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

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 18
Summer Camp Begins
(Summer Session 1)
Wednesday, June 20
Last day of class for
Elementary students
12:15pm Dismissal
Monday, July 2
Summer Session 2
Monday, July 16
Summer Session 3
Monday, July 30
Summer Session 4
Friday, Ausust 10
Summer Camp Ends

Albrook News

Celebrating Ms. Hicks' Thirty-Five Years of Service

by Ms. Vazaios

On Saturday, May 12th, our community happily came together to celebrate Ms. Hicks' thirty five years of service to The Albrook School. As a school, we were touched by the loving support and efforts extended by current and former staff, parents and alumni. The Upper Elementary students were excited to set-up Albers Hall in anticipation of acknowledging Ms. Hicks. Guests were greeted by a harmonious performance by the Tomaru Quartet, comprised of Mrs. Tomaru, Ellee, Marisa, and Miya.

The evening progressed with a loving timeline tribute featuring many fun photographs arranged and created by the staff and Ms. Hicks' niece, Brittany Anderson. This beautiful tribute highlighted 35 years of love, loyalty and passion for teaching at Albrook, as well as highlighting great family memories through the years. The evening's success was also tied to the delicious food served; many thanks to all who contributed to providing Ms. Hicks' favorite foods, including fabulous appetizers, main entrees and desserts. Ms. Hicks' legacy was also honored by the creation of two artistically crafted scrapbooks assembled by Kaamakshi Mahesh and Gayathri Srinivas. Well-wishing thoughts and memories by students, staff and alumni students filled the scrapbooks. Laughter ensued when Jeremy Hollander, one of Ms. Hicks' first elementary students at Albrook, humorously read a 35-year progress report highlighting Ms. Hicks' strengths and challenges. The evening closed with a wonderful exchange between Ms. Hicks and Ms. MacNeill, showing gratitude and appreciation for one another. As a staff, we are proud to have such strong, capable leaders guiding us.

Team Albrook walks for Good Grief

by Ms. Antoniello

On Sunday, June 3, several Albrook teachers completed a 2 mile walk at Giralda Farms in Morristown for Good Grief's Run and Walk for Hope. Located in Morristown and Princeton, Good Grief is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the emotional lives of families who have lost a loved one. It especially works to provide comfort to children dealing with the devastating loss of a parent. Ms. McCusker, the Head of Stepping Stones, has volunteered with the organization for many years and created "Team Albrook" for the day of the walk.

This year proved to be the annual event's greatest success yet, with over 1,200 participants. Good Grief also managed to raise $140,000 towards the families and children they help. It felt inspiring to play even a small part in such an important cause, and it was great to represent Albrook in something so meaningful.

To learn more about the work Good Grief does and about possible volunteer opportunities, please visit

The Kindergarten Celebration - King Drosselbart

by Mrs. Dignam

Ms. Albers began The Albrook School tradition of celebrating the Kindergarten graduation with a dramatic play. This year, the production was "King Drosselbart." The unique aspect in all of Albrook's plays is that every single child has a role. They each have lines, they sing and they all dance. It is the ultimate celebration to commence their year together.

The children could be observed having fun during their practices; they burst with excitement when speaking about the play. In the end, they performed as a team. The Albrook School has a stage because Ms. Albers knew that performing in front of an audience as a young child would demystify their fear.

Every year the Kindergarten play is special because the children have been together and in their class for three years. This is the culmination of the three year Montessori cycle. It is beautiful to see the support and camaraderie as this cohesive group of children comes together and performs as one.

Heifer Donation

The kindergarten children finished their year-long service project for Heifer International. The children learned about empathy by working around their houses and helping others to earn money to donate to Heifer International. They learned about a little girl named Beatrice who was not able to attend school until her family received a goat from Heifer International. After sorting their earned money, the children voted on which animals and services to donate. They chose the Nutrition Box since we learned about nutrition, a hive of bees, a flock of chicks and a flock of ducks. The children were happy and proud of their accomplishments.

Respect and Empathy

by Mrs. Delia and Mrs. Fritsch

Every month the Van Gogh class has taken a walk to Harry Dunham Park for Boot Day. Each time we focus on a different aspect of nature embracing each new season. Our first walk was at the end of summer and the children saw the green leaves, flowers, grass, warm temperatures and a little trickling in the stream. In the fall, the children observed the changing color of the leaves, the migration of the red wing blackbirds in the marsh and the cooler temperatures. In the late fall, the children noticed bare branches and the noise of the leaves crunching under their boots. In the winter, the children were dressed for the cooler temperatures, snow on the ground, tracks in the snow, the absence of birds singing, and they found a frozen layer of ice on the stream. The children enjoyed making their own tracks and rolling down the hill in their snow clothes. In the spring, we stopped and listened to all the sounds that nature makes, birds singing, woodpeckers pecking and the very long worm they found by the rushing water of the stream.

On the last Boot Day, the Van Gogh class continued to demonstrate empathy and respect for their environment during their May excursion. On the way to the forest, the children observed many things that did not belong in nature. After they noted the activity in the stream and listened to the sounds of the water and birds, the Van Gogh class donned rubber gloves and began collecting items that did not belong in nature. By the end of our walk, the class filled a large trash bag. They recycled the cans and bottles and disposed of the trash. The children were thrilled with their experience and felt good about helping nature.

Respecting nature is an integral part of the Albrook curriculum. The children learn to love their world and respect everything in it every day. The class hugged the grandfather tree alongside the path to thank him for providing a place to learn outside.

Adventures in Stepping Stones

by Ms. McCusker

Wow! Have we had a busy time in Stepping Stones these past couple of weeks! The time has come when our youngest students have grown in maturity and confidence. They are now ready to take on new adventures outside the Monet and Picasso classrooms.

The first of these adventures was our weekly Boot Day excursions. Here we skipped and marched around the school grounds looking at all types of nature such as: flowers, bugs, horses and clouds. Occasionally we took a stop at one of the big preschool playgrounds for some well-deserved gross motor activities and fun.

To complement our studies of nature, we had the pleasure of Mr. Larry from Unique Creatures come to visit on Wednesday, May 30th. He brought in some amazing animals. We all had a very close view and could gently touch many of them. Leah the chicken, the tiny chinchilla, an iguana, and the big 20 pound bunny were some of our favorites.

We also ventured outdoors to attend to our tomato garden. At the beginning of the month, Mr. Joyce and many little hands from the Picasso class pulled and dug up weeds. Then on a rainy Thursday morning, Mrs. Haldeman and eager helpers from the Monet class planted the tomatoes.

Last but not least, we ventured off the premises completely and boarded the NJ transit train from Gladstone to Lyons before heading to Harry Dunham Park for a picnic. There is no stopping us now! We look forward to more adventures over the summer and future adventures at The Albrook School next year.

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in." -Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Albrook Celebrates Spirit Day

by Ms. MacNeill

On Tuesday morning, May 15, our school community gathered in Albers Hall to celebrate a wonderful school year and to acknowledge our students for coming together as a community throughout the year. By doing so, they were able to make a difference in their own lives as well as touch the lives of others through their focus on the school's goal of Respect and Empathy.

We gathered together and reviewed the various community service projects that the school community participated in. Included was the Somerset County Foodbank program which provides backpack lunches to children in need of food over the weekends. Albrook families and students also provided much needed items and gifts for the Holiday Giving Tree and raised funds for the Heifer International project. The elementary children collected items for children in need in Honduras.

Empathy and Respect were evident on a daily basis throughout the school year as older and younger students interacted, always with a hand extended in kindness. Our students truly tried to imagine what it was like to walk in the shoes of another.

The students joined together in singing songs for peace, one of Albrook's great traditions.

The children had an opportunity to acknowledge all the APA officers and volunteers for all they contributed to our community throughout the year. A well deserved three cheers were given to all the moms and dads and grandparents.

The end of year Spirit Day coincided with the last Peace of Pizza lunch. All our students were invited to attend lunch and enjoy ice pops, compliments of our APA. This was a proud day indeed for our school community!

New APA Officers for 2018-2019

We would like to thank this year's APA officers for a wonderful, harmonious year at Albrook. We appreciated all the great community building events. Now we look forward to working with the new officers for 2018-2019:
Ms. Kim-President, Mrs. Crowther and Mrs. Zalmover –Vice Presidents,
Ms. Tessieri-Secretary, and Mr. Schock- Treasurer.

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Luncheon

by Nina Marvi

"Love is more than the electricity which lightens our darkness, more than etheric waves that transmit our voices across space, more than any of the energies that man has discovered and learned to use. Of all things love is the most potent." Maria Montessori

As a staff we would like to share our heartfelt thanks for a wonderful Appreciation Luncheon. It is no overstatement to say that we truly felt loved and appreciated. We were all deeply humbled by the time, energy and thoughtfulness, not to mention hard work which went into the preparation and execution of this wonderful event. In every detail, love was in evidence. The warmth and generosity of spirit was indeed palpable. A special thank you to Mrs. Higgins for putting together a beautiful video tribute from the children.

We know that we are indeed fortunate to be part of such a wonderful school community. The Appreciation Luncheon brought this idea home to us again as we sat back to relax and enjoy a fabulous afternoon of delicious food and drink, as well as a wonderful video presentation.

Hats off to Mrs. Higgins, all the APA TAL committee and the volunteers who made the event a great success! A simple thank you hardly seems adequate.

Memorable Frost Valley Moments

collected by Ms. Francese

Amelia-I really bonded with my cabin mates. We had a lot of fun.
Cory-The most memorable part of Frost Valley was the extremely fun time I had in my cabin with my good friends.
Clara-The most fun was Josh, Amelia and I in a canoe ramming buoys.
Carly-A highlight for me was having a splash fight during canoeing.
Darya-One of my favorite highlights was flying squirrel because when they pull on the rope, you get to fly and spin. Another one was canoeing because it is so much fun, but a little tiring.
Claire-I liked canoeing because I like being out in the water and flying squirrel because I was up in the air.
Alex M.-The food.
Chloe-I liked canoeing on the lake and rowing out to the small island.
Emma Y.-I liked building the shelter at outdoor living skills and we made a real fire.
Aidan V.-The experience of traveling with my classmates and my teachers on my own and returning with the knowledge of flying squirrel, canoeing, hiking, and rock climbing.
Miya-Rock climbing was extremely fun because it was challenging. I also really enjoyed the food.
Tanya-The best thing I liked about Frost Valley was flying squirrel because everyone worked together. I also liked how we shared favorite Frost Valley memories with our counselor.
Tommy-The cable bridge.
Eshaan- I enjoyed playing GaGa and getting a nickname from my friends.
Douglas-The food was really good, especially the pancakes.
Joshua-I enjoyed the rope bridge hike and the rock painting. Flying squirrel was really fun, it's not every day you get to fly.
Matthew-My favorite thing about Frost Valley was playing GaGa and getting cheered by fans.
Duncan-GaGa was fun because we got to play with lots of people.
Caitlin-It was fun naming the salamanders we caught in water ecology.
Saanvi-I really loved the campfire. I liked roasting marshmallows for s'mores and singing songs.
Zander-I liked outdoor living skills because we got to see other people's shelters and we got to build our own.
Simona-I liked catching salamanders during water ecology.
Sebastian-I liked the campfire because we roasted marshmallows and the s'mores were very good. We also did skits, my group did Star Wars.
Isabelle-I liked the campfire because we made s'mores and I liked when we did the Disney skits.
Trevor-During the campfire our guide DC did skits with us and made s'mores with us. It was very fun.
Lucille-I liked water ecology because I liked looking for pond life. We used nets to catch things and observed a frog.
Maddie-We caught salamanders during water ecology. The hike was fun because we used rocks to make paint. The hide and seek game was fun also.
Cian-I liked building the huts during outdoor living skills and building the campfire.
Madeline-I really liked water ecology because we caught five salamanders and a really big tadpole with a big net.
Shelby-I liked playing in the cabin with the other yellow friends and I liked eating tofu pasta for lunch.
Abigail-I liked being a server in the dining hall and water ecology because we caught salamanders.
Aria-I enjoyed the cooking, the chips and salsa were delicious. I enjoyed cutting all of the vegetables.
Maia-Water ecology was really fun. I would recommend that anyone do that first. I would recommend the campfire too. The s'mores were really good.
Ines-I enjoyed water ecology because I saw salamanders and I never saw salamanders before. Victor-I liked water ecology because I got to see new animals and I could catch them in a net.
Emil-I liked outdoor living skills because we got to see everyone's fort and build forts.
Che'-Frost Valley was great because we got to learn a lot and explore nature. It got me back into studying about nature.
Hudson-I really enjoyed going to Frost Valley, especially the water ecology. I remember the huge toad that Alina caught.
Agustin-Frost Valley was really fun. I liked the games and outdoor living skills. We got to build forts and go in them.
Alina-Frost Valley is really awesome. Water ecology was really fun because I caught a toad and a couple of salamanders.
Emma S.-Frost Valley was fun. My favorite part was outdoor living skills because I love building houses out of sticks and rocks.

Alumni News

Congratulations to Albrook Alum Lex D'Andrea and Sikata Sengupta on their graduation from Ridge High School. In the fall, Lex will be heading to The College of New Jersey while Sikata will be attending Stanford University.

Grandparents' Day at Albrook brought a different type of alum! We welcomed Albrook parents who have now become Albrook grandparents. It was a lovely testament to the Albrook spirit.

Spring into Math

by Mrs. Murphy

on Thursday, May 26, The Albrook School hosted Family Math Night, inviting students and their parents to enjoy an evening of discovery and fun. Each classroom, from Stepping Stones to Upper Elementary, offered students the opportunity to share their favorite math lessons and activities with their parents.

"I liked practicing my math skills with my parents," said Eshaan. "I showed them the coordinate grids, the area of a triangle work, and the code cards."

The Montessori math materials provide a multitude of different ways to make learning math facts and concepts fun. Beginning in the Stepping Stones program, the children are introduced to quantity and numeric symbols. The children not only see and learn the symbols for numbers, but they hold the quantity in their hand.

"I am so glad we came," said Jenny Wang, mother of Stepping Stones student Mikayla. "We got to see how the math materials teach the children to make a connection between quantity and symbol. We visited the preschool classrooms and saw how the materials progress from the concrete to the abstract. It is a great way for children to learn math when they can actually feel it."

In the preschool classroom, students delighted in showing their parents the Number Rods, Spindle Boxes, 100 Board, Stamp Game, and Golden Bead materials.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to see the materials being used," said Cheryl Gan, mom to Kindergarten student Samuel and Pre-K1 student George.

"George practiced matching numbers to quantity with the number rods and Samuel completed the long seven chain. It was interesting to see how the long chains taught skip counting and multiplication, as well as the concepts of squares and cubes of numbers."

The Lower Elementary class created mini work plans consisting of 6 math lessons to share with their parents. Trevor Leahey's work plan included the checkerboard, the grocery store (money/making change), fractions, temperature, measurement, and the multiplication bead board. Down the hall, the Upper Elementary students and their parents tackled fractions, decimals, area of cube, area of a triangle, coordinate grids, and the Pythagorean Theorem.

"Math night was great," said Trevor. "I worked through my whole lesson plan with my parents and I got to stay up late!"

In addition to solving challenging problems and completing math lessons, more than 180 parents, teachers, and students gathered in Albers Hall to enjoy a delicious pasta dinner. Who knew an evening of math could also be an evening of fun?

Practicing Empathy in Preschool Classroom

by Ms. Yamawaki

"Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feeling of another." It is generally a difficult concept to grasp for young children, because their thoughts and communications typically center around themselves. This is developmentally appropriate. According to Piaget, young children tend to assume that other people see, hear, and feel exactly the same as they do. So how can we, as educators and parents, help nurture empathy in our young friends? Here are some examples we have tried:

Giving Them a Tool 1:"You Can't Say 'You Can't Play'" The phrase introduced during this year's NJMAC's keynote speech has become a popular phrase around the Albrook playground. Most of the time, children say "You can't play with us!" only because this is a familiar, go-to phrase for when a newcomer approaches an established play situation, not necessarily out of malice. It sure is an easy option, too. Why disturb the current set-up, which is working out fine? Why bother to interrupt the play, include newcomers to the situation, and bring them up to speed?

By learning and hearing the phrase, "You can't say 'you can't play!'" repeatedly, children become more aware of the inclusive option. Instead of "You can't play with us", this new phrase becomes the new go-to phrase, a tool to increase an opportunity for inclusiveness. It may not be the easiest option, but one that requires some creative thinking. It challenges the children to come up with solutions: how can we include these newcomers and still continue the play? What accommodation needs to be made? Often, all they need is an open invitation, and the play continues.

Giving Them a Tool 2: How to Express "You Can't Play" in a Montessori Way In many ways, Montessori philosophy honors individuality and freedom of choice. The freedom comes with responsibility, as the work becomes my work, laid out on my defined space, for me to focus on and be engrossed in. I have a choice to have it all to myself and not to share. In other words, "You can't play"! So, how do I express it in a gentle, considerate way? We explicitly practice this, by repeatedly providing them exact words and expressions. "I am doing this work now. You can choose this when I am done." "This is my work right now. I will let you know when I am finished, and it will be all yours." The common thread is empathy and respect: "You know I take work seriously, and I know you do, too." This is the very foundation of civilized Montessori classroom environment.

Drawing From One's Own Experience "That's so easy," snickers an older child, as he glances at a younger child working with sandpaper letters. The teacher whispers to the older child, "Oh, I know you can read so many words on your own now. Remember you did this same work when you were 3? I bet he will be a good reader just like you when he is 5."

Leaving It to Them At a recent birthday party, children enjoyed taking turns to hit a piñata. When it was finally broken, they all screamed and ran to collect scattered candy. A child, however, stood by the wall, overwhelmed with the frenzy, holding her empty bag. Another child – and I happened to know that he LOVES candy – approached her with his well-filled bag, grabbed a bunch of candy and said, "Here, you can have it." and put it in the other child's bag. Children often surprise us with their capabilities beyond our expectations. Sometimes, they capably teach grown-ups how to be empathetic, only if we open our eyes.

May's Discipline Tool Kit

  • Pause, take a deep breath, pray, think! Use calming techniques. Discipline in love, not anger.
  • Time Out, or Quiet Time, one possible consequence, is helpful in removing a child from a problematic situation and/or giving the opportunity to calm down. Adults may take some quiet time when they become upset. The adult may remove him/herself from the child briefly, as a consequence, for example, if the child is aggressive toward the parent. Timeout is often misused as a punishment, to satisfy the parent's anger.
  • A few choice words – no lectures! (Two sentence maximum) Show instead of tell. Instead of telling a young child to pick up toys, do it with him, cheerfully, and he may imitate.
  • ·
  • "That hurts! Please touch gently!" Show a gentle touch.

Boot Day for Yeats and Homer: Spring Search

by Isabelle Chludzinski

On the morning of Friday, May 4th, the Yeats friends and the Homer friends went to Boot Day at Harry Dunham Park to look for signs of spring in nature. We walked to Harry Dunham Park from school. When we arrived, we got partners. Then, we went to the woods with our partners. Every Yeats kid was given a paper that said, "Look for signs of spring, like a bird's nest, animal tracks, and something red."

The Yeats kids helped the preschoolers and kindergartners. It was fun! After that, we went to have snack, it was animal crackers and clementines. Finally, the teachers had a surprise, we could to go to the playground. We played, and then went back to school.

Grandparents Day 2018

Albrook's doors opened with a warm welcome to all our grandparents. They began the morning getting to know each other over a light breakfast as the elementary students performed snippets from the musical, Annie.

When the performance came to a close, the upper elementary reading buddies escorted our guests to their grandchildren's classrooms where little hands and minds were excited and indeed eager to share their work and friends. No doubt, everyone had a good time. It was especially heartwarming to see second generation grandparents relive memories they had many years ago as a parent at Albrook.

To bring this beautiful morning to a close, our community all joined together in Albers Hall for a group sing. Under the guidance of Mrs. Marvi, the children began to share their repertoire of songs from around the world. It was a pleasure to watch as our guests happily joined in a few old melodies like "This land is Your Land" and "This Little Light Of Mine". We would like to take this opportunity to thank our guests for taking the time to join us for this wonderful morning of sharing. We also appreciate all who traveled a great distance for this occasion.

The Elementary Presents Annie

By Mrs. Lipman

The elementary performed the well-loved musical, Annie. The production was the culmination of several months of hard work on the part of students, staff, and parents. Each child performed his or her role with great poise and enthusiasm, and the excitement was palpable on the night of the show. It was wonderful to watch each child grow into his or her role throughout the rehearsal process and particularly delightful to witness the empathy and respect shown by the performers to each other backstage.

We were especially fortunate this year to have Albrook parents share their professional arts experience with our students. Ron and Barbra Sharpe were kind enough to spend an afternoon sharing their vocal and theatrical talents, coaching our performers on their solos. We were also incredibly lucky to have the talented drummer and preschool parent, Jimmi Kane, provide percussion for the show.

In addition to the fabulous performances, we also had many wonderful technical elements. We were very excited to use our digital backdrop for this elementary play. Under the guidance of scenery chairs, Lynda Tomaru and Jessica Koster, the upper elementary students created designs on paper that were then projected as backdrops for the performance. The scenery committee also spent long hours creating the set for the show. TJ Schock created a new and improved method of attaching scenery to our frequently used blocks, making scene changes much easier for our backstage crew. A special highlight this year was the auction of scenery pieces from the show's Times Square scene directed by Mrs. Tomaru. Funds from this auction will be put toward the Somerset County Food Bank's backpack program for next year's Spirit Day. From the large number of props organized by Mrs. Yamawaki and Mrs. DeBue, to the beautiful costumes created by Nancy Greb, to the elaborate playbill designed by Marge Majkowski and Sunny Lu, each piece was superb. We are truly grateful to all who participated in making this performance such a success!

"As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has--or ever will have--something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression."

Respect and Empathy in Lower Elementary

by Ms. Francese

Dr. Montessori described the stages of growth in children as planes of development, each with its own unique fundamental characteristics of "normalization". The elementary child constitutes the second plane of development which is characterized by a shift from the sensorial to the abstract, an increased interest in and capacity for intellectual pursuits, and a desire for sociability and the moral aspects of life. Montessori wrote, "Education must take advantage of the value of the hidden instincts that guide man as he builds his own life. Powerful among these instinctsis the social drive. It has been our experience that if the child and the adolescent do not have a chance to engage in a true social life, they do not develop a sense of discipline and morality".

Elementary aged children have a keen interest in their own lives as well as the lives of others. They now embrace a larger community of people and become interested in the morality of actions as evidenced by a growing interest in rules and the notion of "fairness". Children at this stage of development continually question what is right and wrong. They possess a desire to use their developing powers of reason to formulate their own ideas about right and wrong. As a result, children look to the adults in their lives for validation and verification of the boundaries of behaviors to confirm/reaffirm that which is acceptable. Their interest in judging behaviors and ideals then extends to an interest in justice and compassion for others.

Anyone who has ever spent time in an elementary classroom has observed obvious evidence of this social awareness. The room is often abuzz with conversation among the children as they interact with one another throughout the day. As teachers, we carefully plan the lessons and activities for the children, including those that address their newly developing moral compass. While our peace curriculum has been firmly established as an integral part of our classroom experiences, our annual school goals are often interwoven into our peace exercises. This year's goal of empathy and respect has particular importance. Our time together often presents us with many "teachable moments", but there are times when a concept is presented for consideration. In those cases, we often use literature to help us introduce a topic or provide a springboard for discussion.

During one of our more recent peace circle meetings, the children gathered to participate in an activity designed to help them understand the concepts of equality (the quality or state of being equal or the same) and equity (a justice according to natural law or right, specifically freedom from bias or favoritism). As the children sat in a circle, they were asked to remove one shoe and place it into a basket. We spoke about how they were now in need of something; a shoe, with eyes closed, each child reached into the basket to retrieve a shoe, without peeking. Of course no one pulled out the shoe they needed; either it didn't fit, it was for the opposite foot, or both. The children realized that although they each got a shoe, it was not the right one. After exchanging shoes to find the one that each child needed, we discussed that equality is giving everyone a shoe that fits.

Kindergarten Science Experiments

The kindergarten children have enjoyed their weekly science experiments. The joy on their faces when their friends and their families share different science concepts such as: density, the way sound travels, and various chemical reactions sparks the curious scientist inside each child.


by Ms. MacNeill

"Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child." Dr. Maria Montessori.

Students, teachers, administrators, and allies were invited to support a nationwide walkout on the morning of March 14, for seventeen minutes to honor the seventeen lives lost in a school shooting in Florida on February 14 of this year.

Our school community gathered together that morning in spirit and song with a mission of peace in our hearts. Our school community showed support for all students across America in Albers Hall by observing a minute of silence.

Aidan Vineis, one of our upper elementary students, read a beautiful book If Peace is… by Jane Baskwill to help inspire us all to be more peaceful. The story echoed the importance for all of us to find our own ways to love, protect and care for each other.

The students had an opportunity to share their thoughts on how to make the world a more peaceful place, then they joined together to sing a collection of peace songs guided by Mrs. Marvi.

After hearing their thoughts, we are confident that Albrook's students will leave a positive mark on the world. Within our walls, it was easy to observe how Dr. Montessori came to the conclusion that "Within the child lies the fate of the future."

Funds Raised for Backpack Program

Mrs. Tomaru had a great idea for the scenery pieces from the play, Annie. She and Ms. Koster held a silent auction in the reception room for each of the special scenery pieces created by the students and the scenery committee under Mrs. Tomaru and Ms. Koster's direction. The parents were very supportive and the silent bids raised $505. toward next year's backpack program.

In the past, the Girl Scout troop led by Mrs. Tomaru, donated funds toward the program to supplement the food brought in by the students. Since this is the last year they were able to add to our program, Mrs. Tomaru created a new way to supplement. Many thanks to all the bidding parents for a good cause.

Former Student and Board Member is new
Assistant Attorney General of New Jersey

It is always a pleasure to hear how well our former students are doing. At last night's Albrook Board Meeting, we were delighted to hear that my former student, Jeremy Hollander, will start his new position (with a very long title) at the end of the month as the Assistant Attorney General of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Group in the Division of Law for the State Attorney General.

Upper Elementary Reflections of MMUN

gathered by Ms. Francese

Clara-My favorite part of my MMUN experience was the social night. Everyone that participated gathered for a big party, just like DJ night. I made a new friend from China.

Joshua-The committee room was a highlight for me. That was where I presented my project to the other delegates. It helped me with my public speaking. I made a friend that I am still in touch with.

Aidan-I really enjoyed learning about how a committee session and the UN works. The experience of being in the UN building and participating in a general assembly meeting was very informative and interesting.

Chloe-I liked the cultural exchange night. I enjoyed watching people from different countries perform. I also liked looking at everyone's posters.

Darya-I liked participating in the MMUN project because I enjoyed speaking at the UN. Being chosen to speak in the UN building was a delight for me because it was my first and only time doing it. Dancing at the social night was fun. I liked making new friends in the general assembly committee rooms. I hope to do it again next year.

Carly-Being in the UN building and experiencing cultural night was cool. I liked seeing all of the people perform. Preparing for the event was difficult, but I learned a lot.

Miya-I enjoyed going to the UN building and hearing everyone's resolutions and collaborating with them on the final resolution. Being in New York City was exciting.

Matthew-The best part of MMUN was meeting with all of the other kids and discussing resolutions.

Kyle-I liked being in the UN building and having the chance to go there. I liked hearing the head of the UN speak.

Duncan-I liked being in the UN building and sitting in the seats of the real ambassadors. I also liked talking and collaborating with people from other countries.

Tommy-I enjoyed representing Australia and creating a resolution with people from other countries.

Alumni Focus: The Casamassina Family

by Mrs. Michelle Casamassina

I had done a great deal of research on Maria Montessori, and believed that her teaching method was something we wanted to expose our daughter to. The practical life and building block aspects made so much sense for educating a small child. We had only moved to the area a few months before Abby joined Albrook. A friend had mentioned the school during a get together, and once I did some research, I wanted to find out more. As soon as we visited the school, we knew we wanted to be there!

Even as a baby, Abby showed she was a child that learned through exposure to new things and had a huge curiosity of all her surroundings. Albrook and its staff provided this type of environment for a child to explore within boundaries. Boundaries that helped guide, but not restrict. The expectations placed on the children during Stepping Stones was a process that helped them reach their own accomplishments. They were exposed to the concepts of responsibility and respect so early that it naturally became the norm.

Abby completed 5th grade at Albrook. We only moved her prior to completing her 6th year because the school for her future, Kent Place, had entries at that level.

Albrook prepared Abby to feel comfortable going into almost any situation. She was never afraid to make new friends, and always felt confident at being herself, a strong girl with the right level of self-confidence. Additionally, she excelled on her entrance exams and has just grown from there in her academics. We contribute this preparedness to her Albrook experience.

There are soooo many special memories that it is hard to choose even a few!

  • Our GS troop planted a peach tree in Ms. Albers' yard
  • Abby played the bird lady in Mary Poppins
  • Ms. Yamawaki found a green lump of a meatloaf we left in the oven when cooking with the GS for charity
  • Abby's first day of Stepping Stones and first day of Kindergarten.

Abby, my husband and I, all made life-long friends through Albrook. Abby keeps in touch regularly with most of her upper El class actually, and often sees them at various sporting events. Even our Girl Scout troop that was started at Albrook during Kindergarten is still a part of our lives!

Spring at Albrook

by Mrs. Marvi

Spring has finally arrived and the Albrook School is in bloom. Many varieties of daffodils and narcissus are gracing the campus. It's a delight to observe the excitement of the children as they eagerly examine the fruits of their fall labors of bulb planting. The children planted various hyacinths as well as tulips and still more daffodil species which added depth to their numbers.

Throughout the school, the children have been busy planting a variety of flower and herb seeds, all the while singing our many songs for spring which include ' The Earth is Waking Up!'. It's safe to say that botanical studies are in full swing as we study the life cycle of a seed and the parts of various plants as well as the changes that spring brings to the trees that surround us.

Once again we are pleased to see our preschool classrooms planting vegetables in Earth Boxes. These specialized planters were given to Albrook last year as part of a grant from the Rutgers Cooperative Community Outreach Program. This was in recognition of the Montessori curriculum's concentration on environmental studies and commitment to encouraging stewardship of the environment as well its fostering of nutritional eating habits and concepts of where our food actually comes from.

Great excitement is in evidence as the children water the boxes and watch for signs of germination! We look forward to observing the rapid growth of our peas and radishes which are cold weather tolerant. They will be harvested in just a few weeks. Many tasting activities will follow!

Look out for future updates on The Children's Garden as well as The Stepping Stones Edible Garden.

The Expanded Day Program

by Mrs. Flaherty

One of the most distinctive features of human beings is the development of social skills. Children usually like to spend most of their time in the company of their peers. In our Montessori expanded care program, we offer two connected rooms, one for ages 3 and 4, and the other for ages 5 to 12. As they interact and socialize with children from different developmental stages, they have the opportunity to help each other grow.

The highlights of our Montessori program distinguish us from other schools. It is a safe environment to grow and learn, enjoying freedom within limits of the classroom. As educators, we must emphasize the experience of love, respect, and care to create a better future for this world.

Expanded calendar at Albrook is a special place where students not only finish their weekly homework, but also find time to create, design, write, dream, laugh, and above all, feel safe and at home.

Montessori Model UN


Fifteen Upper Elementary students and ten adults boarded the bus and cars for the MMUN conference. Beginning in September, the students had spent a great deal of time each Tuesday working on Opening Speeches, Country Displays, and Position Papers for their individual countries. Now that the big day had come, you could almost feel the excitement in the air.

The first three days were spent at the Marriott Marquis in New York City with some of Albrook's students carrying their nation's flag in the first evening flag ceremony where over 2,000 students gathered from around the world. Young students from every continent joined students from across the United States in this wonderful event.

The second evening, The Albrook School was chosen to present at the cultural entertainment exchange and sang a song from last year's play, "Learn about the USA", on a huge stage with three large television screens for all the audience to observe.

On the second and third days, pairs of our students gathered in each of the five groups of 60-80 to present their opening speeches and convince the rest of the represented countries to come up with resolutions to solve their countries' given problems in the same way that the United Nations does when they meet. Each student had to dress in formal dress with the boys in jackets and ties and the girls in suits or business dresses. The parents observing were all very proud of the way the students stood up for their countries and interacted politely with other students.

After two very full days of deliberations, the students voted for peers to represent and speak for their group. Darya Tahmasebi was chosen to speak for her group at the United Nations building. All MMUN students gathered on Saturday to sit in the seats of the UN delegates and announce their resolutions. The parents sat in the rear seats of the UN to observe the proceedings.

It was a rigorous four days, but the children managed to muster up the excitement to join the thousands at the St. Patricks' Day parade.

We'd like to thank Mrs. Majkowski and Mrs. Lucid for dedicating such a tremendous amount of time to take the training and supervise the weekly meetings that prepared the students for this conference. We'd also like to thank Mrs. Tomaru and all the staff, parents and students who helped in all the fundraising events that helped enable the students to have this unforgettable experience.

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..