at Chiaravalle and has been attending since he was 18 months old. This has been an exceptional experience for our family. We have watched him become an independent learner with strategies to excel in the real world. At age 12, his math, reading, writing skills are well above the norm. He is an independent thinker, with an ability to be compassionate with others that astounds me. If you are interested in being involved with your child's school, in his or her education-this is the place. If you are interested in extracurricular activities you may find the school lacking. We have had a whole-family experience that will color us forever...

- submitted by a parent
December 29, 2006
We couldn't be more thrilled with the school and the nurturing community it provides our two very different girls (age 8 and 5). Strong new leadership now complements an historically dedicated and talented teacher pool and parent body. If you are unfamiliar with the Montessori approach to education which this school follows, I encourage a visit to a classroom -- it's magical.

- submitted by a parent
December 12, 2006
I agree that Chiaravalle, in spite of its stated goal of seeking 'diversity' in its student body, is overly ready to remove children who fall outside normal developmental ranges. The teachers seemed bitter and put out teaching my extremely bright, well behaved child who had some minor physical issues, and after two years we were told not to return. The 'special education' administrator was kind but ineffectual. A beautiful school, but the whole experience left a bad taste.

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2006
My son has been at Chiaravalle for almost 3 years now, and I found the school overall to be excellent.

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2006
Great School! Terrific focus on the whole child and the world they live in. Very in tune with different styles and learning needs. Admin. processes can be challenging at times but teachers, curriculum and facilities are top notch.

- submitted by a parent
April 20, 2006
The academics are wonderful here. The availability of music/sports and language is lacking though. There is a great deal of opportunity for parental involvement if desired.

- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2004
My daughter was never going to attend public schools & I knew that the Montessori learning environment was what I wanted for her. This school is not for everyone; it does not meet the needs of all students. However it does meet the needs of many students. My daughter is now a 2nd year in Upper Elementary, (4th grade), and she is excelling. She is exceptionally bright and could be in an accelerated program but we chose to keep her here. Why? Because she is comfortable with the learning environment; she is continually challenged with 'works' from the upper grades; she has learned to express herself with not only words but through pictures and concepts. I am constantly impressed with my daughter's relationship with her teachers and the support staff. It is obvious she will have no trouble with questioning & respecting authority. This school is worth a look. Good luck.

- submitted by a parent
August 25, 2004
Chiaravalle program unfortunately is far from what it claims to be. Students with special needs are not accommodated; they are politely pushed to leave the school. The Montessori Method has been misinterpreted to 'allow non average kids to play around if they prefer' even if this continues for two years, the answer from the school is the 'kid is not ready'. What is mainly missing is the ability of teachers to intrigue the students with new knowledge and different experiences and show them the love of learning. As a result weak students stay behind and the strong students get bored. Unfortunately our family had a very bad experience with the school that was amazingly a repeated pattern as I found out later. The nice environment, beautiful classrooms and big smiles were very deceiving!

- submitted by a parent
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In the true spirit of Montessori, we've been inspiring children's sense of discovery and creativity since 1965. We ignite empathetic, self-directed and effective thinkers by offering an education as unique as every child.

January 15, 2015

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Chiaravalle Montessori School
425 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL  60201
(847) 864-2190
Last modified Chiaravalle Montessori School is a Private school that serves grades PK-8
Chiaravalle Montessori School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 54 reviews. Top