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Lake Shore Preparatory School

300 W. Hill
Chicago, IL 60610

(312) 266-2020


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

"At this stage of development, the children are establishing a sense of self. It is important for them to experience success and to be proud of their achievements. The children are developing an understanding of concepts about themselves, others and the world around them through observation, interacting with people and real objects, and seeking solutions to concrete problems. Their learning is a complex process that results from the interaction of the children's own thinking and their experiences in the real world. The children continue to work on social skills such as cooperating, helping, negotiating and talking to solve interpersonal problems. Our goal is for them to develop high self-esteem and positive feelings toward learning. " -taken from school website

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts
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
Other subjects taught "At Lake Shore Prep our Spanish teacher circulates from classroom to classroom every day, starting with our youngest preschoolers. The teaching is done through song, story, and games in keeping with our Piaget tradition. As far as the children are concerned, they're just having fun!" -taken from school website

From the Director:

"In designing our curriculum, we are interested in the development of the whole child: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical. In order to address these developmental tasks we take an integrated approach to teaching and learning. This creates an atmosphere in which children gain personal meaning from learning experiences and in turn creates inner motivation. Children, under these circumstances, take on the role of active learner in which they experiment, investigate, and explore. We encourage each child to succeed at his or her own individual pace as we aim to develop a sense of competency and internal motivation. As early childhood educators we realize that the primary task of the young child is socialization. We want them to become comfortable in cooperative play, so that they can develop the skills necessary to learn and work in a group. To achieve these goals, we teach in groups as well as individually. Because these are learning years, a time when intelligence and character is developed, we want to give our children as many new experiences as possible. Our materials encourage children to develop all of their senses. Our lessons and activities include art, music, dramatic play, science, math, social studies, computers, and cooking. To encourage reading and math readiness, as well as the enjoyment of discovery, we read aloud, make up stories, write down children's stories, weigh, measure, record, sort, classify, . . . the list could go on and on. We listen to what our children are saying! We combine phonics instruction with a whole language approach to learning. (The whole language approach is based on the idea that children learn to read and write the same way they learn to speak - from whole to part. The language processes of reading, writing, speaking, and listening are integrated into the instruction.) At Lake Shore Prep our Spanish teacher circulates from classroom to classroom every day, starting with our youngest preschoolers. The teaching is done through song, story, and games in keeping with our Piaget tradition. As far as the children are concerned, they're just having fun! To encourage physical development, we have a wealth of materials available for the children in each of our two gyms and both of our beautiful playgrounds are full of laughing, happy children. The children have gym class daily and enjoy the playground in both the morning and afternoon. During Summer Camp, the outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts are used. We also offer creative movement and dance activities. To develop fine motor skills we cut, build, use peg boards, string beads, as well as using other manipulatives. Music is an integral part of our curriculum. All of our classes include music in some form on most of the weekly lesson plans. From time to time we have visits from musicians who entertain our students and encourage their musical interests. Our most important goal is to foster the development of emotionally healthy children. We structure our environment so that all children can experience success. Our experienced teachers look for the opportunity to give well-earned praise. We strive to nurture the natural enthusiasm of the young child. We know we have succeeded when the children are eager to begin school each day because they enjoy school. Lake Shore Prep is a place where a child's happiness is of primary importance. We will have done our job properly if our children acquire a love for learning and a positive self-image." -taken from school website

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"We believe that the Preschool years should be devoted to socialization, building high self-esteem and developing a love of learning. We believe that the Elementary Grades should build on this foundation, developing a sense of competence, fostering children's exploration and inquiry, and encouraging children's internal motivation to learn.


Our Preschool is a place where children can express themselves at their own level of development while learning mature, cooperative and effective behavior skills. Through play, a child can solve many of the challenges of growing up. We cherish growth in freedom and responsibility. Opportunities for creativity, as well as socialization, are encouraged. Our teachers have expectations for each individual and they work to set a caring example for the children at all times.

We neither separate cognitive behavior from the other forms of behavior, nor do we separate a child's work from his or her play. We uphold Piaget¹s belief that play is the work of the child; play is the child¹s way of learning. In a loving, imaginative setting, children experience the joy of discovery for themselves. Through exploratory play, children will best remember what they themselves discover."

-taken from school website

A Typical Day

"Meeting: The Junior Kindergarten (JK) children meet together to choose daily jobs, such as Weather Reporter or Number Line Helper. Each day, the children track the number of days of school in preparation for our grand 100 day party. The children also utilize Weekly Readers, a resource which provides detailed information on a variety of subjects such as historical figures, healthy habits, and holidays celebrated throughout the world.

Centers: Along with planned activities relating to the week's unit, children can choose from the wider variety of resources the JK room has to offer. Jazz music in the listening center, building a skyline in the block area, working with the word box in the writing center, water play in the sensory table, creating three -part patterns in the math area, and sculpting with clay in the art area are typical choices.

Journals: Each day children have the opportunity to be authors and illustrators as they work on their own personal journals. Afterwards, they dictate their stories to their teacher, who then creates a book for the children to bring home.

Playground: The JK children enjoy the playground in the mornings and afternoons. children may use the equipment or engage in imaginative play with friends.

Spanish: On a daily basis, the Spanish teacher visits the JK class and reviews weekly vocabulary through stories, games, and songs. Children look forward to choosing a favorite song from the Spanish song bag.

Gym: JK children participate in group or independent activities such as yoga, obstacle course, and freeze dancing in the gym.

Highlights of the Day

While learning about Community Helpers, the JK children brought their own ideas to dramatic play and turned the area into an animal hospital, where they brought stuffed animals for an examination. The children used stethoscopes, surgical masks, and gloves to examine the animals and gave them shots and bandages when needed. To complete this project, the JK classes visited our neighborhood animal hospital and met the doctors who help care for the JK's own classroom guinea pig."

-taken from school website

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

"We offer formal parent/teacher conferences once each semester. This is a chance for parents and teachers to review the student’s Progress Update. The Junior Kindergarten Progress Update addresses the child’s cognitive, creative, social, language and physical development.

In addition to formal conferences, parents are always welcome to schedule informal conferences with teachers to address any questions and concerns.

We believe that communication between the school and the family is of the utmost importance. Our teachers are always available to talk to parents. Since some parents prefer written notes, while others like phone calls or in-person conversations, we let each family and their child's teacher determine which system will work best for them.

The school publishes a Weekly Newsletter with all-school information and updates from each classes. Additionally, the teachers post their weekly lesson plans and daily "What We Did Today" sheets to keep parents apprised of daily

In addition to our teachers always being available to talk to families, our administration is accessible. We work in an open office, where parents, students and teachers are always welcome to drop by. Appointments are not necessary."

-taken from school website

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • 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


Handling Separation: From the Director

"18 months +. This "first-time alone" class meets twice a week for an hour and a half. Our goal is to promote individual social interaction in a small group setting. Children participate in creative art, science and cooking projects, as well as story time, circle, music, snack and gym class. Each child must have an adult remain in the atrium during class."

-taken from school website