Thanks to our pediatrician, local resources such as Neighborhood Parents Network in Chicago, and good common sense, we found the best Chicago preschool for our family with early education support. It's the Michael R. Lutz Family Center - Lakeview, Jewish Council Youth Services (JCYS)*.
It's daunting to choose the right school for you and your child. We visited JCYS when our youngest was days old.
First-time-parents face a steep learning curve! We were thrilled to find a program we trusted, near home that our friends raved about for decades. The alumni we know lead our community.
I appreciate all they do. JCYS provides breakfast for the kids, lunch, snacks, changes diapers and helps potty train your kids!
A loving environment for kids and parents helps your whole family achieve their goals. JCYS preschool curriculum is play based. Their structured activities encourage innovation and creativity as evidenced in the beautiful paintings kids create.
Sensory centers round out each classroom. Kids build, imagine, make art, read and more. Children play in the sand and explore outside.
Learning is fun. Kids also respect and obey firm boundaries. Since we live in the city, our boys learn to count and read in the context of their surroundings. The kids learn letters and numbers. Our three-year-old is already learning to read at school.
Trusted faculty. Lots of teachers help staff in the preschool in addition to two teachers per classroom. That strong teacher-to-student ratio facilitates classroom, small group and individual learning.
JCYS practices mindfulness. Our director Debbie Porter always reminds us to hug our kids, breathe deep and put down our devices. The kids even practice yoga once a week with their yoga coach. Be positive, yo!
Classroom activities mirror social and family activities. JCYS reinforces our table manners for family eating. As young as 18-months, little ones help clean up the table. Kids with every level of development thrive from extremely gifted to those who require extra help.
We love JCYS. Our boys always want to attend JCYS. Our oldest insists he will work there when he's old enough as a camp counselor. When I pick-up my youngest there, all the friends greet me with smiles.
School teaches compassion. Kids learn to use their words and share. Although our family is Roman Catholic, our boys are proud of the Jewish faith and Israel history. Our other JCYS director Jean Losek also welcomes us.
They embrace music and art. Their music instructor Susan Salidor writes songs about world peace. We recently attended her concert at Schuba's with our family. Our three-year-old walked around like he owned the place, greeting his teachers and friends. All the lovely families whose homes we visit display the masterpieces our kids paint at JCYS.
Our youngest told everyone at church a couple weeks ago it was Israel Independence Day. Our priest and children's liturgy teacher incorporated those facts into their message. Our three-year-old wants to bring his whole family to Israel.
Our five-year-old will transition to kindergarten this summer through the JCYS Big City Day Camp. No more naps, lots of friendtrips, swim and marshal arts will tire out our high-energy five-year-old! He is ready for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy grade school!
I admire the administration, teachers and parents. A supportive school environment helps the entire family during a fragile time of growth and development. We all strive to do our best.
As we left school last week, Debbie reminded us to make it a fun night. Thanks to her we stopped at the park on our way home before the rain.
*I do not get any compensation or reimbursement for this message. We're grateful full tuition fits in our budget. Financial aid is available. JCYS just changed my life for the better. I learned so much about parenting without judgement.