The Albrook School--Montessori at its best
The Albrook School--The Albrook School--Montessori at its best

Upcoming Events

Friday, January 12
Elementary DJ Dance
Monday, January 15
Martin Luther King Day
Spirit Day
Parent Workshop on Peace at 8:45AM
Presented by: Sonnie McFarland
In-Service Day - Early Dismissal
Thurday, January 25
PK2 Art Night
Friday, January 26
Early Dismissal
11:30-11:45 In-service Day
Expanded Care

Albrook News

Empathy Labyrinth

by Ms. Balaji

Labyrinths are an ancient form that has fascinated people for a millennia. A labyrinth lets you see where you are at all times and connects you to your heart. Similarly, empathy lets you see where you are all times and connects you to your heart as well. The Empathy-Labyrinth combines both elements and makes for a deeply profound and meditative experience as you journey on your ultimate path, connection!

The Empathy-Labyrinth is a kinesthetic tool that guides you step-by-step through the process of self-empathy. You will gain greater clarity about your feelings and needs/values. As a result, it connects you to your heart, letting you live a more blissful life. Our friends in Kandinsky embarked upon one such empathy labyrinth journey during our peace circle time. We decided to go out and explore various ways to help us create a peaceful environment. As a classroom, we discussed some key areas that might need additional support to strengthen our community. Our mission was to come up with various ways to integrate teaching empathy and compassionate communication skills to resolve differences. With a set mission in our mind, we walked through the Labyrinth.

As a follow-up to this activity we asked our friends to write in their journal about their experience and come up with some suggestions for us. We were fascinated to read what they all had for us to share:

  • Plants and flowers help add an aesthetic appeal and will make our environment calmer.
  • We must respect each other's space and be mindful not to disturb it.
  • Talk softly, so we don't disturb others who are working.
  • Try and use "I feel-" statements to express our feelings.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, learn to hold their hand and guide them without hurting their feelings.
  • Complement our friends when they help you. We can express how happy you are to have them as a friend.
  • Connect with others from your heart.
  • Reveal what truly matters and how you can act on it.
  • Transform judgment into compassion, understanding, and peace.
  • Discover choice and freedom regarding conflicts

We were very pleased to see how our journey to the Labyrinth motivated our Kandinsky friends to come up with various ways to make our community peaceful!

Come Explore The Albrook School Library and Peace Library

by Mrs. Sinck

Our Peace Library was created in 2008 through Ms. Albers' vision and inspiration. Our peace library has grown over the years. These books focus on any topic relating to peace such as: empathy, kindness, peace around the world, International Peace Day, mindfulness, conflict resolution, friendship, and emotions. There are many books available for all age levels. For example, you might enjoy I Am Peace - A Book of Mindfulness or Each Kindness for the preschool or kindergarten level . Other examples might be Paths to Peace or Old Turtle and the Broken Truth for the elementary level. With Empathy and Respect as our school goal this year, our peace library is a wonderful way to incorporate these goals into our daily lives. Our library is a peaceful environment for the children to explore and all afternoon preschool and elementary children visit the school library once a week. But did you know that it is available for everyone to use? Parents are welcome to come and explore our peace library as well as the parenting section, or check out additional books of interest for your children.

Thanksgiving Food Drive 2017

by Ms. MacNeill

Thank you for the overwhelming response to our food drive. The food drive was a great success due to the continued generosity and support of you, our parents and families here at Albrook.

From the moment the drive was published, little friends carried, pulled, and dragged bags filled with the much needed food items. It was truly heartwarming to observe our young students enrolled in the art of doing and giving.

Our words of appreciation are echoed in the thank you from the staff at the Somerset Food Bank. They shared, "Due to a large number of families in need, there is a greater demand for the food service from our Food Bank and indeed Food Banks all over the state. Since our doors opened in 1982, the number of families we serve has increased. It has become increasingly difficult to keep our shelves stocked. It is only through the constant support and generosity of people like the families at The Albrook School that enables us to keep our doors open to serve those less fortunate in our community."

Thank you for your love and support and for helping to make a difference in someone's Thanksgiving Day!

Financial Aid for 2018-2019

Procedure and Criteria for Awarding Financial Aid/Scholarships:

A limited number of scholarships are offered each year to students in the Kindergarten and Elementary Programs. Applications must be submitted to FAST; it is Independent School Management's (ISM) FAST (tuition assistance for School Tuition) program. FAST provides a need-based tuition analysis service. A report is generated and supplied to The Albrook School indicating what a family should reasonably contribute toward tuition. All applications must be submitted to FAST no later than February 23, 2018. All information is kept strictly confidential.

The Administration and the Board Scholarship Committee review all the financial aid applicants and award scholarships based on the following criteria:

  • The family's demonstrated commitment to Montessori education
  • Student's personal potential within the class and program
  • Financial need based on expected family contribution (a measure of the family's ability to pay for the child's education)
  • Academic merit

The dollar amount of scholarships awarded is affected by the total amount of money designated for scholarships for that school year and the number of applicants awarded scholarships.

When you complete the online application, you will go to: The application process is self-guided. You may partially complete the application and save your work and then return back to it at a later time. FAST offers online email help and a 24/7 helpline is provided. The nonrefundable fee for the application is $41.00 and is to be paid for at the end of the session by the applicant using a credit card. VISA, MasterCard and AMEX are acceptable. After completing the online application, you will be required to mail or scan all of your 2017 tax documents for both state and federal taxes with all the schedules and W-2's to:

Independent School Management
Attn: FAST Processing
1316 North Union Street
Wilmington, DE 19806-2594

Put THE ALBROOK SCHOOL's name on the outside of the envelope to ensure quick processing of your application.


All families submitting applications will be notified of the results before April 1.


APA December News

by Mrs. Marshall, APA Vice President

Formerly an annual event at Albrook, the Holiday Breakfast was brought back this year, much to the delight of our Albrook families. Teachers, students and parents gathered on Saturday, December 2nd, to celebrate the holiday season. Held in Albers Hall, the morning was an opportunity for good food, warm drinks, cheer, and togetherness.

The Holiday Breakfast opened to delightful seasonal music played by Mrs. Tomaru and upper elementary students (Miya Tomaru and Darya Tahmasebi on violin; Aidan Vineis, Cordelia Lucid, Douglas DeBue, and Darya Tahmasebi on piano). As Albers Hall filled with adults and children, it felt like a winter wonderland, with decorations that the preschool classes had worked so hard on all week and beautiful centerpieces provided by the school's Girl Scout troops. Even Santa Claus himself cleared his schedule to visit and hand out delicious candy canes to the children of Albrook. Families enjoyed coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and a buffet of breakfast food. We then were treated to a riveting magic show by the magnificent Mr. Lipman. Student and parent volunteers participated enthusiastically; one parent even braved sharp knives being juggled over his body! Next, students joined Tommy Majkowski, Ms. Hicks, and Mrs. Fritsch for some cozy seasonal story time.

The breakfast closed with a beautiful Group Sing; current students and alumni gathered around while Mrs. Marvi played guitar, and they all sang a lovely chorus of holiday tunes. What a wonderful way to kick off this holiday season for our community!

Upcoming APA events

January 24, 2018
Meg Walters, Illustrator of Lucy Loves Sherman

March 9, 2018 at 6:30pm
SPRING EVENT, Bridgewater Manor (adults-only)

June 1, 2018
Teachers' Appreciation Luncheon

Thank you to the APA

Many thanks to Mrs. Vineis and Mrs. Marshall for resurrecting the annual Holiday Breakfast for The Albrook School. They coordinated a large team of parent volunteers who all worked so well together to make this event a fun and delicious one for both children and parents. It took many hands to serve a breakfast for all, arrange entertainment and coordinate such wonderful holiday décor. We love and appreciate community building events at Albrook.

The pumpkins, mums and hay bales were very elegantly displayed at all the outside entrances in the fall thanks to the decorative eyes of Ms. Tessieri. Now she has assisted by adding a holiday flair by transforming our school for our winter enjoyment.

The Albrook School is what it is today because of the wonderful dedication of parents. We thank you.

Reflecting on the Albrook Experience: The Rodriguez Family

What inspired you to choose the Montessori Method?
We moved to NJ from Florida and were looking for a school for Max to go to. Initially, upon our move, we lived in Millburn, where he attended a nearby Montessori school until we decided where to permanently settle. That's where we heard about The Albrook School. The teachers at that school raved about Albrook. We did some research and realized that we really wanted him to attend this school. Within a year, we moved to Basking Ridge and Max began attending Albrook.

Did you feel that the school partnered with you in the guiding of your child's learning? Absolutely.

What grade did your child complete prior to leaving Albrook?
Max attended Albrook until he graduated from Kindergarten.

Did you feel the knowledge Max had gained at Albrook prepared him for the next level of his educational journey academically, socially, emotionally?
The educational experience for Max at Albrook was fantastic. He entered the public school system in 1st grade in Basking Ridge with a solid and strong base in both reading and math. Most importantly, he has a love for learning, a positive attitude, a caring & nurturing approach, and the ability to think for himself confidently. What more can I say? He has thrived academically as well as socially and is a very confident, happy, and caring young man.

Are there any special memories of Albrook you would wish to share?
There are SO many! Miss Albers as well as his teachers, Mrs. Tarangul and Mrs. Delia are still people we talk about often - they had such a great impact on his life. The structure and focus on independent work was great, yet he was able to just jump right into a structured public school system seamlessly. The activities and caring atmosphere at Albrook were also memorable. It was the perfect combination of education, discipline, and nurturing / caring - - the type that would help a child grow into a responsible, confident, and loving young adult. A strong PTO with involved and engaged parents was something that I, as a mother, was impressed by and involved in. The kindergarten "graduation" was a very special event with the play and reception. The book that the teachers make for the graduating kindergarten students is something we still pull out often.

Do you keep in touch with any friends from Albrook?
Absolutely. Max made lifelong friends at Albrook that he has remained close to despite having gone to different schools after graduating from Albrook. I made many lifelong friends as well that I still see and get together with often.

We love Albrook and it will always be, to us, the starting point in Max's education and social environment that shaped and set the stage for the amazing young man that he is today.

Activities to Make the Most of Winter

When cabin fever hits the children and adults this winter, try a few of these activities:

Visit your local library and check out books on winter themes. Then come home and take turns reading to one another.

Make greeting cards for residents of a local nursing home. Then take a 'field trip' to deliver them together.

Make a pine cone bird feeder using peanut butter and birdseed. Then hang it outside a window where you'll get to see the birds enjoy the treat each day.

Bundle up and take a walk during a snowstorm.

Make a graph showing each day's high and low temperatures for the week. Then make predictions about next week and see who's closest to each day's actual temperature.

Take a winter hike and let the children take photos of interesting things such as birds, mossy rocks, fallen trees, animal tracks, etc.

Create a winter scavenger hunt outdoors.

Play board games.

Fill a spray bottle with colored water and write in the snow. This is a great way for young children to practice their letters.

Invite another family over for "a make your own pizza night" with movies.

Set up a bird feeder and keep a bird watching log to see what birds visit the feeder.

Learn to cook or bake something new. Children might love kneading bread or stretching taffy or shredding cheese for fondue.

A Visit to Liberty Science Center

by Elementary students Zander, Lucille, Caitlin, and Alex

Liberty Scienced Center

The Lower and Upper Elementary students went to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 for a field trip. We went to the first, second, third, and fourth floors. There were many fun exhibits on each floor. The first floor had the skyscraper exhibit. It showed you how they build skyscrapers. There were a lot of construction tools and machines we could use. There was a backhoe you could use to dig into a pile of stones. There was also a magnetic crane you could use to grab and stack blocks on top of each other.

First, we went to the Eat or Be Eaten demonstration and saw a tortoise, a snake, a bearded dragon, and a scorpion. The scorpion glows blue when a UV black light is shined on it. We also saw a big parrot through the window. He was born in 1964. He was very colorful and pretty. We then went into a big room that was full of tanks with different types of sea creatures. After that we moved on to explore exhibits on the other floors and moved back and forth between them.

Liberty Science CenterSome of our favorites were the infinity climber, the rock wall, the bacteria exhibit where a big face sneezed water on us, the giant bubble maker, and the estuary exhibit where we learned about salt, fresh, and brackish water. We saw and heard a beehive full of bees. The energy exhibit showed wind, water, and solar power and how they work. There were so many things there, we ran out of time before we could do it all.

We had a great trip! Everyone should go to Liberty Science Center!

Discipline Technique Workshop

by Ms. McCusker

What do I do when my toddler runs off every time I ask him to clean up? What do I do when we are at the supermarket and my 3 year old refuses to walk when we are nearly ready to pay for the groceries? These are just a few of the tricky questions that we discussed at the Discipline Technique Workshop on Tuesday, October 24.

It was wonderful to see so many eager parents looking for solutions for when their children's behavior becomes challenging and for Mrs. Feldman to come back again and share what she has learned and implemented from last year's workshop.

For those of you who could not attend and are looking for some techniques for when children get over tired and over stimulated, here are a few of the most effective techniques:

  • When giving a direction make sure you have your child's attention.
  • Use a calm voice.
  • Acknowledge the child's feeling to let them know you understand what they want.
  • Be gentle but firm.

Stepping Stones Plus

by Mrs. Ponzio

Stepping Stones Plus

As a member of the Albrook community, we are excited to share with you the good news of an Albrook program, Stepping Stones Plus.

The program was initiated this year based on the needs of today's working parents and the desire for Albrook to serve our community. When the program was designed, many factors were considered: maintaining our mission statement, adhering to the Montessori philosophy, and providing for the needs of the individual child.

There are a variety of schedule options available. Included are:

  • 5 days 7:30-5:30
  • 3 days 7:30-5:30 and 2 days 8:30-11:15
  • 3 days 7:30-5:30
The expanded hours are available on the days that school is open.

Mrs. Antoniello has found great joy in working with the children. Ms. Wang, a Stepping Stones Plus parent stated, "This program gives us peace of mind knowing that Mikayla is in good hands the entire day, even after school hours she can still enjoy playing and learning."

Throughout Albrook's history, word-of-mouth is how our enrollment has continued to grow and develop. As advocates for Albrook, please share the news of the Stepping Stones Plus program with prospective parents in your community. We are excited to see how interest in the program has spread.

The Albrook School Labyrinth

by Mrs. Marvi


We are delighted to announce the official opening of The Albrook School Labyrinth. Ms. Albers cut the ceremonial ribbon on November 2, and gave a presentation on its use to all of the elementary children. Duncan Cheng and Victor Flaith assisted Ms. Albers in demonstrating mindful walking through the labyrinth. The elementary children will in turn give lessons on the labyrinth to the preschool and kindergarten students.

Labyrinths date back to ancient times and have long been used as tools to enhance mindfulness and meditation. Unlike mazes, which might contain many dead ends or incorrect avenues, labyrinths draw us inwards as we follow a single path. This single path always leads us towards the center. We then return, when ready, to the exterior, once again walking mindfully as we progress along the labyrinth's pathway.

It is interesting to note that our Albrook students are not unfamiliar with the labyrinth concept. Many have built and walked through their own labyrinths in the classroom. These have been constructed with a variety of Montessori materials including The Long Rods.

Our Albrook labyrinth is a traditional Chartres design, and is located in the courtyard adjacent to the swimming pools. It was made possible by a generous donation from Ms. Albers and the skilled work of Mr. Bill Bonnell. We are truly grateful for this wonderful addition to the campus and look forward to its use by many students for many years to come.

Former Albrook Student Publishes Book on Mindfulness

by Ms. Baird


The Albrook School has some exciting alumni news. Former student Mariam Trichas, currently attending Pingry as a high school student, has written and published a book on mindfulness. Titled Find Your Happy Place: A Guide to Mindfulness, this book is a compilation of research, history, and mindfulness techniques paired with inspiring and evocative photographs, many of which were taken by Mariam herself.

Mariam hosted a book signing and a meet the author event on October 7th at the Alhamra Art Center in Bernardsville. Mariam and her family reached out particularly to Albrook, inviting members of our community to come to this event in support and celebration. Ms. Hicks and I were so proud of Mariam and honored to have been invited.

Mariam's book is available on Amazon and at At the book signing, we purchased three copies, one for each of the Albrook elementary classrooms. Kudos to Mariam, who has several other literary publications and awards. We wish her all the best in the future!

Empathy and Respect in Preschool

by Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Dignam

"Look a little bug!" "Be careful!" "Don't let it fall!" These are a few phrases that we hear around the Albrook playgrounds on a regular basis. Our children dig for worms, and they put them back "home" in the ground where they will be safe. These interactions are important. "Respect and Empathy" begins with every living creature and our children embrace the concept.

In all Montessori classes the children have jobs. Some common ones are sponging the tables, sweeping the floor or caring for pets. Thanks to the American Montessori Society Conference last year, Mrs. Smith learned about a new job: soother. The "soother" takes the responsibility of caring for a distressed classmate. In our classes we have created an environment where the children think about how their friend might feel. Mrs. Marvi taught our children a song about walking in someone else's shoes. We feel we have primed our students to be aware, and we were confident that this new "job" would be worthwhile.

The first soother in our class was given guidance prior to her soothing responsibilities. We suggested that when a classmate was upset, she could offer that child a glass of water. We also said she could ask if they wanted a hug. We told her to do whatever she thought would help. The day arrived when we had a child in distress. We asked the child if he wanted the soother and he nodded "yes" decisively. The soother immediately took charge. She told everyone to "back up" and she cleared the space. She then asked if he wanted a drink of water, to which he said "yes." After he took a sip of water, she asked if he needed a hug. He did. She gave him a hug and asked him why he was sad, and he told her. She told him it would be OK.

This was the first of many soothing success stories in class. When each soother takes on the responsibility, we observe one child caring for another. Additionally, the rest of our students witness this interaction.

One of the requirements to feel empathy is to allow oneself to be vulnerable. Our children are being challenged in every class to be aware of their environment and to think and feel how others are feeling. When we walk around our campus and we see our children show respect for the tiniest insects, we know that they are relating to that creature with wonder and empathy.

Professional Development Workshops at Albrook

by Mrs. Marvi

Recently Albrook's staff had the opportunity to attend workshops on diversity and inclusiveness. These in-service afternoons and other meetings provided a practical forum for further exploration of our school goals of empathy and respect.

These workshops were presented by Dr. Emily Jones McGowan. Dr. Jones McGowan has an extensive background in the field of education and public policy. She is presently working with The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at NYU Steinhardt.

During the workshops, Dr. Jones McGowan noted the positive learning environments that The Albrook School provides. Ours is a school climate where differences in many forms are prized. Each classroom environment is, after all, an environment of differences. We encompass different ages, gifts, talents, personalities, ethnicities and cultures. In addition, our Montessori curriculum, at its very core, invites us to delve deeply into cultures across the globe with a particular focus on how all humankind demonstrates the commonality of striving towards the fulfillment of its fundamental needs.

This, of course, doesn't mean that our work is done or that we have no other opportunities for furthering our efforts towards developing inclusive and equitable learning environments for all of our students. The bottom line is that we at Albrook are committed to ensuring that an appreciation for the diversity of our student population is prized and celebrated.

In keeping with Montessori's philosophy on the 'spiritual preparation of the teacher' we must all assess our approaches as educators and staff to our children. We daily hear Montessori's call to examine our actions. We face, at times, uncharted territory in terms of greeting the new or unfamiliar in our student population. Dr. Jones McGowan's exercises invite us to "have the conversation'; to discuss and confront our own discomfort with what might be unfamiliar and to recognize when and if we bring misconceptions or biases to the table.

As you can imagine, these workshops were especially eye opening for us. We recognized a need for a 'reset'. Albeit with the best of intentions we needed to adjust our approaches to not only acknowledge our own need to embrace discomfort but to model appropriate responses to the new and unfamiliar in our students.

In essence, if we examine our own attitudes and approaches to these matters we can truly put ourselves in the shoes of others, and truly empathize with those who may face adversity and disenfranchisement because of their differences in any arena.

We greatly appreciate Dr. Jones McGowan's generous sharing of her insight, time and expertise.

An Alumnus Story

by Lex D'Andrea

I started at The Albrook School in Stepping Stones and graduated from sixth grade in 2012. I have many fond memories of Albrook, especially of my peers and teachers. Specifically, I most enjoyed all the plays we did throughout the year with Mrs. Lipman and Ms. Crawford. I can vividly remember all of the rehearsals and practices we did as it was a great bonding time for the whole school. I remember eating popsicles outside on the benches in Upper Elementary every once in a while and running away from the bees (I'm still afraid of bees!). I remember the numerous music classes and times we went to perform for the residents in nursing homes. All of these things helped me mature and appreciate life in a way that is not just for me, but for giving back to others and the community. From the soccer field to the computer room, I cannot think of a place I did not enjoy learning in and gaining new experiences to take with me into the later parts of my life.

I was mentally and socially prepared for middle school to a point where I was far ahead of my peers. My first reaction, after getting to middle school, was being shocked at how loud and disruptive some of the children were in their classroom. But Albrook gave me the skills to be respectful to the teachers, to be patient, and to excel academically.

The joy of learning has taken me across the country and around the world not only through my passions such as gaming, but also through my love of travel and experiencing new cultures. My new goal I have set for myself is to be trilingual by age thirty, in Spanish, Mandarin, and English.

Still to this day, I keep in touch with Peter, as we were best friends for all our years at Albrook, and for a while, it was not the same without him in middle school. Currently, I still go to school with Sikata at Ridge High School and have shared a couple of classes throughout my time there. I continue to use my love of learning in high school as I try to get to know my teachers more and develop a connection with them that allows me to dive further into the course work. This not only elevates my excitement for college but to know that soon enough, I can explore further into the intricacies of topics that interest me, such and politics, economics, and language. However, none of this would have been possible if it were not for my time at Albrook. I was able to create experiences that turned into real life lessons that have and will continue to last for many years and hopefully, will influence others in a similar way.

Love and best wishes,
Alexander James D'Andrea (Lex)

Reflecting on the Albrook Experience

by Mrs. Nancy D'Andrea

What inspired you to choose the Montessori Method? Why did you specifically select the Albrook School?
To be honest, we knew very little about the Montessori Method when we walked into The Albrook School for our tour. My son was just 6 weeks old at the time and my husband, Joe, and I heard about the wonderful environment at Albrook through mutual friends of ours who lived in town. The tour was given to us by Ms. Albers and it was amazing to see how the children were interacting amongst themselves and with the teachers. Nothing was chaotic and everything seemed to encompass peace, love, and respect. We came out of that tour knowing we would definitely apply. We didn't even bother looking at other schools.

Did you feel that the school partnered with you in the guiding of your child's learning? What grade did your child complete prior to leaving Albrook?
Yes! Our son, Lex, started in Stepping Stones and graduated 6th grade in 2012. Throughout his entire journey, we were always informed of his progress and how the school optimized his learning abilities each year. Should we have a concern, the school listened and actions were taken. We truly felt our son's best interest was being met while he attended Albrook.

Did you feel the knowledge your child had gained at Albrook prepared him for the next level of their educational journey academically, socially, and emotionally?
Lex went on to middle school at The Princeton Montessori School and it was a very easy transition because he was still immersed in the Montessori Method. In fact, we feel that many things that were taught to Lex in Upper Elementary with Ms. Vazaios were years ahead of what other students had learned. And we don't mean just math or reading. Things like how to give a proper presentation, how to do research, how to present oneself to an audience, leadership skills, mentoring skills, etc.; these all helped him not only in middle school but even through parts of high school. And then there is the ability to talk to anyone! Lex knew how to talk with an adult better than most children his age. The gift of interaction with a Montessori teacher helped him be able to express himself without fear of being ridiculed or corrected.

Are there any special memories of Albrook you would wish to share?
We both enjoyed working with Mrs. Lipman and Ms. Crawford on all the musical performances. Joe loved playing percussion and sharing his knowledge with the children. I loved being able to share my choreographer talents with the children and seeing them accomplish so much during our years there. Also, we both loved doing special things with the kids whether it was reading to them, doing a scientific presentation, or teaching them where pizza came from!

Do you keep in touch with any friends from Albrook?
We are very close with Victoria, Pete, and Peter Finn, and with Anirvan, Viji, and Sikata Sengupta. Peter, Sikata, and Lex graduated together in 2012. And we see many other Albrook families at Ridge HS, at LEARN associates, and around town. Once Lex went to Ridge HS, we were reacquainted with many of the pre-school families that we knew at Albrook. When you have spent some time at Albrook, whether it just be pre-school or lower elementary or the entire ten year experience, you come away with a sense of family with those that shared the same experience.

APA November News

By Mrs. Vineis

Book Fair

Thank you to everyone for an outstanding and successful Book Fair!

This year we were able to conveniently house the Book Fair in Albers Hall and allow parents and teachers to get some holiday shopping done while at the school for their children's teacher conferences. Students from the Upper Elementary set up a sale alongside the Book Fair, gaining valuable entrepreneurship and retail experience by selling handmade coasters and trivets to raise funds for their participation in Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) in the spring.

The Book Fair also featured a guest appearance from local illustrator Meg Walters. Walters' book Lucy Loves Sherman features many local spots from our surrounding towns. Walters signed copies of her book and will be running workshops with all students at Albrook in January. The book will be available for purchase again prior to the workshops.

For the actual books and commerce, we partnered with The Bookworm, a local book store in Bernardsville, to present an expertly curated selection of books for children (and adults too!). The students enjoyed "shopping" the day before at the Book Fair, and parents enjoyed knowing that their purchases would go toward funding our beloved school. To that end, the APA raised over $1,300 through book sales. Thank you all for shopping generously!

Upcoming events:

Jan 24
Meg Walters, Illustrator of Lucy Loves Sherman
March 9
SPRING EVENT, Bridgewater Manor
at 6:30pm (adults-only)
June 1
Teachers' Appreciation Luncheon

Albrook Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest

by Mrs. Majkowski & Mrs. DeBue (Fall Harvest Co-Chairs)

The Fall Harvest was held on Thursday, October 26, 2017. As usual, this annual community event at The Albrook School drew a sell-out crowd: 78 families (139 adults and 133 children). Again this year, the day before the Fall Harvest, Rachel Rosenthal went to Melick's Town Farm and loaded up two trucks with the pumpkins…. all 120 of them!!! When the pumpkins arrived back at school, the Upper Elementary students unloaded the pumpkins and lined them up in the hallway. As the families entered the building the night of the Fall Harvest, the children excitedly searched up and down the hall, inspecting each of the pumpkins to find the perfect one. Families joined together at the thirty tables that were set up with stencils and pumpkin carving tools to carve their pumpkins. While carving, everybody enjoyed some pizza and cookies.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Tomaru, the Upper Elementary students took the craft table tradition to a whole new level. In an effort to simultaneously build community and raise money for their Montessori Model UN (MMUN) trip to NY in March, our Upper Elementary friends took over the hallway next to Albers Hall and ran both crafts and games this year. They took shifts staffing the activities and they took their jobs very seriously. They were all great role models with an impressive work-ethic! The younger students truly enjoyed both the activities and the time they spent working with the older friends! This enjoyment was evident every moment by the smile on each face and by the busy hands at work throughout the night. This was all a perfect complement to the smiling faces in Albers Hall!!!

Toward the end of the evening, Ms. Marvi invited the students on stage to sing some all-time favorite fall songs. The energy in Albers Hall abounded as the room filled with the beautiful music of the children! After the children completed their musical performance, they returned to their families, the lights in the room were dimmed, and everybody lit the pumpkins with the tealights they received as they entered. It was the perfect ending to a fun-filled fall evening. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all who attended this great community event and to all the parents and staff who contributed to making it a truly memorable evening.

Halloween at Albrook

halloween photos

The Albrook Community Celebrates International Day of Peace

by Ms. MacNeill

International Day of Peace was established by the United Nation's resolution in 1981, which stated, "Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideas of Peace both within and among all nations and peoples."

Our School community gathered in Albers Hall to observe International Peace Day on the morning of September 22. The ceremony opened with a "Good Morning" song and then the book Who Ever You Are, written by Mem Fox, was read. This was the perfect story to share on our first community gathering of the school year and it also linked to our school goal of Empathy and Respect. This beautiful story spins in and out of different cultures celebrating the special bond that unites us all.

Our Community Peace Candle was lit and followed by a few moments of silence for peace. The students and staff continued singing songs which tied in beautifully with the peace theme. The hall was filled with sweet voices sharing songs like "Snowdrops and Daffodils," "This Little Light of Mine," and "Peace like a River."

It was both a privilege and a pleasure to observe our young students embrace this special event and it was an opportunity "to be in the moment," reminding us all of the importance of world peace. This event was indeed a proud moment for our school community!

Albrook Alumnus Chose Albrook for Eagle Scout Project

What a pleasure it is to have our alumni return to Albrook to donate their services with worthwhile projects! Conor Mahoney chose The Albrook School for his Eagle Scout project and we are very fortunate. The focus of Conor's Eagle Scout project was to help maintain our outdoor playgrounds so that all our students have a safe and secure outdoor play area.

Just before the start of school, Conor led a large team of workers who spread two full trucks of special playground mulch in all the playgrounds and the Gaga pit. Safety is a major goal for us at Albrook and this specialized mulch provides a soft, safe landing surface for the children.

Next, Conor led a group of workers to design and construct a shed on the elementary playground to store playground balls, Frisbees, etc. for use at recess. It is very solidly constructed with a roof to provide protection from the elements. Now, as the children line up to come in, they have a place to store their equipment that won't be affected by rain and snow.

Connor is currently a student at the Pingry School, where he is a National Merit Scholar as well as an Eagle Scout candidate. We thank him wholeheartedly for bringing his talent, time, and effort to make The Albrook School a better place.

Empathy and Respect in Stepping Stones

by Ms. McCusker

One may seriously ponder how such abstract ideas such as empathy and respect can be taught to children of such a young age! But when we examine the most basic meaning of empathy and respect, we realize that there are many ways to introduce and practice these concepts on a daily basis.

At its most basic level, empathy is being able to understand how another person feels. In Stepping Stones, we realize that our younger students need to recognize and understand their own feelings before they can understand the feelings of others. We help each child with this task by first acknowledging his feelings when he is happy, sad, tired, angry, sleepy, and frustrated. We also have an activity with emotion cards and a mirror where the children can act out these emotions. In addition, we sing songs such as "If you're happy and you know it make a happy face," to further draw awareness to what emotions look and feel like. These types of activities lead us to help the child to be aware of her peers' feelings as we frequently draw attention to how other children in the class are feeling.

Respect is practiced in Stepping Stones by having the teacher model respect for both the environment and each member of the class, students and teachers alike. On a continuous basis, we give the children the language to treat each other respectfully by using kind words and giving them guidance on not touching or taking another child's work.

Maria Montessori described the mind of a child between the ages of 0 and 3 years as "an absorbent mind." The child does not filter out information but takes it all in. Therefore, there is no better time to instill the values of empathy and respect that will truly help in all aspects of their lives.

Team Albrook Makes Strides Against Breast Cancer

by Ms. McCusker

Did you notice one Thursday morning a few weeks ago that many of the Albrook teachers and office staff were wearing blue jeans and pink tops? This was in support of a worthy cause as the Albrook staff pulled forces to collect funds to fight against breast cancer. By making a $5.00 donation, staff could dress in jeans and pink or white tops that day.

Then on Sunday, October 12th, a group of Albrook staff set out on a 5K trot around the beautiful ground of Mack-Cali Business Campus in Parsippany to raise funds for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. This was an event that benefited all. Team Albrook received some needed exercise and caught up with each other socially.

Between these two fun events, Team Albrook raised nearly $600 for a great cause. Considering our focus this year at Albrook is empathy, we are proud that we have raised enough funds to receive a plaque from The American Cancer Society recognizing our achievements. This is Team Albrook's 22nd year participating in this worthy event.

New Bike Rack at Albrook

Albrook is excited to announce that we now have a bike rack! Due to the generosity of the Falquier family and through coordination with the APA, the Albrook community can now welcome bike commuters with a safe place to lock up during the day.

Mrs. Falquier added that "the first day we rode our bikes to Albrook last fall, we asked where to park and were met with the response that no one had ever asked that question. Fast forward a year and we now have a bike rack for four bicycles just inside the front gate. Thank you to Albrook and the APA for helping us coordinate the installation!"

Come check out the new rack just inside the front gate and join us in promoting healthy lifestyles and enjoyment of the outdoors.

Kids Praised for Being Smart are More Likely to Cheat

by Inga Kiderra

An international team of researchers reports that when children are praised for being smart not only are they quicker to give up in the face of obstacles they are also more likely to be dishonest and cheat. Kids as young as age 3 appear to behave differently when told "You are so smart" vs "You did very well this time."

The study, published in Psychological Science, is co-authored by Gail Heyman of the University of California San Diego, Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, and Lulu Chen and Li Zhao of Hangzhou Normal University in China. The research builds on well-known work by Stanford's Carol Dweck, author of "Mindset," who has shown that praising a child's innate ability instead of the child's effort or a specific behavior has the unintended consequence of reducing their motivation to learn and their ability to deal with setbacks.

"It's common and natural to tell children how smart they are," said co-author Gail Heyman, a development psychologist at UC San Diego. "Even when parents and educators know that it harms kids' achievement motivation, it's still easy to do. What our study shows is that the harm can go beyond motivation and extend to the moral domain. It makes a child more willing to cheat in order to do well."

For their study the researchers asked 300 children in Eastern China to play a guessing game using number cards. In total, there were 150 3-year-olds and 150 5-year-olds. The children were either praised for being smart or for their performance. A control group got no praise at all. After praising the children and getting them to promise not to cheat, the researcher left the room for a minute in the middle of the game.

Results suggest that both the 3- and 5-year-olds who'd been praised for being smart were more likely to act dishonestly than the ones praised for how well they did or those who got no praise at all. The results were the same for boys and girls.

Why? The researchers believe that praising ability is tied to performance pressure in a way that praising behavior isn't. When children are praised for being smart or are told that they have reputation for it, said co-author Li Zhao of Hangzhou Normal University, "they feel pressure to perform well in order to live up to others' expectations, even if they need to cheat to do so."

Co-author Kang Lee, of the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, emphasized the take-away for the adults in kids' lives: "We want to encourage children. We want them to feel good about themselves. But these studies show we must learn to give children the right kinds of praise, such as praising specific behavior. Only in this way will praise have the intended positive outcomes."

Author contact: Inga Kiderra

Parents Day 2017 at Albrook

Parent Day Pictures

Montessori In The News

The Parent Perspective about Montessori, Introduction to Montessori Method

The Montessori Method is designed to educate the whole child, socially, emotionally, academically and physically. This style of learning creates innovative, creative thinkers from young children to adults.  It's an educational approach that is appreciated by those who have been fortunate enough to receive a Montessori education or who had parents who knew the true benefits and value of a Montessori education.

The Prince of England has parents who know what is best for him.  Prince George is of age for his first day of preschool and his parents have chosen the Westacre Montessori School in Norfolk, England.

Raising a Future King the Montessori Way
Montessori schools give Prince George free reign

Forbes, a well known magazine, has an informative article regarding Montessori written by Justin Wasserman who is the Managing Director at Kotter International. Justin Wasserman helps leaders accelerate strategy implementation in their organizations.
Corporate Kindergarten

Montessori Madness
A video, by Trevor Eissler, informs us about why children enjoy a Montessori education. It is called "Take Five Minutes To Watch This Video," and we hope you will find it interesting.

The Montessori Mafia
By Peter Simms, reprinted from The Wall Street Journal

Google Founders Talk About Montessori

All I got out of Montessori..