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Burr Elementary

1621 W. Wabansia Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

(773) 534-4090


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

We believe that our classroom does not follow one general approach to learning. We have combined the ideas of several of the approaches to meet the needs of all of our children.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • ABC puzzles, letter stamps
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught Japanese

From the Director:

The approach that we take to teaching various subjects is to understand the instructional level and the interests of each child so that we can use that as a springboard to drive our instruction. We do our best to differentiate our instruction to meet the needs of all of our students. We have a mixed ages classroom with students ages 3 - 5 years olds with varying needs. Throughout the day we have teacher led instruction during our circle time and we then at centers students may chose if they would like to continue on with a structured activity.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We strive to meet the varying needs of all of our students. During our center time we will work in small groups or individually with students to meet their needs.

Here is an example of how we differentiate:
Each student has his/her own journal which looks the same on the outside but the inside is very different! Depending of the level and interest of the child...

*The student has his/her name on the top of the page with a blank line underneath. They are encourage to try to trace or write their name before drawing their picture. They may dictate some words about their picture to one of the teachers.

*The student has has his/her first and last name on top of the page with a blank line underneath. They are required to write their first and last name before drawing their picture. They need to have a teacher write words to describe their picture before putting their journal away.

*The student has a blank line on the top of the page. They need to write their first and last name on the line before drawing their picture. As the teacher writes words to describe their picture, the child may be encouraged to use inventive spelling to label the picture.

*The student has blank line on the top of the page (for their first and last name) as well as mulitple blank lines on the bottom of the page. After writing their name and drawing their picture, a teacher works with the child to use inventive spelling to write a sentence about their picture.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

At Burr, a pre-k through 8th grade world language magnet cluster school, we believe that every child is capable of learning and achieving excellence in education. Every student is responsible for and will take an active role in their quests to become competent and literate contributors to society.

In our pre-k program we strive to successfully prepare our children for Kindergarten by providing an opportunity for them to develop school readiness skills in an environment that encourages them to have fun while learning. Our curriculum is guided by the State of Illinois Early Learning Content Standards and focuses on educating the whole child. Programming provides opportunities for children to learn through play within a planned learning environment. Throughout the day, we work with children individually, in small groups and in a whole group setting. Daily experiences include group time, centers, read-alouds, journal writing time and outdoor play. The preschoolers also have the opportunity to participate in Japanese, art, library and drama classes weekly.

A Typical Day

Throughout the day the students participate in various activites, both structured as well as student selected. On a typical day our schedule will go as follows:

*Student arrival: hang up jackets and bags.
*Journal writing: write (real or pretend) your name and draw a picture, then have a teacher write words with you.
*Select a book until all of your friends have finished their journals.
*Circle time, whole group: songs, counting, poems, read alouds, etc....
*Centers: students self manage as they make choices at the various centers in the classroom. At this time they can also work with one of the teachers in a small group.
*Recess: weather permitting, outside at the park!
*Special class: either dance, drama, art, library, or Japanese.
*Whole group: either song, story, or self-selected books.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

*Monthly newsletters with parent tips.
*Monthly parents and preschoolers workshops.
*Mandatory parent conferences (November and April) as well as by appointment when necessary.
*Written report of student progress (January and June).
*Family Reading Night (November)
*Field Trips

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school

Handling Separation: From the Director

When school starts in the fall we do our best to phase the students in by bringing in 3 - 5 new students each day. When a child is having a hard time separating we allow the parent to work with us to determine what strategy is best for their child.