The Albrook School
It all started with a vision.
Anita Albers was a young girl who grew up in Germany during WWII. She dreamed of becoming a Kindergarten teacher and put herself through school to make that dream come true. She hoped to educate the whole child, especially with education for peace. Anita believed wholeheartedly in Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy and the idea that “Education is the best weapon for peace.” Fate landed Ms. Albers in NJ, and years later she was able to make her vision a reality.
The Albrook School was founded in 1979 by Anita Albers and Carol Brooks in a small space rented at St. Mark’s Church in Basking Ridge. Their new Montessori non-profit school, headed by Anita as Director, and Carol, as Administrator, opened its doors in September 1979. The demand quickly grew as word spread about the school, and Albrook needed a new home to accommodate the demand. Just four years later, Albrook moved to an available space in Cedar Hill public school. Cedar Hill was not an ideal Montessori environment nor a long-term home. The township population was expanding, and more public schools were needed.
Albrook purchased a large house on three and a half acres of land adjacent to a horse farm. Many obstacles were overcome due to Anita Albers’ strong determination and impressive drive to provide a desirable home for Albrook, and she made this dream a reality. Albrook was able to purchase a home to design and facilitate a beautiful learning environment. The current campus on Somerville Road opened in February of 1988.
With the “new” house purchase, the school was complete with an in-ground metal swimming pool. This inspired the Albrook summer program, offering much-loved swim lessons. The demand for summer camp grew. Albrook then added a new water confidence pool to accommodate younger swimmers.
The school acquired three more acres from an adjacent property in 1993 and converted the existing house on the property into a home for four more preschool classes. On our 20th anniversary, a new elementary wing was added and completed our campus with a multi-purpose room, kitchen, and computer lab.
In March 1994, Anita Albers was recognized with the honor of Somerset County’s Business Woman of the Year. In 2007, Albrook was a host school for the American Montessori Society’s hundredth-anniversary conference in New York. Albrook’s doors opened as a model school to over 100 teachers from all over the world. We were delighted to host a tour and a luncheon in our facility, where our elementary students served our guests and entertained them with excerpts from the elementary play.
Over the years, we have enhanced our curriculum by adding Spanish, Art, STEAM, and Physical Education instruction. Our computer teacher is an integral part of our continuously updated STEAM curriculum. Chromebooks were provided, and both the elementary and kindergarten students use the Google Classroom platform daily. In 2003, The Albrook School was accredited by the American Montessori Society and the Middle States Schools and Colleges and secured reaccreditation in 2013 and June 2022.
Our school’s benevolent spirit has been a work in progress through the years. We are constantly striving to do more each year to serve our fellow global citizens. The Albrook School strives to positively impact our students, classrooms, and local community, and the world. Our peace curriculum was broadened to include anti-bias and social and emotional learning. True to our mission statement, we learn to love the world.
In 2005, we hosted our first International Day, honoring the 25th Anniversary of The Albrook School. In 2014, Albrook became an International Peace site through Peaceful Schools International, and a peace pole was installed to commemorate this occasion. The beauty of our Peace Curriculum and International Day is in the celebration of our similarities, differences and interconnectedness.
From its humble beginnings in a church basement to its current expansive facility on 6.5 acres, Albrook has proudly served the surrounding community for over 40 years. The school has evolved and grown to serve the community’s needs and students aged two through sixth grade. Extended hours and an expanded school-year calendar are now available to meet the needs of today’s parents. The heart of the school remains the same: a warm and devoted staff with much longevity and passion to the Montessori philosophy and, indeed, Ms. Albers’ dream.
Ms. Albers retired in June of 2014 and resides in a home on the Albrook property. She continues to inspire us and makes frequent visits to the campus. Ms. Albers loves to hear the children’s laughter on the playground, a beautiful reminder each day that her vision is still flourishing.