Dec. 20, 2018 By Laura Hanrahan
A new Montessori preschool will open its doors to the Greenpoint community in the new year.
Greenpoint Montessori, located at 288 McGuinness Blvd., will open its “one-room schoolhouse” on Jan. 2, and aims to teach small, mixed-age classes capped at 12 students under the curriculum.
The Montessori method, according to Kat Walker, founder of the Greenpoint school, allows children to move around the classroom freely and make their own choices while working at their pace.
Students, between 2 and 5-and-a-half years of age, will work with a range of materials that develop their concepts of math, language, art, sociability and more.
Walker, the center’s director and instructor, will then be able to observe the choices each child makes and adjust their teaching environments accordingly.
Having a mixed-aged group, Walker says, also allows students to mentor each other, and builds relationships between older and younger students.
Walker, a Greenpoint resident for four years, always knew she wanted to be a Montessori teacher, and has been chipping away at the idea of opening her own school for years.
“I’m a product of the philosophy,” she said. “I love the Montessori philosophy because it fosters a deep sense of respect for the child as a human being.”
After attending Montessori school through 5th grade, Walker later went on to pursue a Montessori certification and a Masters of Early Childhood Special Education.
A year ago, she partnered with Wonderschool, an organization that helps teachers and caregivers start their own preschools and child care programs, who has helped her prepare for the school’s launch early next year.
“[It’s] a complex undertaking that involves everything from setting up a safe and nurturing environment to completing the rigorous application to become a licensed childcare provider,” she said.
The decision to open a school in her neighborhood, she said, came while working at Montessori school in Manhattan and noticing a lack of quality preschool options in her backyard.
“Why outsource myself to Manhattan when there is such a need here in Brooklyn?” Walker said.
Prices at the Montessori school vary depending on the program chosen, with half day and full day options available, but range from $1,125 to $1,700 a month.
Walker plans to keep the program small and intimate, but hopes to one day be able to expand access to the school by offering financial assistance to families who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend.
For more information, visit GreenpointMontessori.com