“It has been said that the environment should act as a kind of aquarium which reflect the ideas, ethics, attitudes and cultures of the people who live in it. This is what we are working toward,” observed Loris Malaguzzi on the learning environment.
Malaguzzi, who had studied psychology, was an elementary school teacher in the 1940s. He went on to collaborate with the city administration of Reggio Emilia, Italy, to open the first municipal preschools. He became a consultant to the Italian Ministry of Education, director of education journals and established the National Early Childhood Group in Reggio Emilia. Pioneering a revolutionary approach to education, he is often called the “father” of the Reggio Emilia philosophy.
Building on Malaguzzi’s focus on creating a positive learning space and belief that the classroom functions as “another teacher,” Reggio Emilia classrooms feature displays of our children’s work, group activity space and collections of well-organized supplies and objects students have discovered in their investigations of their world. Careful attention is paid to crafting a space that is bright, clean and welcoming, nurturing and motivating children.
With this, and the growth of our school community in mind, we embarked on a remarkable journey to construct our own new Lower School building. In November 2013 we saw demolition complete at 299 North 7th Street and the site prepared for new construction. By January we saw the steel for the second story go up and by February we were excited to see the steel reaching ever higher into the sky as the fifth floor was framed. By March we had reached the ninth floor!
That steel frame quickly transformed into an incredible school. By June the scaffolding was starting to come off. And we’ve been delighted to chronicle the journey from the beginning, sharing the adventure with our school community. Throughout this endeavor, we’ve received amazing support from our school families and neighbors here in Brooklyn.
Our inspiring teachers worked this August to get our new Lower School ready to welcome our children on the first day of school this year. Children have been guided through their new space and given time to explore, gaining confidence and feeling more comfortable.
We’ve had the pleasure of scheduling tours for parents in our community excited about their children graduating from our ITC (Infant & Toddler Center) and Preschool continuing with us throughout their Lower School years. We’re also scheduling tours for for local parents interested in learning more about our new facility and school community. We are honored that last week so many of our families, friends and neighbors joined us for the official ribbon cutting of the new building and took tours through the school to experience it for themselves.
We thank local leaders, including State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (District 50), Elaine Brodsky, Board Chair, Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce, and former Chancellor of NYC Schools Harold O. Levy, who is also our Chairman of the Board, MetSchools, LLC for joining us. We also welcomed members of the press, whom we thank for their coverage, such as News 12 Brooklyn and the Greenpoint Gazette.
This year we have a number of community events planned in our new Lower School building. Please stay tuned in our Facebook and Twitter communities and to our Calendar of Events. Thank you again to all of our Williamsburg Northside families and our neighbors here in Brooklyn for all of your support!