Managing Screen Time in a Digital World

By Meagan Mesirow, Pilgrim Social Worker

Kids today spend more and more time with their digital devices. Their creative, relaxation, and social lives revolve around screens – much like adults. For this reason, a huge part of my Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum involves discussions about managing screen time, digital citizenship, and safety.

4th graders using their online resources during class
4th graders using their online resources during class
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Extended Care at Pilgrim – Everything You Need to Know!

Student playing in Pilgrim's extended care program

For some Pilgrim students, their time at school begins before attendance is taken in the morning and lasts past the time they close their lockers in the afternoon. 

When families enroll their children in extended care at Pilgrim, they should know that this “extra” time spent at school is structured around the same values that define every other aspect of a Pilgrim education. Whether it’s “Early Birds” in the morning or PAS (Pilgrim After School), students feel safe to learn, play, and grow. 

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Pilgrim’s Pre-K Named “Best of Chicago” for Second Time

With its play-based philosophy and “whole child” approach to learning, Pilgrim’s Early Childhood Education Program is designed to be exceptional. But don’t just take our word for it. Once again, Pilgrim’s PreKindergarten has been named as “Best of Chicago” – having previously earned the distinction in 2018. 

Pilgrim Principal Chris Comella and PreKindergarten Teacher Mrs. Joanne Conway with Students

Each year, the “Best of Chicago” Awards are given to local schools and businesses based both on the recommendations of people in the community and third-party data. The Chicago Award Program honors the achievements and accomplishments of organizations that make the Chicago area a great place to live, work and play.

“Our teachers and staff are determined to engage each early childhood and pre-Kindergarten student, and make them feel safe and valued as individuals,” says Pilgrim School Principal Chris Comella. “We deliberately keep our early childhood class sizes small and ensure that every student is supported in achieving his or her own developmentally-appropriate goals.” 

Since there is no “one size fits all” approach to learning, Pilgrim offers Prekindergarten and Kindergarten students ample free time each day to explore and develop their unique interests.  Other distinctive components of a Pilgrim Early Childhood Education include:   

  • Themed-based activities that help children to learn about their world 
  • Regular social-emotional exercises focused on growing social skills, and identifying and dealing with feelings 
  • Spanish language instruction utilizing songs, stories, and puppets
  • Exposure to the fine arts through music and art lessons
  • Faith Formation with a focus on grace.

“Pilgrim’s approach to Early Childhood Education inspires children to grow, learn, and be leaders in every facet of their lives,” says Comella. “Receiving the 2021 ‘Best of Chicago’ Award is an honor, and kudos are due to our teachers and staff for making ‘Academic Excellence with a Heart’ a reality!”

Pilgrim is still accepting applications from prospective students for the remainder of this school year, as well as for 2022-23. 

To learn more about our award-winning pre-Kindergarten program, visit – or sign up to attend an in-person open house or weekly virtual coffee session at

PilgrimFest 2021: Fun, Friends…and Food

Last Sunday’s block party was an amazing celebration of community! We were blessed to gather in beautiful weather, and enjoy the fellowship of school families, church members, Hot Meals guests, and our gracious neighbors. Kids enjoyed bouncing down the giant inflatable slide, feeding adorable animals in the petting zoo, and – or course – taking their turns on the dunk tank seat! The grown-ups in the crowd relaxed with burgers and hotdogs fresh off the grill, and took in the tuneful sounds of the talented St. Jams Band. It was certainly an afternoon to remember. And, we give an extra-loud shoutout to our many dedicated volunteers, who pulled together to make sure everyone could have a joyous time!

A New Beginning!

“I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school.  Firsts are best because they are beginnings.” – Jenny Han

Yesterday was indeed a day of beginnings for Pilgrim students!  They waved goodbye to parents, reunited with friends, and walked to their classrooms with a mix of excitement, anticipation – and maybe a bit of nervousness.

The first day of school holds inherent promise.  Achievements will be earned in both academics and athletics.  Students will grow in character and spirit.  New interests and talents will be discovered. 

During this week of beginnings, we’re grateful to welcome the entire Pilgrim student body back to the classroom for full-time, in-person instruction – after last year’s Covid mitigations required changes to protect health and safety.  We give thanks for the resiliency of our students, teachers, and staff during a time that was challenging for all. 

After taking a brief summer break, we plan to update our blog regularly with news, stories, profiles, and tips that will give you an inside look at the many ways in which Pilgrim Lutheran embodies academic excellence with a heart.  We look forward to the 2021-22 school year with hope and enthusiasm. Please join us on this journey!

Principal Chris Comella 

Private School 101: Answering Common Questions

By Chris Comella, Principal of Pilgrim Lutheran School

Ask most parents in Chicago, and they’ll probably tell you that choosing where their children attend school can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and downright anxiety-provoking!  

For families who are fortunate to have a variety of options, the first major decision to tackle is whether to select a public or private school education.  Both offer specific benefits, and both can provide the “right fit” – depending on a child’s individual strengths and challenges.   

We want to help families just starting the decision-making process – or considering a switch – so we’re providing answers to some frequently asked questions about private schools! 

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