Founded in 1972 as a nursery school, the Building Blocks Montessori School is located at 55 Forest Avenue on Staten Island and soon grew to elementary level. Lower School serves Preschool through Kindergarten and Upper School is for the educational needs of 1st through 5th graders. Lower School classes are flexible in their scheduling, with before school and after school programs.
Building Blocks is housed in a stately, brick building with beautiful, spacious, well-equipped grounds, and is adjacent to scenic Silver Lake Park. Building Blocks provides a secure, homelike atmosphere and a warm, nurturing environment in which all the needs of the child are met: intellectual, physical, emotional and social.
The Montessori educational method is used primarily in the school, utilizing multi-sensory materials that provide students with a planned sequence of developmental activities. Classrooms are centered on the children, with teachers acting only as a guide. There is a small pupil to teacher ratio with mainly individualized instruction. Children are encouraged to be and learn as individuals, setting their own pace, choosing their own work and learning at their own rate. Older children reinforce their own learning skills by helping younger children. Social development is critical as children interact with one another and are free to move about as they wish.
The Upper School provides a stimulating environment that builds on the foundation set in Lower School but with more emphasis on academics. Textbooks are used along with advanced Montessori and other materials. The children continue to advance at their own rate, with individualized goals and curriculum tailored to meet different learning styles and needs. It is a non-competitive and supportive environment. Small group meetings in all subjects are an integral part of Upper School for instruction and discussions.