About Us

Mission, History & Philosophy

Our Mission

Ancona educates students to become creative problem solvers, confident risk-takers, and independent, lifelong learners. Rooted in the Montessori tradition, our child-centered school stimulates the joy of learning and builds a strong academic foundation. We inspire children to nourish their inner lives, find the power in their own voices and strive for justice and peace. In a community of cultural and economic diversity, Ancona cultivates understanding, care, and respect for others.

Our History

Our school opened its doors in a South Side storefront in 1962 and moved two years later to our current location at the corner of 48th and Dorchester. Nurtured through the years by outstanding faculty and staff together with dedicated parents, Ancona grew from that one-room Chicago preschool into a comprehensive pre-primary through 8th-grade program. In 1965, Ancona started the first Montessori Headstart program in the nation, and our commitment to an economically heterogeneous student body came to life. That commitment continues today with our tuition assistance program.

Unlike the other schools of its day, Ancona offered its innovative programming in a racially inclusive environment. Underlying Ancona’s exceptional educational program is a concern for social justice and for imparting to children a sense of their own agency in the world. Ancona has long been a home for Black teachers and an incubator for culturally responsive practice. This inclusive, humanistic vision proved very much in demand in Hyde Park, and Ancona flourished. 

For over sixty years, Ancona has cultivated compassionate, lifelong learners who strive for equity. We believe the Ancona School sits as a buffer for our students and our families from the increasing disorder of the world. This is not to cloister ourselves, but rather to give us the strength and power of community as we advocate and work for structural change. 

We are dedicated to educating the whole child, nurturing not only our students’ academic growth but also their social-emotional wellbeing, and their sense of purpose as citizens of their local and global communities. Ancona graduates leave us as resilient, deep thinkers who are socially conscious, emotionally intelligent, and academically prepared for the next steps in their development.


We believe that excellence is achieved in an educational community that embodies the following qualities, and we strive to achieve them throughout Ancona.

List of 5 items.

  • Acceptance of Outcome

    Recognizing outcomes as opportunities to learn
  • Community Responsibility

    Commitment to social change; acts to help where help is needed
  • Critical Thinking

    Solving problems; analyzing situations; learning from iteration
  • Exercising Choice

    Thinks critically; carries out self-directed learning
  • Love of Learning

    The product of curiosity, desire, enthusiasm, and determination
    • Affiliations

      Independent Schools Association of the Central States

    • Affiliations

      Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools

    • Affiliations

      National Association of Independent Schools

    • Affiliations

      American Montessori Society

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