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

Upcoming Events

Friday, March 9
APA Spring Event
Wednesday, March 14th thur 17th
MMUN - Upper Elemantary
Friday March 30
School Closed - Good Friday
Sunday, April 8
Open House 1:00-3:00pm
Summer Camp
Friday, April 13
Elementary Play 7:00pm
April 16th thru 20th
School Closed
Spring Recess
Wednesday, April 25
Family Math Night 5-7pm

Albrook News

Pre-K2 Art Night

by Elaine Dignam

Art Night

Pre-K2 Art Night began in school when our Art and Spanish teacher, Senora Zarate, gave all of the Pre-K2 students a lesson on the artist Kandinsky, who was the first abstract artist in the history of art. The children learned where Kandinsky was born and how he loved to use bold colors. This prepared them for their art project on Pre-K2 Night; they created an elephant with colorful Kandinsky inspired squares and circles.

PreK Art Night

Prior to the art session, the parents and children gathered and dined in Albers Hall with fellow classmates. It was a great occasion to relax and socialize. After the children finished eating (and drinking the very popular hot chocolate), they were excused to work on their art project while the parents visited an "Introduction to Kindergarten" presentation given by Mrs. Delia and Mrs. Fritsch.

Parents were introduced to various aspects of Albrook's Kindergarten curriculum. This included the units of study, the specials, the Montessori materials and the intangible advantages to completing the final year of the three-year cycle. Following the presentation, parents had the opportunity to speak with the teachers and ask questions. At the end of the evening, Mrs. Marvi led the children in song and dance.

APA Update: Spring Event

Each year, the Albrook Spring Event is a wonderful opportunity for parents, teachers, and their families and friends to eat, drink, mingle, and even bring home some fabulous prizes for our children and ourselves. Following Albrook's Empathy and Respect theme, this year's Spring Event theme is "Heart and Sole," practicing empathy by stepping into the shoes of others (dance shoes, that is) as we celebrate the school's 30th year in its location (wow!).

If you are new to Albrook, we think you will love getting the chance to mingle with teachers, enjoy some live music, and make some new friends! The Albrook community is like no other, and we love welcoming all the new families. Hopefully by now you have seen the unbelievable art projects each class completed under the creative direction of Upper Elementary mom Rachel Rosenthal. Inspired by the books they read, each class read a book within the Empathy and Respect theme and created a unique work of art together. In addition to these amazing works of art, there is a fabulous collection of other prizes available for auction and purchase at a wide variety of price points. Donated items range from restaurant gift cards, fitness studio and salon vouchers, to camps, children's activities, event tickets, toys, and even custom clothing. There are too many to name, and they are still coming in. Many Albrook teachers so generously donate their time and talents as well to offer priceless opportunities for our students. In the past, these "priceless gifts" have included Herb Gardening and Tasting with Ms. MacNeill and Mrs. Ferguson, Popcorn the Snake and Jackie the Lizard time with Mrs. Comperiati and Mrs. Laidlaw, and "Make and Take" dinner preparation with Mrs. Tarangul and Mrs. Delia.

If you are a veteran Albrook family, there are a few new additions to this year's Spring Event we really think you'll enjoy! As we celebrate the 30th year anniversary of this location, we will "Walk down Memory Lane," paying a special tribute to faculty and student alumni who've left footprints on our hearts. We will re-connect with alumni families who are joining us at the event this year. There will also be a Wine Wall, offering the chance to take home a mystery bottle of wine valued up to $100! Last but certainly not least, we'll be treated to a special, intimate performance by Broadway stars (and Albrook parents) Ron Sharpe and Barbra Russell. We are so lucky!

Above all else, Spring Event is a wonderful time for parents and teachers alike to connect with each other and enjoy ourselves on a night out as adults. We truly hope to see each and every parent and teacher there. If you haven't already, be sure to mark your calendar, book your babysitters, and get excited for the Spring Event at 7 PM on March 9th at the Bridgewater Manor. Invitations went home in students' backpacks, and you may RSVP via phone, email, or the card enclosed in your invitation. Family and friends are more than welcome as well. Please don't hesitate to contact the APA or the school with any questions at all.

Illustrator Visit

by Alina Vineis

Illustrator visit

On January 24th, Meg Walters, the illustrator of the book LUCY LOVES SHERMAN, visited The Albrook School to share with us how she became an illustrator. As a young girl Ms. Walters loved to draw. She grew up in upstate New York and went to college to become an illustrator. She now lives in Gladstone and still loves to draw!

Illustrator visit

Ms. Walters read the book to the preschoolers and they made lobster headbands representing Sherman. She then gave a presentation to Lower and Upper Elementary on how to draw the characters. The students each drew their own versions of Lucy and Sherman.

I found the presentation very informative and interesting. We learned the process of making a children's book and all the different steps involved. One of the most interesting facts I learned was there are 32 pages to every children's book. Also, if you look closely you will see a few of my favorite stores in the book like The Bookworm and Cocolux! Keep an eye out for the sequel to Lucy Loves Sherman; due out next year!

Meditation at Albrook

by Elaine Dignam

Each month the Albrook teachers gather for a group meeting. December is a busy month so we thought that we would shift gears and participate in a group meditation session. We asked Mrs. Idnani, a former Albrook parent, Reiki Master and meditation coach, and she graciously accepted.

Personally, I was very much looking forward to the session. However, even though I have taken numerous meditation classes with Mrs. Idnani, I felt skeptical about my own ability to sit still during the holiday season. There was so much to do.

Fortunately, Mrs. Idnani arrived cloaked in calmness and I felt myself take a deep breath. She began with a mindful meditation and then she led us in a longer guided meditation. After the conclusion of the meditation practice, I felt that the energy in the room had shifted. The atmosphere felt grounded. This feeling had a positive impact on my day and my week. Other teachers also noted that they felt the benefits. Our session was a great example and reminder that slowing down during hectic times reaps large dividends. Thank you to Mrs. Idnani for her generosity of time and spirit.

Mrs. Nidhi Idnani is the proprietor of iReikiNow in Basking Ridge.

Empathy and Respect - Precious Moments

by Ms. Behar

Albrook parents have been receiving beautiful pictures of their children working called 'Precious Moments'. This year the teachers have been behind the lens capturing these precious moments. As teachers, we have the privilege of seeing many precious moments each day. I thought I would share two with you that relate to our school goals this year. These are moments that a picture could not ever capture.

One fall day I was out on the Building B playground with some preschool children while they were waiting for their club to start. I saw a precious moment unfolding, it was one of those moments that I wanted to run and grab my phone to record it but I did not want recording the moment to change anything about it so I did not. A group of four children had each taken two woodchips and brought them to the wooden stair climbing frame. They turned the top of the frame into a table and sat on the step just below the top all facing each other. They were silent and all pretended to make their woodchips into a match and candle and each child carefully lit his candle. One child started and the others followed in reciting the peace poem together. One boy said, "What song should we sing now?" Someone suggested "Peace Like a River". Everyone agreed and they sang that beautiful song together. The children paused for a moment in silence, they said, "Namaste" and then pretended to extinguish their candles. A moment later they all ran off to return their woodchips to the playground equipment.

Children learn what they live. These young children had truly internalized what it means to be peaceful from these daily rituals at circle time. In being peaceful, we respect those around us. I told Ms. Albers this story and she had tears in her eyes as peace is very important to her after living through the atrocities of World War II in Germany. The Albrook staff recently had a peace workshop with Sonnie McFarland, a dear friend of Ms. Albers. It is always good to have a "refresher" course for teachers on being peaceful in our own minds and bodies and to be present in the moment. Sonnie also presented more ideas to teach children about peace and respect for others including a dance and song.

Another precious moment occurred on the Stepping Stones playground during recess after lunch. One child was frustrated and upset about something and had been crying. A two year old friend approached her, gave her a hug and said, "It's okay. You just need to take a deep breath. Then you'll feel better." What an incredible moment of empathy. I helped the upset child to understand what that meant. I told the child to pretend she was smelling a beautiful flower and then blow her air out by pretending to blow out a candle (a technique I learned from Mrs. DeBue after she attended an AMS conference workshop). One minute later the upset child was running around and laughing. That is simple but important advice-just to take a deep breath! Namaste.

Sonnie McFarland's Day at Albrook

by Ms. Hicks

Sonnie McFarland

The Albrook School was honored to have Sonnie McFarland come to Albrook and give presentations to the Albrook community. Sonnie is recognized around the globe as a visionary and pioneer in the field of education for peace and consults nationally and internationally on community building, effective parenting, adult centering techniques and peaceful living skills for children and adults. She has worked in education for more than 40 years as a Montessori classroom teacher, head of School and consultant. In March of 20111, Sonnie was honored by the American Montessori Society as the 2011 Living legacy for her esteemed work in the field of peace education, community building and classroom management.

Parents really benefited from Sonnie McFarland's parent presentation

After Sonnie's workshop, Mrs. Vineis said, "I've seen many examples of a lesson to a child and Sonnie's was the BEST! She has a gift, I'm so thankful she's teaching and writing books to keep the beautiful work of Dr. Montessori alive. Sonnie's lecture was both inspiring and grounding. I look forward to reading her book. May everyone find the Light of Love!"

Ms. Krishna sent some pictures and related the following: "I really enjoyed Sonnie McFarland's insights on peaceful parenting, which she shared with empathy and humor. Sometimes, we forget that a child's life has its share of fear and confusing moments, and this can really help them find the calm. And we aren't just setting the example, we need to be one ourselves!"

"It was very inspiring to attend the workshop," added Mrs. Garcia. "The true testament to its viability was the fact that my son (4 years old) kept humming the songs long after all the adults had completed the singing. Something had resonated with him ~ that "something" being the "light" present in all of us that "never stops shining" but at times becoming dimmer due to emotional states or circumstances beyond our control. I am looking forward to receiving the copy of the book and sharing it with people I love. "

"Raising my children to be happy and loving is my ultimate goal. Mrs. Sonnie McFarland's workshop was titled as "Raising Loving Children" which attracted me to the workshop. I went to the workshop with a pre-conceived notion, that I will be given some points or a timetable to make my child happy, which was not the case. In the workshop, Mrs. McFarland makes you realize the need to put yourself in your kid's shoes to understand them better. Also, she makes you realize, we as adults have forgotten about our childhood. How happy we were as children! She demonstrated how to nurture peaceful living skills in your kids. This to me was the most important take home message. It was not just a lecture, it was a workshop! A workshop to understand, reflect and nurture these already beautiful souls called Children. In all this, I am learning to raise myself to raise happy and loving children."

It was wonderful to see so many parents stay on after the parent workshop to observe the students each bring their food package to the center of Albers Hall and realize what a difference each one of us can make in the lives of a needy child. Then we all enjoyed the peace songs led by Mrs. Marvi that were accompanied by Mr. Kane.

Sonnie McFarland's teacher presentation

After the students were dismissed, the teachers were treated to an inspiring afternoon with Sonnie. Our yearly goal of Empathy and Respect was taught under the overriding umbrella of LOVE. Since each teacher shows so much love for each of the students at Albrook, this was a topic that reached everyone.

We would all like to express our appreciation to Ms. Albers who first met Sonnie. In fact, Albrook is the special community that it is in part because of Sonnie's influence and her teaching through the years. Thank you to Ms. Albers for contributing half of the workshop fees, Sonnie's transportation from Denver, and hosting her for the weekend. How delightful to have Love be the shining light at Albrook!

Sonnie McFarland's parent presentation led to future Book Club

Before Sonnie began her presentation to the parents on Martin Luther King Day, Mrs. Tomaru related her experience some years ago when she had participated in an Albrook Book Club based on Sonnie's book, Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self. Mrs. Tomaru stated, "Sonnie's book gave me a new perspective on how I want to raise my kids. The traditional view of the child as an empty vase was the way I was brought up, but I realized from the Book Club that we have to provide a safe environment to allow the child to grow from within. That changed the entire way I have brought up my family." I must admit that we all listened with a very open ear after hearing that this wonderful family had benefited from reading and discussing Sonnie McFarland's book.

We spoke to Ms. Francese who led that Book Club, and she has agreed to lead another group next winter one afternoon a week. Everyone can look forward to discussing the many elements found in Sonnie McFarland's parenting book. If anyone is interesting in purchasing this book through school, please give your name to the office and we will do a bulk order. The books that were brought to the workshop sold out too quickly.

I saw this review on Amazon concerning the book written by both Dr. Jim McFarland and Sonnie McFarland:
I highly recommend this book "Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self." As a former Montessori school director myself, I heard so often from teachers that they wished there was time to really orient parents to the perspectives and practices of Montessori as it would make such a difference for their relationship with their child and for their child's development. This book provides great insights and practical suggestions for parents to do just that. Every parent I know loves their children profoundly. But understanding HOW children develop is sorely lacking. We are all shaped by our experiences and tend to fail to recognize the brilliance of young children. I love the emphasis on authenticity in this book. If you're a parent who appreciates Montessori education and wants to learn how to implement the magic in your own home, get this inspiring book.

Alumni Focus: The Draper Family

by Ms. Fitton

When we began to think about preschool, we read up on a number of approaches. Our research led us to the Montessori method and we thought it made sense for James. We liked the fact that it was child centered, had been developed by observing children, and that it emphasized collaboration.

James' Dad had the opportunity to tour The Albrook School before the rest of us. The tour was led by Miss Albers. I was eagerly awaiting his call because I was curious to hear his impression. After two hours, I had not heard from him. After two and a half hours, I called him to discover that he was just leaving the school. Although the tour was only scheduled to last an hour, Miss Albers had generously given him an extra 90 minutes of her time to answer questions. He was smitten by Albrook and he could not imagine a better place for James. When I went with James for his evaluation, I concurred. We were thrilled to get our letter accepting James as a first year friend.

James spent three years at Albrook in Mrs. Marvi's classroom; he attended two years of preschool and completed kindergarten before leaving to continue his education at the Pingry School. His transition to Pingry was seamless. In every respect, he was prepared for a new school, entering Pingry with a great foundation on which to build. I especially value the contribution that the peace curriculum made in his life, as I think it gives children a framework to resolve conflict and express their feelings in an age appropriate, effective way.

James remembers walking around the horse paddock with his class and of course, the hours of fun on the playground. He is still interested in space. His planet project hangs framed in his room and he still loves a visit to the planetarium.

We are still in touch with many of our friends from the Albrook School: the Palmers (Willow), the Gandhis (Nina, Arjun, and Akash), the Rollis, the Wittes, and the Milleas.

An Amazing After School Club

by Ms. MacNeill

The Upper Elementary students will be attending the annual Model Montessori UN conference in New York City in March 2018. The students have been preparing for this opportunity from the beginning of September. Through participation in this process, the students have learned about four countries: Australia, Fiji, Uzbekistan, India and some of the global issues affecting them. They have spent time researching and writing position papers in an effort to propose solutions to problems such as climate change, poverty, education and the reduction of military budgets in the above-mentioned countries.

In addition to this work, the students have enrolled in a few fundraisers to help set off the expenses such as transportation and food for this endeavor.

In the fall, the students decorated coasters and trivets in time to sell for the holidays. They devised a marketing strategy and sold their products at the school's annual Book Fair. In addition, some were open to doing some gardening with Ms. Albers for a cash donation.

December rolled in and the students, with the help of some preschool staff, hosted a Movie & Dinner evening for preschool and elementary students. This was a perfect opportunity for parents to catch up with last minute shopping or have a date night.

The Upper Elementary students conscientiously and empathically ensured all the younger friends were comfortable in front of the big screen to view the movie. In addition, they served pizza, fruit, hot chocolate, and cookies mindful of the assistance that these young friends might need. It was indeed a proud moment for all of the staff who took part in the evening to observe.

The Albrook School Spirit Day

by Ms. MacNeill

Central to Montessori philosophy is the development of empathy. On a daily basis, our children learn to balance their own needs against the needs of others. They learn to recognize that they have rights and responsibilities as they take ownership of their classroom environment. In essence, they learn to walk in the shoes of another. Spirit Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on this.

We prepare for Spirit Day by acknowledging friends in our community who have demonstrated a kind act. Every child was invited to write an act of kindness that they experienced on a paper dove. This way, they all have an opportunity to examine what it means to help or comfort and be comforted.

January's Spirit Day's theme was "Spread a Little Kindness". The goal: To see the difference one person can make! The school project: Assist the Somerset Foodbank with their Backpack Lunch Kit Program.

Our Spirit Day happened to fall on a very special day, Dr. Martin Luther King Day. This was a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and reflect on the difference one person can make in the life of another. During the ceremony, each classroom presented a variety of non-perishable food items that would go into the individual food bags. After all the food items were collected, Matthew, one of our elementary students, shared information regarding poverty in the world and went on to share about the number of families who are on the poverty line in this country. The Upper Elementary children demonstrated that one in five children in our country would not be getting lunch or dinner that day. Students were then asked to be proud of how through their efforts, that number would be lessened.

Some of the elementary students filled a few meal bags to show our young friends what a weekend of food looked like for some children in need. They learned that through $3.00 worth of food, a young girl or boy would be able to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner all through the weekend.

The celebration closed with the community singing songs guided by Mrs. Marvi and accompanied by a renowned drummer, Jimmi Kane.

food bank

A few days later, elementary students took this project one step further and assisted the Somerset Foodbank under the guidance of Jackie Taylor, Coordinator of the Backpack Lunch Program. We are appreciative of all the efforts that Mrs. Tomaru extended in coordinating the assembly of bags. We are also grateful for the donation of Girl Scout monies offered by Ellie Tomaru and Lauren Yeager, former Albrook alumni. With this money, Mrs. Tomaru was able to purchase additional items to create more bags for needy children. In the end, the students were proud to have filled five hundred food bags out of seven hundred food bags that were needed for that weekend's distribution. Many other parents also helped and contributed. We would like to also express our gratitude for the helpful efforts of Mrs. Rosenthal and Mrs. Gryzb with assembling bags with the children. A special acknowledgment also is extended to the parents who helped to prepare the assembly stations, including Mrs. Tomaru, Mrs. Marshall, and Ms. Koster.

This endeavor really brought home how close to us this need for food is. The students learned that 700 food kits are distributed by the Foodbank every weekend. Jackie Taylor encouraged us to keep the Backpack Program in mind throughout the year. Parents who wish to donate at other times are welcome to drop off needed items at the Somerset Food Bank.

A powerful message was shared and indeed demonstrated that I can make a difference in helping to make the world a better place for another!

Mentally Strong Kids Have Parents Who Refuse to Do These 13 Things

By Amy Morin

Raising a mentally strong kid doesn't mean he won't cry when he's sad or that he won't fail sometimes. Mental strength doesn't make you immune to hardship and it's not about suppressing your emotions.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks and it gives them the strength to keep going, even when they're plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.

  1. Condoning a Victim Mentality Striking out at the baseball game or failing a science test doesn't make a child a victim. Rejection, failure, and unfairness are a part of life. Refuse to attend your kids' pity parties. Teach them that no matter how tough or unjust their circumstances, they can always take positive action.
  2. Making Their Kids the Center of the Universe If you make your entire life revolve around your kids, they'll grow up thinking everyone should cater to them. And self-absorbed, entitled adults aren't likely to get very far in life. Teach your kids to focus on what they have to offer the world, rather than what they can gain from it.
  3. Allowing Fear to Dictate Their Choices Although keeping your kids inside a protective bubble will spare you a lot of anxiety--playing it too safe teaches your child that fear must be avoided at all times. Show your kids that the best way to conquer fear is to face those fears head-on and you'll raise courageous kids who are willing to step outside their comfort zones.
  4. Giving Their Kids Power Over Them Letting kids dictate what the family is going to eat for dinner or where the family is going on vacation gives kids more power than they are developmentally ready to handle. Treating kids like an equal--or the boss--actually robs them of mental strength. Give your kids an opportunity to practice taking orders, listening to things they don't want to hear, and doing things they don't want to do. Let your kids make simple choices while maintaining a clear family hierarchy.
  5. Expecting Perfection Expecting your kids to perform well is healthy. But expecting them to be perfect will backfire. Teach your kids that it's OK to fail and it's OK not to be great at everything they do. Kids who strive to become the best version of themselves, rather than the best at everything they do, won't make their self-worth dependent upon how they measure up to others.
  6. . Letting Their Kids Avoid Responsibility Letting kids skip out on chores or avoid getting an after-school job can be tempting. Afer all, you likely want your kids to have a carefree childhood. But, kids who perform age-appropriate duties aren't overburdened. Instead, they're gaining the mental strength they need to become responsible citizens.
  7. Shielding Their Kids From Pain Hurt feelings, sadness, and anxiety are part of life. And letting kids experience those painful feelings gives them opportunities to practice tolerating discomfort. Provide your kids with the guidance and support they need to deal with pain so they can gain confidence in their ability to handle life's inevitable hardships.
  8. Preventing Their Kids From Making Mistakes Correcting your kids' math homework, double checking to make sure they've packed their lunch, and constantly reminding them to do their chores won't do them any favors. Natural consequences can be some of life's greatest teachers. Let your kids mess up sometimes and show them how to learn from their mistakes so they can grow wiser and become stronger.
  9. Confusing Discipline With Punishment Punishment involves making kids suffer for their wrongdoing. Discipline, however, is about teaching them how to do better in the future. Raising a child who fears "getting in trouble" isn't the same as raising a child who wants to make good choices. Use consequences that help your kids develop the self-discipline they need to make better choices.
  10. Taking Shortcuts to Avoid Discomfort Although giving in to a whining child or doing your kids' chores for them will make your life a little easier right now, those shortcuts instill unhealthy habits in your kids. Role model delayed gratification and show your kids that you can resist tempting shortcuts. You'll teach them that they're strong.

The Albrook School Acknowledges Years of Service

By Ms. Hicks

The Albrook School has a strength that is not often seen in schools, especially one with a large preschool. Length of service at Albrook is often talked about more in decades rather than just years. I am proud and thrilled to share the recognition that was given during this year's staff holiday party.

Ms. Francese and Ms. McCusker were acknowledged for their twenty-five years of service to Albrook and now join their colleagues of Ms. MacNeill, Ms. Zeitlin, Mrs. Marvi, Mrs. Tarangul and Ms. Hicks.

We are also delighted to inform you that Mrs. Comperiati, Mrs, Delia and Mrs. Flaherty received recognition for completing twenty years at Albrook and Mrs. DeBue was recognized for ten years.

What is it that keeps teachers working for decades at the Albrook School? Is it because they like to work with teachers who give their all to every child regardless of time or need? Is it because they are proud to be in a school that truly lives the Montessori philosophy? Is it because they like to keep learning and Albrook has the growth of the staff in their mission statement. Whatever the reason, it is wonderful to have a staff who wants to keep learning and working together to guide our children to make the most progress and move toward their potential socially, emotionally and academically.

This was a special year indeed acknowledging all these teachers for their love and loyalty to our school. How fortunate we are to have such low teacher turnover and we are proud to celebrate it.

"Have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit."

John Steinbeck

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.

Discipline Tool Kit

Prepare the environment:

  • Simplify – Limit the number of toys and rotate them
  • Provide activities – Provide interesting, challenging activities, prevent boredom.
  • Environmental Limits – Use tools with an adult. Use clay in the kitchen. Remove items not used properly. Keep permanent markers out of reach!
  • Allow independence – Provide challenge. Provide a stepstool; store belongings within reach.

Judge the behavior, not the person:

  • Instead of, "You are so mean!" say "Hitting hurts."
  • Instead of "Bad boy." say, "That was a mistake."

Discipline is teaching. Assume the child didn't know and provide the needed information:

  • "Chairs are for sitting."
  • "We write on paper."

Asian Theatrical Traditions in Elementary

by Mrs. Lipman

As part of their study of Asia this year, both lower and upper elementary explored different theatrical forms native to this continent. The lower elementary students focused on a unit of study that culminated in a shadow puppet performance. Upper elementary students studied the Japanese Kabuki theater and created original pieces in this style.

In order to create their shadow puppet performance, lower elementary children learned about different types of puppets, particularly those that come from Asia. They then read folktales from three different Asian countries (Indonesia, India, and China) and used these to create scripts. Once the scripts were completed, the students made audio recordings of the lines of their plays in order to focus on the physical maneuvering of the puppets during the performance itself. Each child then made his or her own shadow puppet for use in the presentation. After a rehearsal process, the children performed their puppet plays for parents and friends.

The upper elementary students began their unit of study by learning about key elements of Japanese Kabuki theater and its presentational style. The students then collaboratively wrote original scripts that incorporated these elements. Focus was placed on stock characters, acting with great physicality and grand gestures, musical accompaniment, frozen poses, entrance of characters along the "hanamichi" or runway through the audience, and speaking directly to the audience. The students also studied the makeup traditionally worn in Kabuki theater and made their own masks to represent this makeup. The final performances were very enjoyable and showed the children's creativity and sense of humor.

Mrs. Janani presents "Developing a Growth Mindset"

by Mrs. Dignam

Each month the preschool teachers attend a group meeting intended to inform or enrich. In November, we were fortunate to have Mrs. Janani (Sattva's mom) present "Developing a Growth Mindset" to the preschool team.

Mrs. Janani's presentation is based on the book, "Mindset, The New Psychology of Success" by Carol Dweck. Mrs. Janani has given this presentation multiple times, most recently at the Bernardsville Public Library. Children and adults can have either a fixed or growth mindset that impacts their performance and motivation.

Mrs. Janani stated, "When we believe that success is based on innate ability, we are said to have a fixed theory of intelligence, otherwise known as a fixed mindset. When we believe that success is based on hard work, learning and perseverance, we are said to have a growth theory of intelligence, also called growth mindset."

As Montessori teachers, we are taught not to stifle creativity, excitement and wonder. We are careful with how we speak to the children. Mrs. Janani reminded us to praise the effort given by the child as they learn.

Mrs. Janani is the owner and teacher at Kumon in Bernardsville, NJ

Parent Toddler Class

By Ms. McCusker

Hurray! Albrook's first Parent and Toddler class was off to a flying start at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, January 9. After a little hesitation and assurance that moms were not going to leave, ten little crawlers, wobblers and walkers settled down to the business of work.

It was amazing to observe children ranging from as young as 12 months to 24 months eagerly exploring the specially prepared activities with guidance from the ac accompanying parent. After working for a half hour, much to everyone's delight and surprise, everyone quietly satin a circle while Mrs. Marvi introduced the guitar and some songs. The session was then completed by the children sitting and having a healthy snack.

One of the wonderful aspects of this 8 week session class is that we all get to learn together, children, parents and teachers. Each week we will take one Montessori concept that we practice throughout our school and parents can reinforce it at home with children of all ages.

In our first session, we focused on 'The Work cycle'. For this concept, one activity is taken out, worked on, and replaced on the shelf before another activity is taken out.

We eagerly await next week's session to see what our youngest students can teach us.

Empathy and Respect Within the Upper
Elementary Classroom- Reflection on
Martin Luther King Day and Peace Lessons

by Ms. Vazaios and Mrs. Lipman

We were excited to learn that this year's goal would center around Empathy and Respect this year. These themes resonate deeply within the core of our Montessori philosophy where we place equal value on the emotional, academic and social needs of the child. Throughout the year, we have had an opportunity to explore the themes of respect and empathy during peace and literature lessons, impromptu teachable moments that arise from daily experiences, and a workshop on Martin Luther King Day.

Through grand conversations, dramatic roleplay and literature analysis, the children have explored numerous topics, including: regret/empathy, respectful listening, rumors/gossip and misunderstandings, perceptions influenced by facts versus emotions, and bias/prejudice/stereotypes and racism. Some great new books that we have discovered include: Each Kindness, My Mouth is a Volcano, Mr. Peabody's Apples, and The Skin I'm In. These pieces of literature have served as good catalysts for meaningful discussions and follow-up activities.

In the spirit of empathy and respect, we decided to use our class time on Martin Luther King Day this year to begin a unit of study on prejudice and racism that will continue in the weeks to come. After a historical review of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, we began the morning workshop with writing prompts asking students to define the word "racism" and to reflect on any instances they have observed or experienced related to this. We went on to ask the students to consider various statements and scenarios to determine their opinions and points of view. For example, students reflected on whether they strongly, moderately, or minimally agreed or disagreed with statements such as "I think about my race or ethnicity often." or "Racism was a problem in the past that no longer exists." It was great to raise questions for children to self-assess as well as dismantle common myths or misperceptions. We ended the morning with an integrated vocabulary/technology lesson that explored key vocabulary terms related to racism via Quizlet. We are excited for future lessons that will address how to find your voice when you observe racism and how to become a bystander with regard to racism.

Overall, we were deeply touched by the enthusiasm and strong desire of our students to share their personal feelings, experiences and wishes for the future. As educators, we feel privileged to guide our students to handle complex issues in modern times. We have faith in Dr. Montessori's cherished belief in the power of the child. We are hopeful that these educational experiences will pave the way for Dr. Montessori's vision of the child being "both a hope and promise for mankind" to become a reality.

Reflecting on the Albrook Experience: The Jarbath Family

What inspired you to choose the Montessori Method?

We wanted to provide our daughters with an early education experience that would instill a love of learning, inspire the imagination, and inculcate a spirited independence. We believed that these foundational attributes would serve our daughters well as they progressed through their academic life and, indeed, life in general.

Why did you specifically select Albrook School?

Albrook is a very special place for us. We researched several alternative Montessori schools in the region but selected Albrook for several reasons. Firstly, Albrook has very talented and committed teachers – they embody the balance between pedagogical science and art – two dimensions of great importance in effective teaching, especially with young learners. Albrook also possesses a warm and inviting physical environment that esthetically and functionally blends in with its natural surroundings. The Albrook School facility and grounds are particularly conducive to exploring and learning; it is a wonderful place for early education.

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

Albrook effectively partnered with us in directing our daughters' early education. The constant feedback, invitations to classroom activities and newsletters fostered a constant connectivity between the school and, very importantly, the home learning environment and activities. We were able to very often complement and reinforce what our daughters were being exposed to in the classroom or in frequent nature treks (the outdoors classroom).

What grade did your child complete prior to leaving Albrook?

One of our daughters completed kindergarten and our younger daughter completed three years of preschool at Albrook.

Did you feel the knowledge your child had gained at Albrook prepared him/her for the next level of their educational journey academically, socially, emotionally?

The knowledge and experience that our daughters gained at Albrook during their early formative years has served them well. They are both thriving academically, socially and emotionally at their current school. Indeed, our eldest daughter had one of the best PARCC test results in the entire state of New Jersey for a third grader; she and her younger sister are regularly recognized for academic excellence at their current school. They are socially very integrated into the fabric of their school and emotionally well-grounded too.

Are there any special memories of Albrook you would wish to share?

I was particularly fond of the opportunities to visit my daughters' classrooms and participate as a guest in the teaching and learning environment. Those are truly memorable experience that both my daughters and I cherish very much.

Do you keep in touch with any friends from Albrook?

Yes, we maintain contact with several friends from Albrook. Albrook is a great place for social interaction for both students and parents alike.

Winter Hikes with Kids

by Mrs. Leslie Edwards

It is that time of the year! With the excitement of the holidays behind us, everyone is suffering from some cabin fever. Rather than heading to the mall, bundle up, get outdoors, and try a winter hike at one of these great locations:

Duke Farms – Hillsborough

This outdoor wonderland features 18 miles of picturesque trails, some paved and some gravel, leading through woodlands and gardens, around lakes and lagoons, and alongside fountains, sculptures, and a waterfall. The property, formerly owned by heiress Doris Duke, features family scavenger hunts, a tram ride, an orchid greenhouse, and an organic cafe.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge – Harding

The Wildlife Observation Center off of Long Hill Road in Harding offers an easy loop that runs about a mile through the woods and includes some bridges, marshy sections, and water. There are a few benches along the way, too, and wildlife to spot. The refuge even offers multiple entry points and paths.

Jockey Hollow – Morristown

Known for its Revolutionary War reenactments, Jockey Hollow is also home to meandering, wooded hiking trails along babbling brooks and rolling hills. The main trail is a loop that runs more than five miles, but when your little troops are tired out, you can turn around and head back. Older children will love that the houses on the property are relics of another era.

Columbia Trail—High Bridge to Washington

The Columbia Trail strings together forests, farms and parklands as it stretches 15 miles among the small towns of High Bridge, Califon, Long Valley and Washington. Most of the corridor parallels the South Branch of the Raritan River. After passenger trains and rail cars laden with iron ore ceased running this line, the Columbia Gas company constructed a pipeline under the former rail bed. It then transferred the surface rights to the parks departments of Hunterdon and Morris counties for a recreational trail. We hiked part of this trail last week and saw several bald eagles soaring above the river and trail.

Loantaka Brook Reservation – Morristown

This park is a great choice for young bikers, scooters, and strollers because its trails are mostly paved. The reservation is divided into four areas: Seaton Hackney Stables, South Street Recreation Area, Loantaka Brook Park, and the Loantaka Way trail, all totaling about 570 acres and five miles of trails. Step into this reservation a short way from the bustle of downtown Morristown, and you're immersed in the sights and sounds of nature.

Watchung Reservation – Mountainside

Head out for an afternoon in the lower Watchung Mountains, strolling along scenic Lake Surprise and the Blue Brook. With 13 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate, Watchung Reservation also features a playground, rest-rooms, and plenty of parking. The historic abandoned village is another draw for young explorers. Trailside Nature Center houses exhibits on wildlife and habitats found in the reservation and often hosts activities for young children.

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!

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.

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.

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..