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A Joyful Noise Preschool

Many of our clients are families with young children who are moving from the city to the North Shore. As they shop for homes, they are typically drawn to the communities with the best schools. Even those with toddlers are already thinking about which high school they want their children to attend. As for elementary school, most have scoured the sites with school rankings to make sure their children are in the schools which will prepare them best for high school.

Preschool usually isn’t a factor when choosing a community, but once a family has bought a house they set about finding a preschool that will get their little ones off to a great start in their education. Fortunately we have a lot of terrific preschools on the North Shore, and which one you choose depends on which best fits your child’s temperment and your own philosophy about early childhood education.

A Joyful Noise is a school that consistently gets high marks from its parents for its play-based curriculum, experienced and nurturing teachers and strong parent community. Many parents make life-long friendships with the other parents in the school.

A Joyful Noise is one of two preschools in Kenilworth and is affiliated with Kenilworth Union Church. You don’t have to live in Kenilworth to attend and you don’t have to be a member of the Church. But the school is based on the principles and values of the Christian faith, and there is a faith dimension to the curriculum.

There is a Moms & Tots (<2 years) program one day a week, and programs for two year olds and three year olds, as well as Junior Kindergarten.

Here’s what’s special about A Joyful Noise:

  • It’s a play-based curriculum whose purpose is development of the whole child and which is based on current research on best practices in early childhood development.
  • It has a wonderful play-space that no other school can match: a huge lot behind the church with playground and garden that the kids enjoy year-round.
  • The teachers are very experienced and have long tenure at the school.
  • There is a strong community of parents who are very involved in the school, and fellowship is an important part of the experience. My neighbor, Chris, gave me a great example of this: when her second child was born the school families prepared and delivered six weeks of meals to her family!

If you would like to consider a preschool that incorporates Christian principles, you should check out A Joyful Noise. If you don’t live in Kenilworth, don’t worry. Only about 20% of kids at A Joyful Noise live there. The rest are from all over the North Shore: Wilmette, Winnetka, Glenview, Northfield, etc.

A Joyful Noise Preschool is located at 211 Kenilworth Avenue, Kenilworth, IL 60043. For more info or to schedule a tour of the school call (847) 853-2100 or visit

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This Kenilworth Home is a Perfect Condo Alternative

The Come Home North Shore team just listed this charming cottage at 371 Ridge Road in Kenilworth. The home is a perfect condo alternative and conveniently located near the train, schools and Ridge Road shopping. At $349,900, it’s undoubtedly the best value in Kenilworth!

The home has a fascinating history. Built in 1879, this cottage originally functioned as a tavern and was located across the street in Wilmette (then known as Gross Point). Word has it that the tavern’s two back bedrooms were rented out by the hour. With the onset of Prohibition, all of the taverns on Ridge Road were closed. (The village of Gross Point, having lost its major source of revenue, went bankrupt and was later annexed by Wilmette). The building was moved to Kenilworth and re-purposed as a residence.

The single-story home has spacious living and dining rooms, a light-filled family room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The large basement offers ample room for storage, workshop and laundry, though there is a stackable washer/dryer on the main floor, as well.

You can see more pictures and get more info about 371 Ridge Road here. If you’d like to tour the home, please give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to show it to you. You can search other Kenilworth homes for sale here.

We are North Shore real estate specialists and one of the top teams in the area. If you would like to schedule a buyer or seller consultation with the Come Home North Shore team, please contact us at 847-881-6657 or send us a note here


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Memorial Day Ceremonies on the North Shore of Chicago


Before you hit the pool or fire up the grill on Monday, take time to honor our fallen heroes this Memorial Day at one of the North Shore’s ceremonies:


American Legion Post 42 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at Fountain Square  – Veterans Memorial Plaza (Davis St. and Sherman Ave.) beginning at 10:30 am. The Northwestern University NROTC color guard and rifle team have been invited to participate. Evanston leaders will offer their thoughts and perspectives on Memorial Day and its meaning.


The parade begins at 10:30 on the corner of Lake and Ridge (St. Joseph’s parking lot) and proceeds down Lake to Park Ave, then south to Wilmette Ave. and east to Village Hall, where there will be a ceremony to honor our war heroes. Read the rest of this entry »

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5 Fun Things To Do on the North Shore: February 10-12

Robin's Dog Stars

Looking for something fun to do on Chicago’s North Shore this weekend? Here are some ideas:

Movie Night featuring “The Smurfs”

Friday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 pm
Kenilworth Club, 410 Kenilworth Ave., Kenilworth
Tickets: $5.00 (includes snacks)
All ages

Family Bingo Night

Friday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 pm
Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka- Rm 111
$15.00 (includes snacks and beverages)
All ages

Robin’s Dog Stars

Saturday, Feb. 11 2:00-2:45 pm
Wilmette Library, 1242 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette
Two dogs will visit the library with their expert trainer, Robin Bengston. They’ll do stunts, show off their adding and counting skills , and even perform some magic tricks.
All ages.

Comedy at the Mette with Sean Flannery

Saturday, Feb. 11 at 9:00 pm
Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette
Tickets: $12

Jazz Vespers

Sunday, Feb. 12 at 4:00 pm
Winnetka Congregational Church, 725 Pine St., Winnetka
Featuring the Victor Goines Quartet and vocalist Tammy McCann
Suggested donation: $10.00
All ages


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Kenilworth is Third Wealthiest Zip Code in America

Kenilworth sign recently released findings of a study to determine the 50 wealthiest zip codes in America. Three North Shore communities ranked in the top fifteen, with Kenilworth in third place with an average household income of $323,588 and an average household net worth of $1,558,833.

Lake Forest and Winnetka, which ranked thirteen and fourteen, respectively, were the only other Illinois communities recognized in the report,

Here’s a list of the other zip codes making up the top fifteen richest areas in the country:

#1 – Palm Beach, FL (33480)

#2 – Old Westbury, NY (11568)

#3 – Kenilworth, IL (60043)

#4 – Beverly Hills, CA (90210)

#5 – Portola Valley, CA (94028) Read the rest of this entry »


North Shore Housing Inventory

Here is a snapshot of active listings (single family detached homes) on the market as of April 5, 2010.

# Active Listings
Avg. List Price
Median List Price
Days on Market
Highland Park
Lake Forest

Source: MRED – Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


North Shore Market Update: 1st Quarter 2010

The North Shore housing market looks a whole lot better in 2010 than it did at this time last year. Driven by low interest rates, the home buyer tax credit, plentiful supply of homes to choose from and attractive prices, buyers have returned to the market. Prices are still soft but the rate of decline has slowed.

Housing sales on Chicago’s North Shore increased 56% in the first quarter of 2010 vs. the same period last year. All towns had healthy increases except for Northfield which had one less sale this year than last. The big winner in percentage terms was Kenilworth, which had nine sales this year vs. one last year.

Average prices for sold properties on the North Shore was down 7%. Lake Forest showed the biggest drop (-30%), followed by Winnetka (-21%). Highland Park had only a 1% decrease in average price, while Evanston and Wilmette actually showed increases. Kenilworth’s large increase in average price was driven by the fact that the only sale in 2009 was for an unusually low-priced property for this village.

Days on market for properties sold was down 8% for the North Shore, but the numbers varied widely across individual towns. The largest decreases in market time were in Wilmette (-70%) and Lake Forest (-58%). The largest increases were in Kenilworth (+48%) and Northfield (+38%).

North Shore Market Update – 1st Qtr. 2010 vs. Year Ago*

AnnechartNS*Single family detached homes. Source: MRED – Deemed reliable but not guaranteed

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North Shore Market Update: January-February 2010

For the first two months of 2010 sales of single family homes on Chicago’s North Shore were up 47% over the same period last year. The big winners were Highland Park and Lake Forest, which both more than doubled their sales vs. last year. Kenilworth, which only had one sale in the first two months of 2009, had five this year.

While prices were down 7% from this time last year, the rate of decline does seem to be slowing and the market may be nearing the bottom. Market times are up over last year but down versus previous months and there is less inventory on the market now.

North Shore Market Trends: Jan. – Feb. 2010 (vs. year ago)

Units Sold
% chg
Avg. Price
% chg
Mkt Time
% chg
Highland Park
Lake Forest

Source: MRED LLC -Deemed reliable but not guaranteed

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Guide to Kenilworth Preschools

preschool girls with doll houseThis is Part 3 of my preschool series, with a list of Kenilworth schools. Kenilworth is a small town so there are not many, but you also have access to the preschools in nearby Winnetka and Wilmette.

All Things Bright and Beautiful Preschool

222 Kenilworth Ave., Kenilworth, IL 60043
(847) 251-6120, ext. 16
All Things Bright and Beautiful website

Run by the Church of the Holy Comforter, this preschool program is open to children 2-4 years old. There is also a “Mommy and Me ” program for younger children. It offers a play-based program focused on the social, emotional and spiritual growth of its children.

A Joyful Noise Preschool

211 Kenilworth Ave., Kenilworth, Il 60043
(847) 853-1738
A Joyful Noise website

A Joyful Noise is the preschool at Kenilworth Union Church but is open to members and non-members alike. It offers programs for 0-5 year olds, including Mommy and Me Music Class, Moms and Tots, Two’s and Older Two’s classes, Three’s classes and Junior Kindergarten. Extended day and enrichment programs are also offered.

For more information, visit

Joseph Sears School

542 Abbotsford Rd., Kenilworth, IL 60043
(847) 256-5006

Joseph Sears School is the public school in Kenilworth for grades JK-8. The Junior Kindergarten provides a warm and nurturing environment in which children can learn through interactive play and problem-solving.  Activities include art, music, dramatic play, outdoor play, math, science, reading and pre-writing. Different levels of ability, development and learning styles are expected, accepted and used to design appropriate activities.

Related posts:

Anne West - Your North Shore Real Estate Connection

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New Trier Referendum: Get the Facts Before You Vote

I realize that there are two sides to every issue and the referendum for the renovation of New Trier High School is no exception. I have my own point of view and I respect the fact that not everyone shares it.

Having said that, I do think that it is our responsibility as citizens to be informed voters. So, before you cast your vote this coming Tuesday, please make sure you have the facts. There is a lot of false and misleading information circulating. Here are some examples:

1. There will be a big balloon payment at the end of the project, at the taxpayers’ expense.
FACT: There is no balloon payment.That financing option was rejected. The increase to tax bills will be approximately $299 per $10,000 tax bill over the life of the project.

2. This is the largest school referendum in Illinois history.
FACT: This is NOT the largest school referendum in Illinois history. In 2006 alone, 4 larger capital referenda passed, approving bond issues of $185 million in Dundee, $225 million in Lincoln Way, $252 million in Plainfield and $450 million in Oswego. Also, it’s important to understand that new construction is cheaper than renovation because there is not demolition involved, nor the need to provide for continuation of classes and student activities while construction is going on.

3.At $300/sq ft. the cost of the renovation is more than the Trump Tower!
When you compare apples to apples construction costs (not including furniture, temporary classrooms, demolition costs etc.), the cost of the New Trier renovation is $239/sq ft, which, needless to say, is significantly less than the Trump Tower.

4. This is just the first in a series of referenda that will increase our taxes.
FACT: The changes and upgrades being proposed are anticipated to see us through the next 20+ years without another capital referendum. In fact,  this is the first “bricks and mortar” referendum for the Winnetka campus since 1953. If the last one was 57 years ago, why do we think there are more planned in the foreseeable future?

5. The project is completely focused on athletic facilities and has nothing to do with improving the academic curriculum.
A new field house is one piece of the project…why? Because New Trier does not have adequate space for its athletic programs. It is virtually the only high school in the area that does not have a field house.

New Trier running track
New Trier Indoor Track
Argo Community High track
Argo Community High Indoor Track

However, there will also be more and bigger classrooms that can use technology and are better suited to modern teaching methods,  a new cafeteria that can accommodate all students, a bigger library with more quiet study space, new science labs and new music, visual and tech arts classrooms.

It should also be noted that the renovation will correct a long-standing problem of inaccessibility: 30% of the campus is not ADA compliant.

5. The cost of the project will result in lower property values. (I got this one as a broadcast voice mail the other day)
FACT: One of the biggest draws for people to move to our township is the schools, particularly New Trier High School. As our high school gets more outdated and further behind the curve of what is the standard for excellence for high school education and facilities, New Trier township will become less attractive to prospective buyers, and THAT will cause home values to go down.

6. The renovation features excessive and frivolous things like heated indoor parking spaces.
There are no heated underground parking spaces.  The new plan includes underground parking to replace current staff lots lost in the construction project and to preserve green space on the land-locked campus

To learn more about the proposed renovation, take the tour of the Winnetka campus. There are tours Saturday, January 30 at 10:00, 10:45, 11:30, 12:15, 1:00 and 1:45. Visit the New Trier facilities web site for a virtual tour and more details about the project. Read the top ten reasons to vote “yes” on February 2nd.

Then make your decision. If you still think the proposed renovation is wrong-headed, we can agree to disagree. That’s the beauty of democracy.

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