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Mission and Philosophy

Mission Statement

First kindergarten class at City Day, 1981

Founded in 1981, the Chicago City Day School is an independent, coeducational, urban elementary school serving children in junior kindergarten through eighth grade. The School sees as its mission the preparation of students intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally, and aesthetically to participate in a changing and increasingly complex society. 

The School seeks to develop each child's intellectual abilities in a nurturing environment. To this end, we offer an academically challenging program in a noncompetitive school climate in which children are encouraged to take risks.

Our purpose is to prepare students to achieve academically at a level which is commensurate with their abilities. Through traditional curriculum we seek to enable students to be successful in high school and beyond. Through active, positive, and mutually respectful interaction among their peers and with their teachers both in and out of the classroom, our students will be prepared for active, positive participation as members of society. 

Our Approach to Learning

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We keep class sizes small, to ensure a strong relationship between teacher and student.

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We make it a priority to foster open, spirited, and respectful class discussions.

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We connect our students to vital educational, civic, and cultural resources throughout Chicago.

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We integrate technology throughout our program and encourage a design-based approach to its use.

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We give students opportunities to apply their learning to real-world settings.

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We encourage students to ask questions, try new things, and take risks.


The Chicago City Day School is an independent elementary school with an academic program that is rigorous, yet sensitive to the individual needs and abilities of students. While recognizing, and to the extent possible accommodating, the individual abilities of children, the Chicago City Day School places a high premium on the academic achievement of every student. The atmosphere is appropriately supportive, actively moral, and challenging. Students are encouraged, through both one-to-one dialogues with teachers and guided classroom discussion, to feel that they belong, that their ideas are respected, and that they are valued members of the group. Independence is fostered through a traditional academic curriculum that requires diligent, consistent study habits, mindful completion of assignments, and attention to personal responsibility.

The classroom atmosphere promotes open discussion among students and between students and teachers. We seek to encourage intellectual curiosity, aesthetic sensibility, critical thinking, joy in learning, a lasting commitment to physical activity and healthy living, and the realization that learning is a lifelong experience. 

We believe that students' success is best achieved in a cooperative and vigorously noncompetitive environment. Through participation in the School's program and activities, students will develop: 1) strong academic skills, 2) sensitivity to the aesthetic, 3) the ability to think and communicate clearly, 4) participation in physical activity, and 5) a sense of self-esteem, personal responsibility, and concern and respect for others.