16 answers

Seeking Private School for Very Bright, Gifted First Grader in West. Suburbs

We recently moved from So. CA to Naperville (district 204). We choose this town and school district based on the high test scores, talking to a few parents, our realtor, etc. Our oldest is in the neighborhood elementary school. The ratio is 27 to 1 with no Assistant or Aide and very little parent volunteer opportunities.

For Kindergarten, he attended a Montessori Kindergarten and excelled in so many ways and loved going to school every day. Now, he's coming home telling me he "hates" school and the gifted program at his school is not as hands on as I was lead to believe.

Now back to my research, does anyone have any school recommendations or experiences at either Avery Coonley, any K-8 Montessori, Waldorf in Warrenville, etc.? Any advice would be welcomed.

Thank you!

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Featured Answers

I've had friends that were pleased with Avery Coonley in Downers Grove. All three of my kids went to 204 (one child was in Project Arrow in 204).
C. L - mom of 3

More Answers

I am going to the waldorf school for a tour on the 9th. I am very very exited. public school just isn't for my little guy. You can call them to get in on the next tour on he 9th they are done monthly in groups or you can schedule one individually.

I can highly recommend Batavia Montessori school - it is a little further west than you want - but it should only be about 20-25 minutes each way. They go to 8th grade. I have a nephew there who is in 7th grade and a niece who is in 5th grade. My two kids are in the preschool. We LOVE it.

###-###-#### - Stacie Benjamin is the director and can answer any questions.


Good Luck!

Hi K.,

I truly enjoy my children's learning experience at Joliet Montessori School. It would be about a 30 minute drive from your area, but we have parents driving up to 45 miles for our school.

Our program has the typical 3-6 year old montessori program and we continue 1st-8th grade. We are AMI certified and although may look a bit outdated on the outside, we are in the middle of breaking ground for our campus enhancement project (3 year project) which will result in an improved classroom environment for our 12-14 year old students and an outdoor environment for the school body.

Parent involvement is highly encouraged and we have a very active Home & School Association in addition to a proactive, yet conservative board of trustees.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.


You can sign up for the weekly newsletter on the website, it should give you a good feel about our culture.


My husband and I both went to Aurora Christian School. It is a GREAT school. It is in Aurora, so you would have a little bit of a drive, and the tuition is quite pricey, but is well worth it in our opinion. It is also 2 years ahead of the public school system, and goes all the way through high school. Check out their website at aurorachristian.org. Good luck!

This answer comes a little late for you, but it may help someone else who has the same question! Our children attend a wonderful school, Covenant Classical School, in Naperville and just LOVE it. (www.covenantclassicalschool.org) The administration and teachers are very experienced and caring, and the school is very well-run. The class sizes are limited to 18 students, and the classical curriculum and school culture are amazing. Parents are very involved and there are many opportunities to volunteer. The school was just featured a week ago as the cover story for the Naperville Sun newspaper! I highly recommend Covenant!


I have a neighbor that sends her sons to Chesterbrook Academy in Naperville and she says it is very challenging. He was in the local school here (Builta), but they weren't challenging him enough and he too was bored.

Good luck with your search!

I am a SAHM and have 3 children (ages 11, 7, and 3)

I know a few students at Avery Coonley and they seem to be very happy because it offers them the challenges they are seeking. I believe there is a rigorous testing process to attend and they don't seem to have openings too often (which I guess is a good reflection on the school). Couldn't hurt to look into it.
Best of luck with your search!

Avery Coonely is an excellent school. We were going to send our daughter there for preschool but realized we couldn't afford the high tuition at the time. Your child will have to test in and be accepted to the school. My daughter took the test for preschool and was accepted. It broke my heart to turn the invitation down. I highly recommend going to the school for a tour and signing your child up for the test. We were able to sit in on a preschool class and it was wonderful.

I am surprised you are not getting your needs met in District 204. I babysat a family that had 3 kids go from kindergarten to senior year in that district and all were gifted and did great in the district. Their gifted needs were met in every way and they learned tremendous amounts beyond the norm.

I think instead of moving him out to a private school you should get your tax dollars worth out of the very good public school you have available. Meet with the teacher and the principal and find out how he is doing in class, what they are teaching him, if there is a possibility of him being tested to go to 2nd grade perhaps. I know there are plenty of good private schools, but you are at one of the best places, use that. Save your $5K to $12K a year in tuition towards college education or supplement what he is receiving with extra curricular stuff, but I see no reason go private.

My oldest two attend Carol Stream Christian Academy, which is a preschool through elementary school in Carol Stream. We have families that come from all over Chicagoland to send their kids there - one even lives in Indiana and drives over an hour each way. The class sizes are no larger than 10 per teacher. My oldest learned to read there when she was in 3-year-old preschool and now, in kindergarten, reads around a second grade level. My 3-year-old is learning to read this year, just like his sister did there at his age. Starting in kindergarten, they have Spanish class as well as music, art, P.E. and homework. I can't say enough praise about the school - the teachers, administration, and academics all combine to make it a place of excellence, or I wouldn't send my children there. You can see from their website (www.carolstream-christianacademy.com) a little more of what the school is about if you are interested, and I'd also be happy to tell you more about it if you would like. Their website is badly in need of updating (which I have volunteered to do with their "webmaster"), so, on that issue, I'd have to say don't judge a book by its cover! In particular, ignore what it says about "Enrollment openings available in Preschool, K-1 and 5th-6th" since that is from last school year. You'd need to call the school to find out what openings, if any, they still have for this year.

I have heard great things about New Beginnings Montessori School in Bolingbrook. I know several parents that also like Bethany Lutheran School and Naperville Christian Academy for private schools.

We love Avery Coonley. It is beyond challenging for the students and definitely a commitment for the parents. However, they very rarely have openings for new students after Kindergarten. Everyone actually had to retest and reapply to move from the pre-K program. I don't know much about the other schools you mentioned. Good luck!

I've had friends that were pleased with Avery Coonley in Downers Grove. All three of my kids went to 204 (one child was in Project Arrow in 204).
C. L - mom of 3

My son attends New Beginnings Christian Montessori, a school that has been mentioned. The ratio this year is 15 or 16 students to 1 head teacher & 1 assistant. My son is doing extremely well, his teacher, Mrs. Tracy is great & my son loves going to school. Check out the school at ###-###-####, 151 E. Briarcliff Road (approx. 150" east of Rt 53) in Bolingbrook. Good Luck!

All my nieces and nephews attend Naperville Christian Academy. They are learning languages in 1st grade. It is amazing to me what they know at such a young age. The classes are small. No more than 15 in a class I think. Everything is taught in the classical method which is different from most schools. www.ncaclassical.org
Check out their website for more info.

There is a Montessori School on Butterfield (RTE 56) just east of Kirk/Farnsworth. I friends who attend there, and love it. They had been at the Four Winds Waldorf School on Butterfield (just West of RT. 59) I have to say that I have toured the Waldorf school several times, hoping that they will make some ground as my kids get closer to elementary school. However, in the past three years I haven't seen many changes. There is another Waldorf School up north, but it's probably too far for you.

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