Gateway Montessori is a small, family-centered, not-for-profit educational institution located in a vibrant, multi-cultural Chicago neighborhood. Our school currently has one Community (ages 15 months to 3 years), two Children’s Houses (ages 3 to 6 years), and a Saturday morning Parent-Child Class (3 to 18 months). Our elementary classroom is open and we are currently accepting application. Parents with children who are 6 years old and have previous Montessori experience are welcome to apply.

Part of our commitment to quality Montessori education is to mentor and/or sponsor interested persons in becoming trained. To date, Gateway has helped 6 persons acquire their Montessori diplomas.

All our guides (teachers) hold Montessori diplomas as well as college degrees, and all our classrooms are equipped with AMI-approved Montessori materials. Gateway is licensed by both the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and the City of Chicago. The Community is accredited by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the organization founded by Dr. Maria Montessori herself in 1929.

Gateway Montessori is an excellent school that provides a high-quality, Montessori-based, child-centered education by nurturing the potential within each child.

"Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission."
-Maria Montessori

The Director
Shelley Torres Aldeen, Gateway’s director and Community Guide, founded Gateway Montessori in 2006. Shelley has been involved in the Montessori world for over 30 years. She is trained in both the Infancy (birth to 3) and Primary (3 to 6) levels by Association Montessori Internationale.

Early in her career while working at Chicago’s Near North Montessori school, Shelley started the first AMI Parent-Child Program and Infant Community in the Midwest. During and after her 15-year tenure at Near North, Shelley also worked with several AMI training centers, helping to train adults in Montessori theory and practice. She has helped train new teachers here in the U.S. (Houston, Denver, and San Diego) as well as abroad (Rome and Perugia, Italy; London, England;and Yokahama, Japan).

Shelley’s years-long involvement with AMI has culminated in her becoming an Auxiliary Trainer. She is also an AMI-USA Consultant to teachers and school directors, and holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Gateway’s Mission Statement
The mission of our school is two-fold: to aid the children in the natural unfolding of their inborn potentialities, physical and mental; and to educate families about children’s natural development in relation to the principles of Maria Montessori. Our mission is based on the following five principles:

• FREEDOM – our children have the freedom to move, speak, and work as is necessary for their healthy development, within the limitations of the welfare of the community.

• RESPONSIBILITY – our children are ever mindful of the effects of their actions on those around them and understand their role as positive contributors to the community.

• INDEPENDENCE – through the freedom given in the environment, our children progress to ever higher levels of physical and intellectual independence, passing through various stages including collaboration, self-reliance, and interdependence.

• RESPECT – our children develop an understanding of and practice proper consideration and courtesy towards themselves, others, and the environment.

• INTELLECTUAL FERVOR – our children demonstrate a deep love of learning, a curiosity for knowledge, and an enthusiasm for mastering new skills and levels of independence.


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