Jean Piaget, educational psychologist, once said that, “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.”
Never have I experienced this philosophy more than when I met with Erin Kahy and Amnah Aboukamar-Johnson, the two heads of the Brunswick Center School.
Initially, I met with the two directors to learn more about the center and what it had to offer in terms of curriculum and instruction for their students, who range in age from infants to Kindergarten students. However, as I sat listening to them speak of the work of their teachers, I found myself engrossed in their educational philosophy and the ideals with which they are using to guide the Brunswick School.
The Brunswick School, located in Jersey City, believes in a holistic approach to learning in which student-driven instruction facilitates the growth of young learners for future academic success. It was clear from speaking with both Aboukamar-Johnson and Kahy that the administration, faculty and staff value learning that is authentic, purposeful and engaging to all students.
According to the school’s website, “Educators use a diverse approach to educate our youth that encompasses logical/abstract thinking, creative outlets to fasten fundamental ideas, hands-on, student driven exploration and teacher-guided large group and small group instruction to provide a comprehensive curriculum for lifelong learners. At The Brunswick School, we believe that each learner is unique and that each, individual, student has a different approach to learning.”
After meeting with both directors of the school, it was evident that the school’s philosophy and vision are in the hands of educational leaders who hold a core belief in these values. Ms. Kahy, who came to the Brunswick School in 2014 when it was initially established, brings with her a background in and love for performing arts. This passion helps her lead faculty and staff in creating a space where both teachers and students can utilize their creativity and imaginations.
Amnah Aboukamar-Johnson has 22 years of experience in early childhood education. She has been both a classroom teacher and educational leader. Having spent time teaching in the same environment in which she now leads allows her to draw on her experiences and perspectives from her time inside of the classroom.
In addition to Aboukamar-Johnson and Kahy having an enriched understanding of multiple styles of learning and developmentally appropriate curriculum, they also have established a mutual trust in their expert teachers.
“We have a strong teaching staff here at the Brunswick School and we try to provide them a space in which they can make the decisions that are best for the individual learners inside of their classrooms. While we have a guiding set of end- of-year learning objectives for each student, we do not wish to box in our teachers by having them stick to one prescribed curriculum. Our teachers are resourceful educators who have the ability to draw upon various methods in order to help students achieve the highest level of success through diverse learning experiences,” the two directors shared.
It was hard not to feel motivated and inspired by the student-focused leadership style of both Kahy and Aboukamar-Johnson. Their clear combination of knowledge of best teaching and learning practices coupled with their passion and love for the daily experience of childhood development set the tone for the wonderful learning and growing that is happening at the Brunswick School.
Ms. Kahy states that, “My philosophy on education has always been that nothing can be uniform when it comes to a child’s development and her approach and ability to understand new material. Every child learns in his own way and some children take longer than others, grasping concepts or aspects of concepts.”
The Brunswick School was a natural fit for Ms. Kahy as she saw her own visions of education mirrored in the school.
“TBS is completely aligned with my own views of appropriate educational modeling as we provide a 100% individualized approach to all aspects of learning: cognitive, emotional, social, physical and language development are all the areas where we concentrate on a child’s unique abilities and hone in on interests to help that child blossom into whomever he or she is going to be—no predispositions are ever part of the process. If a child wants to be a scientist when they grow up, wonderful! If another child wants to be a plumber, equally wonderful! It’s all about reaching each child’s own, personal potentials and goals and making him or her the very best version of themselves.”
Erin Kahy came to the Brunswick School in 2014 when it was initially established. Erin has been an educational director for over ten years and has a degree in Elementary Education and Creative writing. Erin is also a mom to a beautiful baby girl who attends the Brunswick School.
Amnah has been involved in Early Childhood for 22 years, and her educational background includes a degree in Early Childhood Development as well as being Preschool-3 certified by the State of NJ. Outside of the Brunswick School, Amnah enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.
The Brunswick School, a part of the Brunswick Center is located at 189 Brunswick St. in Jersey City, NJ. For more information you can visit https://thebrunswickschool.com or call 201-478-8886. The school regularly holds Open House events for prospective parents and students. You can follow them on Instagram @thebrunswickschooljc for up to date information.