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Montessori School Aiming for Early 2014 Opening in Lincoln Square

By Patty Wetli | December 12, 2013 10:19am

LINCOLN SQUARE — New Day Montessori presented plans this week for a preschool anticipated to open in early 2014, revitalizing the dormant property at the northeast corner of Montrose and Lincoln avenues.

New Day owner Shara Stephens, who operatates Montessori schools in Naperville and Oswego, has inked a five-year lease on the building at 2158 W. Montrose Ave., with an option to renew for another five years.

"So it's long term," she said of the investment.

Stephens had been scouting locations for a Chicago-based outpost since fall.

"There was a need that we heard was out here, a need for a really good preschool," she said.

When she came across the space for rent in Lincoln Square, its proximity to Welles Park and Sulzer Library sealed the deal for her.

And "it already has a built-in cul-de-sac," she added, a key consideration for morning drop-off and evening pick-up.

The property is already zoned for childcare use, according to Stephens, and aside from needing a fresh coat of paint is move-in ready.

"We'd like to be open in late January or early February," she said.

Stephens expects to enroll 50 to 60 children total, beginning with three- to six-year-olds and eventually adding infants and toddlers.

Stephens, Basia Seweryniak and Heather Craig-Somerlot will be the primary instructors at the school. All are certified Montessori teachers.

Tentative hours for the school are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. "We want to get a good idea of what families are looking for," said Stephens.

The fee structure varies, depending on the number of days per week and hours per day a child is enrolled.

Annual cost for an infant (six weeks to 15 months) enrolled 9.5 hours per day, five days a week is $15,750; $14,440 for a toddler enrolled 9.5 hours per day, five days a week; and $13,120 for a three- to six-year-old enrolled 10 hours per day, five days a week.

Montessori education emphasizes independent and individualized learning, with each child working at his or her own pace, at his or her own level.

"It's completely child-centered," Stephens said.

The lone community member in attendance at the presentation on a frigid December night expressed support for the school. Ray Savic, owner of the property immediately to the east of the planned school, said he sent his own children to a Montessori school and would be happy to spread the word about New Day.

Those interested in more information can contact Stephens via email at newdayacademy@yahoo.com or phone at 630-428-1334.