The Gardner School
of Chicago- West Loop

The Gardner School's West Loop campus is a Chicago preschool that offers year-round full and part-time childcare with early childhood education programs for children six weeks old through private Pre-K. In addition, we also provide a full suite of enrichment classes and our summer camp, Camp Gardner. All of our lead teachers have four year degrees in early childhood education, elementary education or a closely related field. The stimulating, creative and educationally engineered school has been designed to meet the needs of our most important client... the children. Attention to detail both inside and outside the classroom is what makes The Gardner School a very special place for young children.

Enrichment Programs Offered

gym

Twinkle Tots

For Ages: 14 Months to 2 Years
gymnastics

Gymnastics

For Ages: 18 Months +
computer

Be Smart Computers

For Ages: 18 Months +
dance

Dance

For Ages: 2 Years +
music-drama

Music

For Ages: 2 Years +
yoga

Yoga

For Ages: 2 Years +
language

Spanish

For Ages: 2 Years +
karate

Karate

For Ages: 2 Years +
runner

Sports

For Ages: 3 Years +
music-drama

Violin

For Ages: 3 Years +

Chicago- West Loop Campus Leadership

Tania Crawford
School Director

How long have you been with TGS? 
Since January 2013

Roles Served with TGS: 
I was so blessed to start as an Executive School Director with The Gardner School in January of 2013 to open the first TGS in Chicago, the West Loop campus. It’s been such an exciting journey bringing the school from bare walls to a bustling school with many classrooms full of happy children!

What is your educational background? 
I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I have worked with young children since 1995, with 18 of those years in managerial positions.

What made you decide to have a career in education?
Throughout my early years of schooling, I was lucky enough to have some very influential teachers. This, along with my love of being around children, influenced me to pursue the education field when I entered college. When I started working in my first preschool, I found that the combination of working with young children and being able to have a relationship with their families could not be beat! I couldn’t believe I had the best of both worlds!  Since that time, I’ve held a variety of roles within the early childhood field: assistant teacher, lead teacher, assistant director and director. I’m so glad to have found my “new home” as Executive Director of The Gardner School! 

What do you love most about working with infants through the age of 5? 
The amount of growth and development that happens between the ages of six weeks and six years is just mind boggling! It’s so rewarding to remember when this preschooler first started with us in the nursery and see how much change has happened!

What is your favorite part of the day at TGS?
I love visiting the students in the classrooms, as well as conversing with the families at the beginning and end of the day.

What do you love most about TGS?
I cherish the relationships I have with each of the students, as well as their families!

What is your fondest memory of TGS thus far? 
TGS West Loop’s first Spring Fling/Graduation ceremony is by far my fondest memory. Looking back on how much progress the students made in our first school year, and enjoying the moment with the families and friends that were there, was priceless. It brought a tear to my eyes when the Pre-K class performed “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music that night.

What does the term ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you? 
Children are sponges from birth onward. It is imperative that they have strong early childhood programs to support their desire for knowledge and help them become excellent students!

How important is early childhood education? 
Particularly with the competitive schooling in the city of Chicago, early childhood education is a necessity! In order to “test into kindergarten”, children need to have an excellent foundation and a wide range of experiences prior to entering the elementary schools!

Do you have children who go to TGS or have gone to TGS? 
My children were already teenagers by the time TGS came to Illinois, but I wish The Gardner School would’ve been around the area when my girls were younger!

What would you tell new parents who are apprehensive about leaving their infant in the care of someone else for the first time?  
Apprehension is completely normal! Make visits to the school prior to leaving your child so that you can build a rapport with the teachers and management team. You will quickly see how caring and attentive the teachers are, and your apprehension will quickly fade. Additionally, our PreciouStatus system will allow you to receive updates and photos as they are happening to assist you through the day.

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Shanay White
Assistant Director

How long have you been with TGS (since what month/year)? 

Since September 2017

Roles Served with TGS: 

I previously served as Lead Preschool Teacher at TGS West Loop.

What is your educational background? 

I currently hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master's degree in Human and Social Service.

What makes you laugh about kids? 

Hearing kids tell stories is the best! A child’s imagination is always full of surprises.

What is your favorite part of the day at TGS? 

As a teacher, my favorite part of the day is interacting with students during learning centers.

What do you love most about TGS? 

I love how TGS incorporates supplemental enrichment courses during the school day and that parents have several options to choose from.

What is the funniest thing you have ever heard come out of the mouth of a TGS Student? 

A preschool student once told me that he was coming to my house to help take care of my new baby. 

What inspires you? 

My daughter is my inspiration. As a parent, I’m her first role model and teacher. She inspires me to always go that extra mile.

What is your passion or passions? 

Teaching has always been my first passion. It is a joy to help children learn and grow.

What does the phrase ‘Where Learning Begins’ mean to you? 

“Where Learning Begins” means that we provide the foundation. The foundation sets the tone and mindset of a child’s learning and thinking. Always remember that every child learns in his or her own unique ways, which helps them to build the base for success in their future education.

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