School Spotlight: Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg
Set amongst quintessential Brooklyn bodegas, coffee shops and boutiques, and a short walk from the iconic Williamsburg Bridge, Guidepost at Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York attracts families who value dynamic learning environments and cultural exchange.
Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg is a thriving school community in the New York City Burrough of Brooklyn. The campus provides nursery and early education programs designed to empower children to achieve independence, and serves children between 12 months and 6 years old. Located less than five minutes from the Williamsburg Bridge, the campus opened in 2019 and currently serves 58 children.
The Montessori approach gives children tremendous freedom to pursue their interests and learn at their own pace while fostering a benevolent and collaborative class culture. Since the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn is well known for its vibrant artistic community and cultural attractions, it makes sense that the Guidepost campus attracts families who value dynamic learning environments and cultural exchange. “This is a very warm and family-friendly neighborhood,” explained Head of School, Michelle Ahern. “I think that’s really reflected in our school community.”
Families in the Children's House communities often visit the classrooms to share short presentations on their family culture. “For example, we recently had a family share their cultural traditions around Passover,” said Michelle. “Parents visited the community to read a book and share some typical Passover food with the children.” These kinds of interactions between families and children in the school community create a vibrant and inclusive environment where diverse cultures are celebrated and shared.
At Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg, each classroom is designed to provide children with the tools they need to build independence and learn at their own pace. Each classroom is fully equipped with child-sized furniture, child-friendly tools to prepare food, clean the classroom, and care for themselves, and learning materials that spark curiosity and inspire deep concentration.
“Our guides are fantastic,” Michelle shared. “They put so much love and effort into their work.” All Guidepost Montessori guides are trained to observe children closely to understand their needs and then to provide individualized instruction to inspire deep learning and great achievements. The Montessori philosophy centers on the belief that children are naturally curious and capable learners. Thus, each child is provided an environment that fosters independence and a love of learning.
And the campus itself is beautiful. Just a few minutes walk to the Williamsburg Bridge and Domino Park, the school has a distinctly modern aesthetic. "Our campus is pretty special, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering lots of natural light in many of the classrooms,” Michelle explained. "It’s a rare thing to find in New York City.”
Outside of the classrooms, Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg students regularly enjoy the perks of attending school in this lively neighborhood. There are two parks with play structures within walking distance of the campus, one of which has a splash pad that provides lots of warm-weather fun. “Our students often visit a community garden that's run by a local community organization,” Michelle shared. “This is where the children release their classroom butterflies, and they also get to explore the different fruits, vegetables and flowers that are growing there.” Earlier this year, the children organized a lemonade stand outside of the school and raised over $400 to support the community garden.
“We're very close to the Williamsburg Bridge, so sometimes we walk there with the Toddler classes,” Michelle explained. “It's exciting for them to see the subways passing over the bridge and to guess the number of the subway that’s going by. Our Toddler and Children's House children have also made friends with the local fire station. So oftentimes when they're passing by on their walks, they'll stop to say hello to the firefighters.”
One of the many benefits of Guidepost Montessori is the integrated curriculum that incorporates not only traditional academic subjects, but also practical life skills. The curriculum is designed to engage children in all areas of learning, building a well-rounded sense of confidence and a love for exploration and discovery.
At the Williamsburg campus, there is a communal feeling to the school as a whole, and there are shared spaces dedicated to helping children develop these practical life skills. “We have a shared space on the second floor of our school where the children congregate to work on their practical life skills,” Michelle explained. “Passing through, you are likely to see children setting up teatime with real teapots, cups, and saucers, sewing buttons onto fabric, or washing their dishes in the dish basin after eating snack. The open design of the space means that the Toddler children pass through and observe the older children at work each day. It really helps them get excited for their time to move up to the Children's House classroom and take on the more challenging work themselves! The Toddler classes also share a practical life area. It really does help to create a sense of community and allows children from different classes to get to know each other.”
A Guidepost at Williamsburg parent recently shared her experience as follows: "We've had our son in the Spanish immersion program since he was 2.5, so almost two years, and we love it. All of his teachers are warm, thoughtful and loving and we can tell that he is learning and growing because of them. He's just over four years old and he's already writing and sounding out words, I have no doubt he'll be reading by 5."
Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg is not just a place for children to learn and grow academically, but also a place that fosters independence, a love of learning, and a shared sense of community. With dedicated and passionate leadership, caring guides, a beautiful campus, and a lively neighborhood to explore, it's no wonder that families in New York City are drawn to this personalized educational experience. To learn more about Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg, or to book a tour, visit the school’s webpage.