To the Editor:
We, like many other families in Hyde Park, are very saddened with the recent actions of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (HPNC) to arbitrarily terminate the lease of the Children’s House of Miss Tammie (CHOMT). Our daughter, now 5-years-old and about to graduate to kindergarten, has been attending Miss Tammie’s Montessori School at the HPNC for the past three years. Children’s House of Miss Tammie (CHOMT) is a great place of learning for toddlers and young children with the instruction based on the Montessori system. Miss Tammie welcomes kids of all backgrounds and ethnicities with open arms and heart. The school provides a diverse cultural exposure to children and challenges kids appropriate to their developmental level. The curriculum supplements academic learning with sign language, yoga, music classes and French language to stimulate the emotional quotient of young minds. It also has an excellent summer program for kids of all ages, which is also in jeopardy.
It is very unfortunate that the board of HPNC decided not to extend the lease for the school. The location of Miss Tammie’s school in a communal building like HPNC which also has other daycare/preschool programs, after school programs and other family-friendly activities/classes (e.g., Indian Classical Dance classes by Kalapriya) is ideal for families hailing from Hyde Park many of whom are affiliated with the University of Chicago. The decision of the board to cut ties with this valuable institution deprives the families of the close relationship shared with the neighborhood club. It also unduly forces the school to devote resources to work on relocation when they really want to focus on our children’s learning and development. The actions of the HPNC board seem very restrictive to certain community members. We are frustrated that the board did not deem it necessary to consider the affected families’ views or allow Miss Tammie to negotiate the lease terms. It is entirely legal for the board to terminate the lease but communities do not operate on legal conditions — sympathy and consideration make communities come together and work together.
Keeping this in mind, we would like to appeal to the management of the HPNC to revisit their own manifesto (listed on their website): “… support of youth ages 0-18 in a safe, nurturing environment. We help the neighborhood families and schools to develop healthy well-rounded young people by providing enriching activities, leadership models, a pride of place, and a sense of community” and follow it in their intent by allowing the great work put in by Miss Tammie to continue enriching the community of Hyde Park.
We hope the HPNC board’s actions are brought into the open and made public.
Subhashini Allu and Vineeth Varanasi