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  • Writer's pictureKeystone Montessori School

Keystone Connections: Meet the Chiappetta-Banistean Family!

Meet the Chiappetta-Banistean family! Parents Rick Banistean & Maria Chiappetta, and their children Elan, an ingoing 6th grader, and Emma, an ingoing 3rd grader for the 2020-21 school year. This family has been with Keystone since Elan started as a 3 year old in our Children's House. Let's meet this awesome family!

Tell us about your family:

Rick: Maria and I knew about each other since high school hanging out at a church youth group. We connected again in 2003 through a mutual friend and began spending a lot of time with each other. We moved to Elmwood Park in 2004 buying our first house. We had a destination wedding in Florida getting married on a Royal Caribbean Cruise in 2007.  We had our first child Elan in February 2009 and Emma in October 2009.  Elan is 11 years old. He started at Keystone when he was 3 ½ years old; he is now a 5th year in Senior Elementary. Emma is 7 years, she attended parent infant, and officially started at Keystone 2 months before her 3rd birthday. She just could not wait to be in Miss Katie’s class. Emma is currently a 2nd year in Junior Elementary.

How did you hear about Montessori and what brought you to Keystone?

Rick: Maria was asked to train a Montessori school on diabetes care. She was really impressed with what we saw. We toured two local Montessori schools and instantly fell in love with Keystone. From the moment we walked through the doors of Keystone it felt right, it felt like an extended family. We knew very little about Montessori, Vicki Shea, the head of school, provided us with such wonderful information; Mrs. Shea was so warm and welcoming. We were sold and have not looked back since.

Maria: At every stage we are fascinated at how our children are learning. They are truly learning; they possess such an understanding of math, language, science---It is amazing! More importantly they LOVE to learn. They do not want to miss a single minute of school. A few years ago Elan said to me “Mom I am sorry” Why are you sorry? I asked. Elan said Mom, I am sorry you did not get to go to a Montessori school when you were little. This is truly LOVE.

What do you and your spouse do (career wise)?

Maria: Rick works in the Security Intelligence and Operations Center of Discover Financial Services assessing threats to Discover employees and assets. They monitor news local and global to assess potential impact to employees, travelers and offices. Forest fires, hurricanes, flooding, crimes in progress, protests, riots, recordings of threats, law enforcement support of fraud or missing persons and most recently his department has been the point of contact for all questions and policy enforcement regarding Coronavirus concerns.   

I have been a Nurse at Lurie Children’s Hospital for 22 years, initially working on a Neurosurgery and Neurology unit, and for the past 10 years working as a Diabetes Nurse Educator.

What are you doing as a family to make the most of our time away from school?

Maria: We are going on tons of hikes and bike rides. We have cleaned out and organized four closets, three desks, all our kitchen cabinets and our art room. We have built 6 shelves, one desk and one planter box. We are thinking about rebuilding our deck and turning our living room into a GIANT fort.

Emma is working on several fun and interesting Girl Scout badges.

Elan, whom just crossed over from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA (formerly known as Boy Scouts) is working on 6 merit badges in his quest to become an Eagle Scout.

Rick is VERY much enjoying working from home; he hopes he we will be able to continue to work from home indefinitely.

We love pets.  We currently have 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 Fish.  We are also pet sitting  Gerry, Miss Katie's class pet Frog.  Zoe our dog  is a Rottweiler Chow mix; she is 13 years old.  Zoe is a sweetheart.  Her favorite pastime is eating.   Our two cats are Molly and Chloe, they are both 11 years old.  Our cats love having us home.  They often join Emma for e-learning


 Bonus Question for Elan: What is your favorite thing about Keystone? Why ?  Because of the different way Keystone teaches. I like that there is less homework, day house, boy scouts, girl scouts, stem scouts and how they arrange tables.  Bonus Question for Emma: What is your favorite thing about Keystone? Why Keystone makes learning fun.  I like how Keystone teaches, its different than other schools.  I love my friends.  I like working with my friends during school and being with them during after school activities.  I also Love day house because it is so much fun!

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