Clissold School Celebrates 40 years of Montessori Program 


The Henry R. Clissold School Montessori Program is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a reunion and fundraiser Fri., Mar. 27, 7 to 11 p.m.115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St. 

The Montessori program, established at Clissold School, 2350 W. 110th Pl., in 1979 under then principal Donald Bayer, holds the unique distinction as the first Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Montessori program. As part of CPS magnet program, students were selected from a wide attendance area that reached as far as 55th Street to the north, and the city limits to the south, east and west. The program began with only one kindergarten/first grade class  

Over the years, Clissold’s Montessori program gradually expanded to a select number of classrooms through sixth grade. Today, the Montessori philosophy is taught in all kindergarten through third grade classrooms. Unlike the wide attendance area of the 1979 class, the program now welcomes local students as part of a neighborhood magnet program.  

Montessori classrooms provide students with independent and hands-on learning opportunities through the guidance of Montessori teachers and assistants who are committed to the development of the whole child.  

The 40th anniversary reunion and fundraiser will celebrate the long and proud history of Clissold’s Montessori program and support it for years to come. Tickets are available in advance for $25 through Thurs., Mar. 26 at; search “Clissold’s 40th Anniversary.” Tickets will be available for $30 at the door.  

The event will help raise funds for expanding and updating Montessori materials and furniture in classrooms, many of which are still operating with materials and furniture from when the program started back in 1979. 

For more about Clissold’s Montessori program or the 40th anniversary event, contact Debra Pietrus, Montessori coach, 773-535-2560 or 


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