The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Flatiron Montessori Preschool to Open in Fall with Grassy Indoor Playspace

 Flatiron Montessori will open for classes for the first time on September 16.
Flatiron Montessori
View Full Caption

FLATIRON — A new Montessori preschool is opening in September, complete with a grassy indoor play space.

Flatiron Montessori, at 5 W. 22nd St., will feature six classrooms opening out onto a sunlit courtyard with faux grass and trees for children's indoor play, beneath a skylight.

“I’ve been looking for space in this neighborhood for the past four to five years now,” said Marco Ciocca, the school’s founder and chairman. “I noticed there’s a need for preschools in the middle part of the island. The neighborhood has changed a lot and there are a lot of young families here now.”

Construction is expected to be completed in August, and the school will open its doors to students by Sept. 16, said Nicholas Combemale, head of school.

Flatiron Montessori currently has room for 100 students, but it’s planning to expand with 70 more seats on the lower garden level by summer 2014, Combemale said.

Classes are available for 2-year-olds and for 3- to 5-year-olds, with two teachers per classroom.

Each of the rooms offers learning stations, including a language center for reading and writing, a section for kids to explore their five senses, a math area and a spot for kids to practice their motor skills.

“The child is able to choose their lesson, get engaged in a subject matter and spend as much time as they need to on a particular subject,” said Ciocca, 34.

The school is considering offering a foreign language and will also have a library.

“The teachers are trained to observe the natural development of the children,” said Ciocca. “That’s the beauty of [Montessori]. It’s the education of the whole child.”

The Flatiron Montessori was founded by  Ciocca and his sister Angela, who originally started two Montessori Schools called La Prima Casa in Miami about 15 years ago that quickly grew to serve hundreds of students.

After seeing the schools’ success, the pair decided to open a similar school in New York City.

“I’ve always been drawn to New York City," Ciocca said. "I wanted to spread the [Montessori] culture."

The Montessori method — based on the century-old educational approach of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori — focuses on providing students with enough independence to learn on their own, with infrequent interruptions between lessons, according to the school's website.

Tuition for 2-year-olds is $18,950 for a half day and $25,950 for a full day. Full-day tuition for 3-to-5-year-olds is $25,950.

The school is still accepting students for the fall. For more information or to register, visit www.themontessorischools.org.