We have a 1st grader at the school and she has had an incredible experience there. I'm very pleased with her teachers (last year, she had a National Board-Certified kindergarten teacher!), the classes are small and there are kids from all kinds of families: both parents in the home, single parents, college-educated, working class, Christian, other, and all ethnicities. It is a delightful place where kids are kids and engaged in completely developmentally appropriate activities, since it's Preschool - 2nd grade. This is a gem of a little neighborhood school!
We have a 1st grade student and a kindergartner at Garfield Elementary and absolutely love the school. To begin, the administration is great--we see the principal on a regular basis and she knows the kids by name and is very motivated to make the school the great place it is. Classroom sizes are amazingly low for the Chicago area--about 21 kids per class and our kids have always had a teacher and a full-time aide in their classrooms. That's a 10- or 11- to 1 student to teacher ratio! Our kids have IEPs and we have been very impressed with how the school considers their individualized needs and also listens to us as parents. There is a new Parent Teacher Council starting this year, and there was a huge turnout at the family ice cream social last week. One of the best parts about the school is that its K through 2nd grade. For parents with many kids, it may seem like a pain to have your 4th grader and 1st grader in different places, but we really like how it helps keep our young kids young. The quality of education is great too--last year our kindergartner hadn't started reading before school, and by the end of the year he was reading far more than just sight words. Love it!