Guidepost Montessori at Columbus Square is a new Montessori community on the Upper West Side. At the heart of our school is our belief that children thrive when given freedom and responsibility in Montessori environments prepared especially for them. Our bright, beautiful classrooms and caring staff members will nurture your child’s joy for learning. Your child will love gardening in our engaging outdoor play space and our rooftop garden, which is filled with native plant species and designed to encourage your child to explore. We welcome your family!
Our beautiful campus and welcoming community is the perfect place for your child to explore her own potential.
Guidepost Montessori classrooms are light, airy, calming, aesthetically beautiful spaces. Each material is carefully chosen and carefully displayed — to inspire and entice your child to explore.
Children's House Classrooms
Becky Simkhai, Head of School
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from Yale University, Ms. Becky Simkhai worked as a landscape architect in New York City and Los Angeles. While designing school gardens, Ms. Simkhai became involved in the field of education and discovered her passion for working with children. She received her master’s in the science and technology of education with a NYS Certification in K-12 Visual Arts. Soon after, she discovered Montessori and became certified as a Children’s House Lead Guide. As a Head of School, Ms. Simkhai enjoys working closely with parents to facilitate their children’s learning and development, supporting staff members in achieving excellence in their professional pursuits, and being part of a team of like-minded individuals deeply committed to the Montessori method. In her spare time, Becky can be found in the kitchen or garden with one of her three children, practicing hot yoga or tending to her layer hens.
Nina Gardner, Administrative Director
Ms. Nina Gardner is currently studying to earn her bachelor’s degree in English and guidance counseling from the City College of New York. Ms. Gardner has long had a passion for working with young children. In fact, she served as the assistant director at Reach for the Stars, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting youth that Ms. Gardner had participated in herself when she was a high school student! At Reach for the Stars, Ms. Gardner sent hundreds of NYC students to four-year colleges and universities on full scholarships. Recently, Ms. Gardner developed an interest in language immersion. She explored that interest at HudsonWay Immersion School until moving to Guidepost, where she is thrilled to now work. In her leisure time, Ms. Gardner loves to travel the world, and she is also an avid pin collector.
Stephanie Jamison, Admissions Director
Ms. Stephanie L. Jamison earned her degree in general education and creative writing from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and is currently pursuing her master’s in apologetics at Liberty University. She previously served as a marketing director with the Chick-fil-A corporate team for several years and has over five years’ experience as an admissions counselor and career advisor in the higher education field. As the new Admissions Director of Guidepost Montessori in Manhattan, Ms. Jamison is excited to meet the current and potential families of Guidepost. She is deeply passionate about what the Montessori pedagogy cultivates in its students. Outside of work, Ms. Jamison enjoys Marvel movie nights with her 11-year-old daughter Faith, traveling abroad, writing poetry/spoken word, and cooking her favorite dishes for family and friends!
Chen Chen, Mandarin Lead Guide, Children's House
Chen Chen holds an M.A. degree in linguistics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She taught in international schools in Hong Kong for many years before she received her AMI Primary diploma from MISD in 2017. After completing her Montessori training, Chen Chen began working as the lead guide in a Montessori school located in Southern California.
Chen Chen joined the Higher Ground Education team in June 2018 and began working on the China teacher-training program, partnering with the trainers to tailor the content to China’s culture and teacher force. She found it deeply fulfilling to exchange ideas with pioneers of education in China. Chen Chen is excited to be at Guidepost, bringing her various skills and extensive knowledge to the classroom once again. In her leisure time, Chen Chen loves to read and travel.
Tianle He, Mandarin Lead Guide, Toddler
Tianli He holds master's degrees in both law and business from Halle University and New York University, respectively. Searching for the truth of life, she's studied in China, Germany, Japan, India, Thailand and the U.S., where she not only learned about different cultures, but about different self-realization methods. Tianli became a certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor in 2011. She discovered the Montessori philosophy during her study of mindfulness practices, and she strongly believes that the purpose of education is to awaken the child's hidden power. Passionate about educating parents, she has also given training in childbirth, prenatal and postpartum methods, in support of the physical and mental needs of early child-rearing. Tianli joined Guidepost Montessori to continue her mission of cultivating whole human beings and rich communities.
Cindy Kuo, Mandarin Lead Guide, Children's House
Ms. Cindy Kuo was born in Taiwan, where she attended a Montessori school as a child. She later moved to New York to attend Hunter College, from which she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in sociology. Ms. Kuo’s first job, post-graduation, was as a teacher’s assistant for children with autism. She found it fascinating to work with children and was amazed by how much she herself could learn simply from observing the development of her students. Ms. Kuo is especially intrigued by the Montessori method and the Montessori learning materials, and she is thrilled to be part of the Guidepost community.
Susan Zhou, Mandarin Lead Guide, Toddler
Susan Zhou has fifteen years of experience working with children, ten of which she spent in Montessori settings. She has worked as a lead teacher, teacher supervisor, and director of a school that taught kindergarten-age children. Susan holds her Montessori Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale in Hang Zhou, China. She is excited to partner with parents to help each child in her classroom grow, learn, and thrive both inside and outside of school. Susan is the mother of a wonderful one-year-old boy and enjoys listening to music, reading, and traveling in her leisure time.
Rose Zhang, Mandarin Guide, Toddler
Ms. Rose earned her master's degree in teaching Mandarin as a foreign language from New York University. She also holds two NYS teaching certifications in both TESOL and teaching Mandarin. Ms. Rose has taught students from kindergarten through high school in New York City. She adores the Montessori method and is very passionate about her work. She especially enjoys guiding young children to learn through inquiry, and delights in seeing her students ask and answer their own questions. In her spare time, Ms. Rose loves painting and studying the Japanese language.
Fei Yan, Montessori Together Guide
Ms. Fei Yan possesses eight years of experience working with children as a children’s voice instructor and Montessori Mandarin lead teacher. She is AMS-trained (3–6) and underwent fifteen years of professional voice training! Currently, Ms. Yan is working to earn her master’s degree in classical voice at the Manhattan School of Music. She adores working with children and greatly admires the respect, grace, and courtesy that the Montessori pedagogy fosters in its students. Outside of teaching and singing, Ms. Yan enjoys Zumba and traveling abroad.
Children are compelling in every way. They are fascinating, intriguing, charming, heartwarming creatures with infinite variation in personalities, tendencies, and interests.
The unique joy and sacred responsibility of a child's caretakers is to learn about her — to discover and fall in love with her as she grows, to let careful observation and observant care guide her development, and to get to know her well enough to help her shape herself. A child's teachers and parents are collaborators in this process that is at once scientific discovery and heartfelt nurturing.
To that end, our school is designed to further connect you with your child, to bring you into a community of valuable resources and education-minded people, and to make it as easy as possible for you to understand and support your child as she grows.
Insights into Your Child
The Montessori approach emphasizes careful, theory-informed, individualized observation of each child's development. We don't want to keep what we see to ourselves! The impact of these observations is greatest when shared with a child's parents.
At Guidepost, parents receive regular, detailed updates about their children. Classroom guides are available outside of class hours by phone, email, or for scheduled in-person meetings. Your child’s guide will also meet with you for regularly-scheduled conferences about your child's learning and growth.
We see these conversations, both periodic conferences and frequent exchanges, as critical for both giving and receiving information. They allow teachers to hear from the people most expert and most observant about a child: his parents.
Parents will also receive written progress reports two to three times per year, each a summary of a teacher's observations of the child over the course of the previous months. Meanwhile, day-to-day and week-to-week, parents receive regular updates from the teacher, in the form of photographs and written anecdotes about their child.
And finally, parents are able to directly access Transparent Classroom, the web-based system we use for careful record keeping and observations about your child. Transparent Classroom offers you an on-demand window into the lessons and classroom life of your child.
A great school offers the incredible resource of a trusted partner for parents in the education of their child. The simplest way to amplify that resource is to offer more of it: to offer it at flexible hours so that you can access a trusted, caring partner during days and times when you need us the most.
At Guidepost, we offer an extended school day program, where children thrive in the Montessori approach all day long. Early morning and late afternoon times offer children the downtime and free time they need in order to assimilate all that they have learned during the school day. Each child can find time to develop interests outside the classroom with expert guidance, and to explore an environment rich with opportunities.
To ensure that parents can rely upon a consistent social and recreational experience in a warm and expert school setting, our extended day schedule is offered inclusively with the cost of our programs: there is no extra charge for morning and afternoon extended day hours.
In addition, extracurricular programs are offered during the afternoon extended day, after class time is over. Parents and children can choose from a wide variety of optional activities designed to spark your child’s passion in some way.
Guidepost Montessori runs year-round. We know that we need to be available as a support for your family, so we minimize school closure days as much as we can. For enrolled families, a full calendar will be available on our Parent Portal.
Our typical school day runs from about 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, depending on the program. However, because we believe so strongly in supporting a partnership between home and school for families needing greater accessibility, our all-inclusive tuition price includes the option to utilize our extended day program. This means that your family can drop off as early as 7:00 AM and pick up as late as 6:00 PM.