Lower East Side Montessori Hopes For Fresh Start
There’s a new daycare center and preschool at 99 Suffolk Street. The staff of Lower East Side Montessori is busily coordinating admissions, making introductions in the community and putting the finishing touches on a remodeled space in the ground floor of a residential building just above Delancey Street. But this school is also dealing with another task: assuring parents that it has nothing to do with a tainted predecessor.
In response to a recent email, we stopped by Lower East Side Montessori last week to speak with operators Sylvia Sadlak and Andrew Kasim. The school is an extension of Riverdale Montessori, which has been in business in the Bronx for nearly 20 years. Sadlak and Kasim, whose mom runs the original Riverdale location, emphasized that they have no connection to Love a Lot Preschool, which closed under a cloud last fall.
As previously reported, Love a Lot faced serious financial problems and was under scrutiny from regulatory agencies for a variety of shortcomings. Parents, employees contractors complained that the preschool’s owner, Olga, Bosio, owed them thousands of dollars. The Local East Village reported that a Department of Labor investigation is still being conducted.
Sadlak said the original plan had been to open a school in Williamsburg but they fell in love with the Suffolk Street location because it includes a secure backyard. She and Kasim had no idea they had taken over a space with a checkered past until they had already finished extensive renovations on the facility.
Now they’ve posted signs outside the school and on their web site underscoring that LES Montessori has no affiliation with Bosio. They held an open house for parents recently, obtained the proper health permits and are awaiting Montessori certification. They’re also reaching out to community groups and putting the word out that they’d like to feature local artists on the school’s walls. Lower East Side Montessori offers an infant/toddler program and has room for 28 preschool students in the fall. They’re also gearing up for a summer session. A 20% discount is being offered to parents who sign their kids up for the fall.
Sadlak and Kasim are not alone in their predicament. The Local profiled the new owner of First Steps, another preschool being operated out of a second former Love a Lot location on Clinton Street. Director Luz Wetstone said, “The Labor Department came by and we had to show them our tax ID and show them that we have no affiliation with Love A Lot. We didn’t just change the name. We’re really a legit business.”
As for LES Montessori, Sadlak said they are committed to doing whatever is necessary to show parents that the new school offers a positive learning environment. “We’re excited to be part of the community,” she said.
If you would like more information about Lower East Side Montessori, visit their web site.