Moltenmama wrote:I know this is a long shot, but...Any current or past students have some insight into Hyde Park elementary schools, day care, and family-friendly campus housing? I have some serious planning to do for my move and I'm on the west coast, so I won't be able to see the area until ASW.
Not a long shot at all. I (and a few others) are currently raising kids in Hyde Park.
Housing: I cannot recommend grad student housing highly enough. I live there now with my partner and our son. Our building is filled with other grad student families and lots of kids. There's plenty of shared outdoor space, so the building winds up being a great source of community for the kids and parents alike. Plus, I think you get way more for your money than you would elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Daycares: Look up Baby PhD. It's is a great resource for Hyde Park parents (despite the dorky name). Basically it helps match up Hyde Park families with nannies, babysitters, home daycares and institutional daycares. They've already done the screening process for you, so you don't have to worry that you're leaving your kids with somebody totally sketchy.
I have my son in full-time daycare at Little Inspirations, and we love it. I know others connected to the University use Bright Horizons (there are a couple Hyde Park locations--I'm not sure if there's a difference between the two) and have had great experiences there too.
Schools: of the public schools in the area, I think Ray is generally preferred over Kozminski, so that may be a consideration when figuring out where to live. Some of my neighbors send their kids to the Chicago Free School (it's an alternative, play-based school, new to the neighborhood…i think tuition is on a sliding scale), and they like it.
If my kid were school-aged (he's still in daycare) I wouldn't have any reservations about sending him to Ray. It's probably not The Best Public School in the City, but it's perfectly adequate.
I don't know much about the private schools in the area. A lot of the University faculty send their kids to the Lab School and love it--although I think openings there are rare. Some of my neighbors have sent their kids to Akiba Schecter (jewish day school) or Ancona (Montessori preschool through 8th grade) and seem to like it.
I know there are other Hyde Park school/daycare/housing options out there, but those are the ones I have personal experience with.