The interior of Butler Children's Preparatory of Chicago's new Ravenswood Manor location. Credit: Provided.

RAVENSWOOD MANOR — A preschool is opening this month in Ravenswood Manor, replacing a popular day care that closed in 2021.

Butler Children’s Preparatory of Chicago is slated to open at 2758 W. Montrose Ave., the old location of Ravenswood Manor Child Care Center, this month. Its leaders said Block Club’s reporting inspired the venture.

The Ravenswood Manor Child Care Center owners abruptly closed the day care in 2021 after more than 20 years serving neighborhood families. The announcement shocked local parents, who scrambled to find new child care.

The day care routinely had a lengthy waitlist, but the owners said at the time they struggled to find and retain employees to care for the kids. Their attempt to sell the business also was unsuccessful, they said.

Nikki Koutsonicolis and Jake Hanifin were inspired to overhaul the space and open a new preschool after reading Block Club’s story, they said. They plan to open by late February once their city and state licenses are finalized, Hanifin said.

Butler Children’s Preparatory of Chicago is hosting an open house 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at the school, Hanifin said.

The school is accepting online applications for admission. Parents can also call 312-643-1401 to schedule a tour and ask questions about enrollment. 

The interior of Butler Children’s Preparatory of Chicago’s new Ravenswood Manor location. Credit: Provided.

The Ravenswood preschool will be Butler’s second location, following one in Gold Coast.

Once open, the Ravenswood Manor preschool will serve kids from infant age up to 5 years old, Hanifin said.

“If a family comes to us when their child’s a baby, they can stay until they go to kindergarten,” Hanifin said. 

Butler will offer two-, three-, four- and five-day options to parents. The two-day option starts at $1,085 per month, while the most expensive option is $2,185 per month for five-day infant care, Hanifin said. 

The day care will also offer a STEM curriculum to children that has already been in place at the Gold Coast location for the past seven years, Hanifin said. 

The goal of the curriculum is to help children start to think critically about physics and other foundational scientific concepts while they play, Hanifin said.

“It’s a more hands-on approach to teaching. With little kids, even though they’re a toddler, we’re still going to introduce them to the idea of force, the idea of pushing and pulling,” Hanifin said. 

Older children will engage in more complex art projects and activities to help reinforce those introductory scientific concepts, Hanifin said. 

“If you teach them the concepts behind it then they’re that much more ready for success when they get into those into those upper grade science classes,” Hanifin said.

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