The brother-sister team that runs the Montessori school in Flatiron is adding a downtown campus
Angela Ciocca is committed to the Montessori philosophy of approaching education. She worked as a Montessori student teacher, earned her International Montessori Degree at an 18-month program in Perugia, Italy, and taught at different Montessori schools until opening her own, La Prima Casa in Miami.
Now, Ciocca and her brother, Marco, are moving to expand the Montessori footprint in Manhattan, opening a school in SoHo this fall, to add to their existing school in the Flatiron.
The new SoHo location is much bigger than the Flatiron space, and will include an outdoor play area and three floors of classrooms. It will have the same natural aesthetic, framed with large windows and wooden furniture. Since there is no outdoor area at the Flatiron location, students take daily trips to Madison Square Park.
With the additional space that the SoHo school is providing, the Cioccas plan on expanding the existing space at Flatiron. They will add a spiral staircase to increase the space to two floors, allowing the enrollment to grow from 60 students to 180. With the addition of the SoHo school, they hope to bring their total enrollment to around 365 students in New York City.
The head of the new school, Nick Combemale, has already been approached by parents who hope to enroll their toddlers in the new SoHo location. "Nick and Siri (Panday, assistant head of school) have already interviewed over 200 families this admissions season for the two campuses," Marco Ciacco explained.
While staffing their new school, they are looking for teachers across the country that have finished their Association Montessori International training. AMI teachers are referred to as guides, since the style of teaching allows students to develop at their own pace. "We have the highest level of expectation from our guides, but we also are here to support each other," explained Panday.
"Entertainment is like cotton candy for the brain," she said. "Our goal is to stretch the child's ability one attainable step at a time."