Bay Ridge Montessori School

Follow us!
(718) 259-8701 6301 12th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219

Press / Application

Download Application

Children Are Independent and Creative at the Montessori School of Bay Ridge

Learning for the Joy of It

Three, four, and five year olds in Bay Ridge are learning to peel carrots and grade cubes according to size at the Bay Ridge Montessori School on 13th Ave. and 65th St. here.

They are also learning to read, add and subtract, keep their class environment neat, pour their own juice and zip their own zippers. And they seem to be loving it.

As one enters the large, bright classrooms the first is of quiet. The rooms are scaled to the child, with child size tables and chairs, low shelves, and pictures hung where the child can look without craning his neck. The children work at tables and on rugs on the floor. Some work alone, some in small groups. The many materials are arranged in exercises by the teachers and set out on trays so that the children can easily select and replace their work themselves.

As we look around the room we see a child carefully pouring colored water through a funnel, another cleaning the easel after hanging his vivid painting on the bulletin board to dry. Across the room two children crawl along the floor counting the beads on a long, brightly colored bead chain; in the cozy reading corner a child reads to a friend.

But where are the teachers? They are here, moving quietly through the classroom, offering […] they are needed. They respect the busy child's concentration on his work and do not interrupt, but are quick to offer guidance to a child who seems at loose ends or show a new piece of material to a child they feel is ready. These teachers do not dominate the classroom, but "fade into the background", allowing the children to feel that the school is their own special place.

Today we see head teacher Saralee Rubenstein pause to admire a block building before moving on to help another child match a box of small objects to their names. Across the room her assistant Cira Focarino is discussing pre historic animals with a small group as they match dinosaur models to their pictures in a book.

Respect for the child as an individual person is the keynote here. The teachers are sensitive to the child's growing sense of competency and self-esteem. They respect his speed and tempo of work and his own sense of his needs and readiness. By giving the child the right kind of work at the right level at the right time she enables him to go from step to step in the learning process in a successful, positive way.

The child who is carefully piling the cubes of the Pink Tower is developing his awareness of gradation, the qualities of larger and smaller, and the geometric properties of a cube. As he works the teacher will give him the vocabulary "smaller", "larger," and "cube." […] preparing food, washing tables, or learning to button on a buttoning frame are enlarging their confidence and ability to care for themselves and their environment, as well as gaining coordination skills. When one sees the pride with which they complete those tasks one realizes the joy that self-sufficiency can give young children.

In the area of reading the Montessori method emphasizes phonics, which enables the child to "decode" the sounds of a written word, rather than having to memorize each word separately. Many exercises and games in this classroom are aimed at giving practice in the basic sounds of the letters. For example, the child who is tracing the shape of a letter "b" while repeating its sound is not only beginning to learn to read, he is also taking the first steps toward writing.

The mathematics exercises, like the others, offer concrete experience with numbers before moving toward the abstract. The materials are easy to hold and manipulate, for Montessori felt that children learn with their hands as well as their minds, by doing rather than by being told the answers. The children we see carefully counting the 100 golden beads on a long chain are getting a very concrete experience of what the number 100 means, as well as practising their counting and developing a high degree of concentration and self motivation.

But now the children are putting their work away and joining their teachers in a large circle on the floor for "news time." Perhaps later they will sing a few songs or march together with the rhythm instruments before going downstairs to the play yard for […]

The Bay Ridge Montessori School has morning and afternoon sessions meeting five days a week during the school year. There are about twenty children in each class, working with the Montessori materials mentioned as well as blocks and a wood-working bench, a great variety of art work, puppet-making, apple-sauce making, plants and animals to care for, the list could go on and on. It all adds up to a happy, busy, enriching experience for the children who attend.

The staff of the Bay Ridge Montessori School say that they will make arrangements for student teachers from local colleges as well as observers from other schools and the general public to visit the school. For more information or an appointment, call 259-8701.

Pamela Wardwell — Home Reporter and Sunset News

What Really Happens at the Bay Ridge Montessori School

Learning Can Be Fun

The Bay Ridge Montessori School, at 1258 65th St., is a nursery school and kindergarten that is certified by the New York State Board of Regents and the City of New York. The school makes great use of the educational concepts of Dr. Maria Montessori, who was a pediatrician and an educator. At the school, children, ages 3 to 5, are learning to count, add, subtract, write numbers, pronounce sounds, create stories, sew, weave and perform creative dramatics. They are also learning to keep their own class environment neat, pour their own juice, zip, button and snap their own clothing. And they are loving it all!

Upon entering the large, bright classroom, one observes a cheerful, calm and peaceful atmosphere. Everything in the room is scaled down to the children's size. There are low shelves and small tables and chairs. Pictures are hung on the walls at the children's eye level. The great assortment of Montessori and teacher created material is placed on the low shelves on trays so the children can easily select and replace their own work.

The children do their work either at one of the small tables or on a rug which is placed on the floor. As one looks around the room, one can see a child slowly pouring colored water through a funnel and another cleaning a painting mat after hanging her brilliantly colored picture on the cork board to dry. Across the room, one may see a small group of children counting strands of golden colored beads and exchanging them during what Dr. Montessori called the Bank Game. Another child sits peacefully on cozy pillows reading the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Where are the teachers? They are there, moving quietly through the classroom offering the help and encouragement that are so important to a child's learning process. The teachers respect the children's busy concentration and do not dominate the learning experience. Rather, they sensitively direct and focus the child to choose work on his or her own level. Much of Montessori teaching is geared to the individual child enabling the teacher to present new work to each child as he or she is ready for it. Children working in the Montessori environment have a sense of creating their own learning experience which in turn makes the child feel that […]

We look around the classroom and we see a teacher pausing to admire a creative block building structure before moving on to help another child match color tablets to their corresponding names. Across the room another teacher is sitting with a small group of children discussing animals which live on the land, in the water and in the air, while each child chooses an animal picture to sort into these categories.

Children who are preparing food, washing tables, watering plants and learning to clean up their own work, are enlarging their confidence and ability to care for their own environment as well as gaining coordination skills. Children experience great pride when they can successfully complete a task and in addition gain self confidence and self efficiency.

In the area of reading, the Montessori method emphasizes phonics which enables the child to decode the sounds of a written word rather than having to memorize each word separately. Many exercises and games in the classroom are aimed at giving practice in the basic sounds of letters. For example, the child who is tracing the shape of the letter "a" while repeating the sound, is not only beginning to learn to read but he is also taking the first steps in writing.

The mathematics exercises as the others, offer concrete experience with numbers before moving toward the abstract. The materials are easy for a child to hold and manipulate because Dr. Montessori believed that children learn with their hands as well as their minds. The children counting the 100 golden bead squares are getting a very concrete experience of what the number 100 means, as well as practicing counting and developing concentration.

Towards the end of the day, the children clean up their work and join their teachers for a group meeting. At this meeting, children give their views on a variety of topics, describe the weather, sing songs, learn the days of the week, act out plays, dance and tell news and stories. Running, climbing and outdoor games are also part of the regular routine when the weather is suitable.

Other activities during the year include cooking, puppet making, trips, woodworking and a dress up corner.

The teaching staff includes Deborah Gallo and Arlene Perrone as head teachers and Anna Triglianos as assistant, all of whom are trained in both early childhood education and Montessori methods and philosophy.

Deborah Gallo — Brooklyn Spectator