Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Slopers, Others Upset About Montessori “Little Room” Closing

December 15th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Over the weekend, the Times ran a story about the likely closing of the Montessori School’s “Little Room” at Court and Bergen Streets. The highly-regarded facility serves children with special needs and “has become a nationally recognized program for 3- and 4-year-olds with speech and language delays across Brooklyn and Manhattan.” Someone forwarded us a couple of letters from our good friends at Park Slope Parents, who always encourage us in the strongest terms possible to spread news to the community at large, particularly by copying and pasting their thoughts. Here is letter number one:

I am also the parent of a Little Room child. This is an amazing program, that has been around for nearly 40 years. The changes that I have seen in my child and in other children there have been nothing short of miraculous. The teachers and therapists at this school are of the highest caliber, and are among the most kind, caring, dedicated people that I have ever known. For those who have tried to access special education services in Brooklyn and the New York City area, you may be aware of how hard it is to find services and how few services are available for our kids. Yet these early preschool years are so important in helping our children catch up developmentally, and can have a lifelong impact! This program provides evaluations and related services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling for many children throughout Brooklyn, not just for the preschoolers who attend the program. So the unnecessary closing of this program would affect many children in the New York area who need the help the most.

We realize as a community that this is a private school, and that they have the option to kick us out if they choose to. We are asking as a community that they at least give us some time, at least till the end of summer 2010, to make a transition, save the program, and find a new site or sponsoring agency. There is great interest in saving this program and other agencies that are interested, if they will just give us the time as opposed to simply destroying the program. Please, if you care about saving services for children, support the children of Brooklyn as Jody suggested, by sending an email to: Chair of the Board of Trustees Helene Banks (hbanks AT cahill DOT com); Head of Brooklyn Heights Montessori Dane Peters; dpeters AT bhmsny DOT org. Also please feel free to pass this information on widely, and to other Brooklyn parent lists if you are on them. Thanks so much for your help and support.

…The Little Room is part of Brooklyn Heights Montessori school and is one of the best
preschool programs in the country for children with special needs. My nephew Sam has attended The Little Room for the past year and a half. While he will phase out of it at the end of the school year, I still feel it is important to help Brooklyn Heights Montessori see the value and need for this program.

The care and attention that Sam has received while a student of The Little Room has been exceptional and the strides he has made with their help, life-changing. Few programs like this exist in our communities and they are vitally important to the families that use them.

Brooklyn Heights Montessori included no families from The Little Room in their taskforce to explore the program’s future. The families of students have been mobilizing to work with the school to implement an approach that will keep the program running but the school has yet to decide if they will indeed keep The Little Room open.

Please, if you feel strongly about this, if you support local families with children with special needs and certainly if you are a Brooklyn Heights Montessori family that sees the value of keeping this program
part of your school, contact the school and let them know. The Board of Trustees is meeting this Tuesday, December 16th to vote on the future of The Little Room.

The letter includes the same addresses that were before the jump for letters of suuport for the school.

Tags: Education

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Dec 15, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    This is a tragedy in the making. The Little Room is a fantastic place…I say this as an early childhood educator who’s kids went to Montessori School long ago. Shame on the new school administration for EVEN THINKING! of closing down the Little Room!

  • 2 Little Room Blog Links « Save The Little Room // Dec 17, 2008 at 1:22 am

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  • 3 Anonymous // Jun 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    The Little Room should be saved and remain in the BHMS at all costs! Money should NOT be an issue when it’s a question of educating children who are most in need of early intervention. Little Room is making a difference in the lives of children and their families!