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Frances Xavier Ward School

751 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610

(312) 466-0700


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We are a NAEYC accredited play-based program.

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
  • Stamps, stencils, stationary, envelopes and journals.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Many math manipulatives and games.
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • Structured instruction depending on unit of study.
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Music with the music teacher, as well as classroom teacher.
Visual arts more

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

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
Other subjects taught Teacher directed Spanish lessons

From the Director:

Most of these activities are a combination of teacher-led and free-play, with some structure. The children are also allowed plenty of time for completely unstructured free-play.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

During small group time, teachers are able to focus on children's individuality. Children are also assessed by an independent group to alert the teachers of any areas of developmental concern.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Frances Xavier Warde is a play based, multi-age program. We provide a positive environment to give the children the opportunity to explore, create, have fun and enjoy learning.

A Typical Day

The children have a combination of free-play and centers in the morning. One teacher-directed table is part of that choice. We also have music, gym, and outdoor time scheduled in the morning. Before lunch we have large group-time (calendar, weather, fingerplays and storytime). Then 45 minutes for lunch, followed by a 1 hour nap. The afternoon activities include math, tubs, games, Spanish class and reading. We conclude with a short, large group-time.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Weekly classroom newsletters, conferences three times per year with parents, active Parent Group that plans events and activities for parents, and monthly school newsletter.

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
  • 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

Teachers send letter with photo to children in the class. Also, there is an open house with child and parent the week before school begins.