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Cardinal Bernardin Early Childhood Center

Preschool | 199 students


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Living in Chicago

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $413,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,270.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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11 reviews of this school

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Posted October 7, 2013

CBECC is an excellent gem of a school with the great combination of Montessori and Catholic educational philosophies. Our two children are enthusiastic and motivated to learn. Our son is in the 6-9 yr. old room where he is reading and doing math every day. He works on maps and learns about different science experiments. Our daughter is in the 3-5 yr. old room where she draws, paints and loves to play with all of her friends. Also the school has a wonderful outdoor space with a garden and playground that the children enjoy and help to maintain. Did I mention it is also affordable compared to other Montessori or Catholic schools in the Lincoln Park area?
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 20, 2012

Our son attended the toddler/parent class here, and is now in the preschool two days a week. We are very, very happy with this school. We believe the best of Montessori is present at this school, and also appreciate the Catholic education. Our son is free to pursue his interests, and is growing in leaps and bounds. His vocabulary is improving, as are his number and logic skills, and he's only three. A wonderful preschool.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 13, 2011

Cardinal Bernadin has been a God-send for our family. We came to Chicago with a disengaged, scared and fragile 7 year old that needed special attention. This school embraced him, enlighten us of his special needs, addressed them in the classroom, and I am glad to say he is now a thriving 6th grader in a "traditional" classroom. His younger brother is now attending Cardinal Bernardin for his 4th year and is quite opposite academically. He is smart, confident, and probably in some ways gifted. He is able to move ahead and thrive in this environment that I'm sure would not be available to him in most schools. Cardinal Bernardin is truly diverse - racially, financially and academically - and meets the needs of all children, whether they are gifted or specially challenged. Both of our children were able and continue to excel far beyond our expectations in most part due to the patient, loving, experienced and understanding staff of this school. Felicia Fuller
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 31, 2011

Please note that CBECC is not a "Catholic" school, per se. I'd add this to my earlier review, CBECC is truly a Montessori school in the truest sense. Maria Montessori founded the Montessori program for poor children with learning differences. We have had experiences with almost all of the Montessori schools in metro Chicago, and none of them seem to have a genuinely diverse student population other than CBECC. All that we toured were predominantly white, upper middle class children with average to above average levels of academic achievement. CBECC welcomes and embraces children from all economic strata and learning levels. We can't say enough good things about CBECC.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 19, 2011

My 6 year old son has attended CBECC since he was 18 months old starting in the mom/toddler class, transition class, preschool and now kindergarten. We feel so fortunate to be a part of this montessori community of teachers, parents, and students. My son loves the search for knowledge and information which has been cultivated by the most patient and understanding teachers I've known. He is the one dragging me out the door in the morning so he can get to school early to start his next work. He honestly loves school and I feel that the teachers honestly care about each and everyone of their students. I highly recommend CBECC.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 18, 2011

My son has been at CBECC for 4 years now. The teachers are excellent and he is truly interested in learning. It is a great environment for children. I do not feel that my son is behind in terms of reading or math. He recently took the gifted/classical assessment exam for CPS and scored very well in both sections. I would definitely recommend this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 4, 2011

I sent my children here for three years. When my oldest child was in second grade I felt she was not being challenged enough and put them in another school. She was extremely behind in reading and math at her new shool and took two years of hard work for her to catch up. This school is great if you have a child with autism, ADHD or another disorder, but if you are lucky to have a child who is healthy, I would run from this school or your child will eventually have a learning disability trying to catch up. The principal is only interested in how much money you have and how much she is going to get from you!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 5, 2010

This school has been wonderful for my child. The Montessori atmosphere is great for young minds.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 7, 2010

Truly one of the best kept secrets in the Chicago School System. I cannot speak more highly about this school. The teachers truly care about each student... special shout out to Ms Diana & Ms Marcy. But truly all of the teachers & the parents are fantastic.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 21, 2009

I challenge any parent to find a better learning experience CBECC. I have been at other programs and now have seen my children blossom here. They are new kids, they enjoy learning and have understood the meaning of the word respect. We could not be happier.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 24, 2007

Our son was speech delayed, had major tantrums and slept very poorly so he was one cranky lad (it turned out his adenoids and tonsils were so enlarged he could neither sleep nor form words). Despite his many challenges, CBECC couldn't have been more patient, understanding and loving towards him. He took the 'transition class' 3 x (a school record, I'm sure) and now absolutely adores school and his teachers.
—Submitted by a parent

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Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 81% 51%
Hispanic 7% 24%
Two or more races 7% 3%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 2% 4%
Black 2% 18%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Barbara Jean Ciszek
  • Coed
  • Roman catholic
  • AMS
  • CEC
  • NCEA
  • Other Montessori


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

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  • Montessori
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

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  • Religious


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Archdiocese of Chicago
School leaders can update this information here.


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1651 West Diversey Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 975-6330


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