Hear from Mike Madgiak, one of our head teachers in junior high here at Near North, with over a decade of experience co-leading the spring junior high trip at our school. Mr. Madgiak explains the 8th-grade spring trip and the important connections to Montessori curriculum.
Infant/Young Children's Community
The Infant and Young Children's Community is a bridge between home and school—and the beginning of your child's educational journey. Our classrooms are a nurturing environment with a variety of Montessori materials and activities to promote your child’s language, motor, social-emotional and cognitive development. Children are active contributors of the classroom, preparing food, washing tables, sorting shapes and more. Our curriculum is designed to build small and large motor coordination, refine the senses, expand vocabulary, and help each child learn to work as part of a community.
At the Primary level, children are integrated into a mixed-aged classroom, with students ranging from age 3 to 6. The classroom is thoughtfully balanced by age, gender and diversity. The 3-6 Montessori curriculum and materials allow for exploration and development through hands-on learning. Students follow lessons in five curricular areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Cultural Studies.
Near North's Elementary level is divided into two sections by age, 6-9 and 9-12. Elementary work builds on the concrete lessons of Early Childhood to develop abstract concepts and reasoning skills. 6-9 students explore the mysteries of our universe as they learn to place themselves within the context of modern civilization. Children in the 9-12 classes tackle hands-on, project-based lessons. Throughout Elementary, children eagerly take on more complex problems in mathematics, language, geography, botany, zoology, history, and the physical sciences.
Junior High is the culmination of the educational journey at Near North. Our seventh and eighth graders build upon the foundations of our lower levels to go far beyond a traditional education's scope. Adolescents enjoy seminar-style instruction as well as focused independent study, collaboration with their peers in and out of the classroom, and challenging experiential learning through the student-run, farm-to-table Sandwich Shoppe. Junior High students are role models for the entire community, demonstrating the greatness that awaits an NNM graduate in High School and beyond.
How did we celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month here at school this month? Centering Joy!
What is self-regulation? Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and manage your thoughts, feelings, and actions in acceptable and safe ways. In simple terms, it is your ability to think before you act, pause before you snap, and express your big feelings in a safe manner. So, how do we help our children build this invaluable skill?
I am very fortunate to be excited about a lot going on currently. Just being back in Chicago and having the opportunity to hang out with old friends (most who went to NNM actually) is something I love and definitely don’t take for granted. I also have a little brother who is almost 3 who I love hanging out with. Excited to watch him grow up and even attend Near North one day!
My first memory of Near North is in Cynthia’s class learning to write in cursive. I was very shy and timid as a kindergartner, but Cynthia’s warmth and care made me feel safe and optimistic. I can still remember the feeling of tracing my pointer finger along the pink sandpaper letter board — I think it was a capital “I” — and that feels significant because I began the discovery of myself as an individual there in that classroom!
My earliest memory (ever) is from Jan Szostek’s 3-6 class. Jan was showing me how to use a stencil to trace a triangle, and asked me to pick three colored pencils to color in the triangle. I picked three purple pencils. (I was a lady who knew what I liked.) Jan encouraged me to mix it up a bit, maybe try a red or a yellow along with the purple. Wise advice, in retrospect.
I am currently studying biology. I want to go to med school and become a dermatologist. I am excited about where I am with my volleyball career. I had a great season and am continuing to improve, work, take care of my body, and learn more about the game. I can’t wait to continue to reach my potential.
Affinity groups are at the heart of Montessori philosophy. Every child is an individual with specific needs, identities, talents, and backgrounds — and so are their parents. And in the spirit of following the child and seeking a parent and school partnership, we work to break down barriers that cause injustice and to equip our staff, faculty, and students with tools to understand and dismantle injustice.
In college during my training as a resident advisor, I had a coordinator who always encouraged us to leave a place better than we found it. Being a member of the board allows me the opportunity to help make the school better for future NNM families. Realizing that we’re here for only a short time, we could be considered stewards of NNM, taking care of it for today’s students and the families to come.