Our Campus

A school designed with decades of experience and global best practices to deliver an education needed for the 22nd century
Architecture firm, BLDD, created the master plan and interior design for the Bennett Day campus in close collaboration with the school’s senior team, advisory board, and faculty. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and best practices in education from around the world, the learning environment and building design are intentionally constructed as a ‘Third Teacher’ alongside the faculty and school families. In this way, space uniquely serves a higher function as a canvas for interaction, inspiration, and reflection via student and small group work displayed and shared with our community.
Adaptive Reuse, With Spaces to Tinker and Gather as a Community
bennett-day-school-flagshipRenovating and reusing an existing building at 955 W. Grand Avenue was a sustainable and environmentally conscious strategy important to Bennett Day School.  The campus opened fall of 2016 for students in Senior Kindergarten through Second Grade (five- to seven-year olds), and with a new grade opening each year up through 12th grade. The existing 35,000-square-foot structure will serve the Lower School. The first floor design is designed specifically for our youngest learned. It contains classrooms, an art lab, as well as a Piazza. This common area is a central gathering place where we respectfully display, respect, and reflect on student work. Members of the design team were inspired to create a Piazza at Bennett Day School after traveling to Reggio Emilia, Italy where a town square piazza serves this same purpose for the community. The lower level layout of the campus also contains a large community eating and gathering area where reusable dishes, bowls, and cutlery are utilized for our family-style meals together among students and faculty. The second floor design contains classrooms as well as our TES Lab (Tinkering and Engineering Sciences). This space is the school’s own interpretation of a more classic atelier space or art studio in the Reggio Emilia approach, but now with a broader cross-subject focus across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These tinkering spaces are designed specifically for project-based and hands-on learning. The third floor design contains fourth and fifth grade classrooms, an art lab, and another TES Lab. The fourth floor design provides a music and Spanish lab as well as a 3,300-square-foot indoor gymnasium. Two more phases of construction will help us to accommodate our older grades. 9th and 10th grade will open in the Fall of 2019. These additional spaces will consist of classrooms, a rooftop playspace, and a state-of-the-art gymnasium built to high-school size dimensions.
The City is Our Classroom
Our students have the opportunity to utilize the city as their classroom, through enriching experiences in history and culture on numerous field trips scattered throughout the academic year. In the 2016-2017 school year, our students went on 28 separate field trips. Here, some of our students are on a mural scavenger hunt in Pilsen.
Abundant Access to the Outdoors at School
Photographed by Juan Carlos | © 2016 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com Access to the outdoors and green space is a priority in the Reggio Emilia approach with the environment considered the ‘Third Teacher’, and there are over 10,000-square-feet of playground and garden spaces in the layout of the Flagship Campus.  Wonderful contiguous green spaces at the Flagship Campus are being designed and integrated with the curriculum and approach in mind. With green space that is so easily accessible, safety, gardening, water play, digging, climbing, and crawling — all is possible right on campus.
Our Biblioteca

Libraries in the modern age are less about being spaces for access and more for provoking ideas and supplementing the co-construction of learning that is happening with students and their teachers. Modern library resources include a whole range of elements, from ebooks, to academic databases, to innovative programs that allow students to explore their creative inclinations, learn new skills, and apply their learning in innovative ways. We believe that a principal goal of school libraries should be to inevitably engage students and to provide them with skills necessary to effectively function in academic life. Our school’s library was created with thoughtful intention. While most schools are reimagining areas within their physical library to install maker spaces, Bennett Day started with the dedicated space for our Tinkering and Engineering Sciences Labs and have built (and continue to build) libraries throughout the school.

Mission & Vision:

Our mission is to enrich and support the curriculum of Bennett Day School, to provide students, teachers, and staff with access to credible sources, and to ensure that all are effective learners and users of information.

Students will have access to materials that will help satisfy their sense of inquiry and curiosity, and that will spur further investigation into specific subjects and areas of interest.

Links and Resources:

Wish List (ALA/ALSC Notable Books for the year)

BDS library collection (link to online catalog)

BDS library collection development policy

2018-2019 School Year Advisors & Volunteers:

Heather Mekkelson, Library Committee Co-Chair, Volunteer Library Manager
Beth Roman, Library Committee Co-Chair
Susan Roman, Ph.D., Volunteer Library Consultant/Advisor
Mary Pat Fallon, Ed.D., Volunteer Librarian/Professor

Volunteers
Emily Bidari
Kate Bluestein
Hannah Bloom-Hirschberg
Sharon Book
Rebecca Burke
Ravi D’Souza
Kelly Dean
Christina Hollister
Jen Kim
Priya Mhatre
Erin Nakayama
Ami Nardi
Thea Nichols
Richard Roman
Dahlia Tullett-Gross
Jen Waxberg
Karla Zeiger