Castle Island Bilingual Montessori school opens in Downtown | Downtown Albany

Castle Island Bilingual Montessori school opens in Downtown

Castle Island Bilingual Montessori school opens in Downtown


Official ribbon cutting held for innovative school at 602 Broadway

Castle Island Bilingual Montessori school celebrated the official grand opening ribbon cutting for its new downtown Albany location at 602 Broadway today, May 12, 2022. Joining Castle Island Founder and Director Diane Nickerson and Board of Trustees President Ed Nickerson were City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Office of the Albany County Executive Director of Policy and Research Michael McLaughlin, and Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeff Buell.

The move to the Downtown property offered the school updated facilities, the ability to open more programming to the community, and easy access to student recreation opportunities at Tricentennial Park and the newly opened Albany Skyway to the Hudson Riverfront where Castle Island derived its name. The building is owned by Redburn Development, and was rehabilitated with support from Empire State Development, with exterior renovations supported by Capitalize Albany’s City of Albany Small Business Façade Improvement Grant program. 

The ribbon cutting marks the opening of the first school of its kind in Downtown as residential occupancy continues to rise in the neighborhood. The 602 Broadway location is highlighted by the spectacular Capital Walls mural "Escape to Nature: Where Peace Awaits" by artist and educator Jade Warrick (also known as TrashKid Art). Castle Island instructs students who live steps away and those in neighboring communities, serving as an attraction for families to experience Downtown for the first time, or in a new way.

Established in 2012, Castle Island is an independent nonprofit metropolitan elementary school for children ages 3 to 12, offering an accessible world-class education nurturing every child's potential. Each student is fully immersed in both English and Spanish language learning in an environment designed to foster individual curiosity, collaboration, and innovation. The school celebrated its 10th anniversary with a move from its longtime midtown Albany location to a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Downtown.

The name of the school celebrates its location adjacent to the Hudson River, as well as the rich history of its community. In 1540, French fur traders built a stone chateau on a piece of land in the river. Castle Island was named for this original structure, known as one of the earliest European-built edifices in North America. After being reconnected to the mainland in 1932, the site is the present location of the Port of Albany. 

Established by Nobel Prize-nominated physician Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, the Montessori method's core principles emphasize effective learning as an independent practice and call for the development of the whole person as a means to uniquely prepare children for our fast-changing world. Inspired by these principles and passionate about creating a school environment with the highest quality of education, Castle Island Founder and Director Diane Nickerson utilized more than 25 years of educational experience - in a wide-ranging career that combines elementary education, English as a Second Language and Spanish, K-12 administration, and Montessori school management - to develop the school and its curriculum. ‚Äč

While raising her four sons to be bilingual, Nickerson had been seeking a school for them that would not only meet their language goals, but also provide creative opportunities for their inquisitive minds and active bodies. After some research and travel, Diane found an ideal approach in the Montessori method that holistically meets the learning needs of each child. Wanting to create a school that merges optimal learning environments for both bilingual language immersion and Montessori, she founded Castle Island for the Capital Region community.

Castle Island BIlingual Montessori is currently accepting enrollment for 2022-2023. For more information, visit castleislandmontessori.org or call 518.533.9838.

Read the full press release here | Watch the ribbon cutting ceremony here