About Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Ctr.
Ralph J. Bunche Early Childhood Center, also known as Bunche Montessori, is named for 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph J. Bunche. Bunche was a lifelong educator and civil rights activist. He taught at Howard University and Harvard University and served as a member of the New York City Board of Education and the Board of Overseers for Harvard University, among other positions. As a civil rights activist he worked with President Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., NAACP and the Urban League. From 1947 to 1949, Bunche worked first as an assistant and then as special secretary to the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine to deal with the confrontation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. He eventually served as the chief negotiator in reaching an armistice between Israel and the Arab States.
Bunche School was built as an elementary school in 1972. In 1991, the school became a magnet school offering a Montessori program for students ages three years old to fifth grade. In 2006, the school was changed to an early childhood center offering multi-age classrooms for 3- to 6-year-olds. The other grades moved to Towles Intermediate School. As a Montessori school, the curriculum follows the methods developed by Maria Montessori, who believed children must cultivate their own natural desire to learn to become truly educated individuals who are motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge. Classrooms are multi-age and look different than traditional classrooms. Materials are at the child’s level and offer a hands-on experience. Students are shown lessons and then work at their own pace. In 2003, Bunche was granted accreditation from the American Montessori Society, the only public Montessori school in the United States to receive such status.
As one of the district’s seven magnet schools, Bunche does not have a geographical area for its attendance. Students attending Bunche feed into Towles Intermediate School and New Tech Academy at Wayne High School. The school is located in the Board of School Trustees District 4.