By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
The Children’s House of Miss Tammie Montessori School moved out of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and into its new location at The United Church of Hyde Park on May 31. The school is in a larger, more welcoming environment, said the school’s founder Tammie Crutcher.
The Children’s House of Miss Tammie Montessori School (CHMT), a day school and after school program that serves 2 to 6 year olds, has been in operation since 2006. In April Crutcher, who had a month-to-month lease with the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (HPNC), was told by the club’s board members that her program no longer suited the goals of the HPNC, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., and she had until June 30 to leave the building. Outraged by what they felt was abrupt notice, parents whose children attend CHMT wrote letters to the board, but the board stood by its decision.
Crutcher and the parents were concerned about having to move so quickly because they didn’t think they could find a new space on such short notice — and more importantly, they were concerned about how the program’s autistic children would adjust to new surroundings in such a short amount of time.
Crutcher said once she decided that she wanted to move to the United Church of Hyde Park (UCHP), 1448 E. 53rd St., she and the parents began to take the students over to the new space for short visits.
“The kids are excited about the new space,” Crutcher said. “The kids are happy and Miss Tammie is happy.”
CHMT parent Marjorie Marshall said the parents like the new space.
“I love the new space,” Marshall said. “It’s in a good location and I like that the church agreed to stay open a few extra hours in the evening. That’s important for working parents.”
Crutcher said all the parents helped with the move, even using their “backs and hands walking items over.”
Crutcher, who has a one-year lease at UCHP, said the rent is cheaper and the space is larger at the church but most importantly the school “has found a home where the kids are accepted.”
“The Montessori school model is well suited for the church,” Crutcher said. “The church staff smile and welcome the children when they see us. They love us, we’re wanted, needed and loved.”
Although Crutcher, the parents and the students are happy in the new space, Marshall said more work needs to be done.
While picking up their children from the school, many parents had to rush in and out of the class greeting Crutcher then quickly grabbing their children and their coats and bags because they were at the meter or double-parked outside.
“We plan to talk to the alderman about parking in front of the school to see if we can have it changed from paid parking to a 20 minute loading and unloading zone,” Marshall said. “We also want to address the loitering around the church.”
The parents also want upgrades made to Spruce Park, 5337 S. Blackstone Ave.
“I used to take my son there when he was younger and there used to be a swing set there,” said Marshall, who said Crutcher’s students spend a lot of time outside during the summer months. “Now there is only half a swing set and the park is in poor condition.”
The school is also in need of a teacher’s desk, printer, more children’s books, beanbags and computers.