The Good News 2018

Council Oak Montessori School (COMS) has wrapped up its first full year in its new building in Blue Island, and what a year it has been!

Last fall, COMS staff welcomed 50 students and their families to a beautifully prepared Montessori environment—the school’s facility not only enjoys a close proximity to the Cal-Sag Channel and its surrounding greenspace, but it has a playground, full-court gym and stage, full commercial kitchen and ample parking.

During the course of the year, the school formed a partnership with Joe O’Meara of BIOS Farm.

“BIOS Farm was one of the main reasons for moving the school from Morgan Park to Blue Island,” said Executive Director Lila Jokanovic. “We had been looking to provide our students with the full breadth of the Montessori curriculum, which includes programs like apprenticeships and farming.”

O’Meara not only brings his farming expertise to COMS, overseeing the development of the school’s farm program, but also brings culinary talent—fine tuned in the kitchens of Rick Bayless—to the school’s lunch program. COMS students enjoy freshly prepared, nutritious, organic lunches every day.

In the spring, students 3 years old through middle school planted the first fruit trees that will grow into the Council Oak Orchards. The Council Oak Farms continue to grow—including vegetables, flower gardens and chickens. Middle School students have plans to start a farm stand as part of their entrepreneurship curriculum while Upper Elementary (3rd through 5th grades) will continue to host its monthly Coffee Shop.

Going into the 2018-2019 academic year, COMS looks forward to a partnership with Gerry Burns and Blue Island Music. The Montessori curriculum is rich in music history and hands on exploration.

Longtime local musician and owner of Blue Island Music, Gerry Burns brings with him a passion for all types of music. He sings, plays a variety of instruments including the piano and guitar, and he has many years of experience teaching children and adults. Students will enjoy being more fully immersed in the music curriculum.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, enrichment programs include after-school Spanish, soccer, a running club and chess.

Established in 1990 by three trailblazing Montessori moms—Karen Brienzo of Blue Island and Doris Cox and Marsha Enright of Beverly—the school celebrates 28 years of excellence in education. The school’s founding mission and vision continue to guide the future of the school.

“We focus on educating the whole child,” said Jokanovic. “From providing the nurturing environment and superior academics offered by a Montessori curriculum, to daily experiences in civic engagement, practical experience in entrepreneurship, caring for the environment and practicing a community-based philosophy of interacting with one another with kindness and respect, Council Oak offers a truly exceptional school home to its families.”

Council Oak Montessori School is a non-profit organization and registered with the Illinois State Board of Education as a private/independent school. The school is also a member of Montessori associations including the American Montessori Society, the North American Montessori Teachers Association, the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools and the International Montessori Foundation. 

Montessori schools follow a teaching philosophy that focuses on the child as an individual, providing a framework for children to make their own choices and to learn with a hands-on approach. There is an emphasis on students choosing their educational activities, long blocks of uninterrupted work time and collaboration between students from a range of grade levels.

For more information about Council Oak Montessori School, located at 2521 Grove St., in Blue Island, call (708) 926-9720 or visit the website at