A Child’s Place School is owned by Abe & Linda Littenberg and our director is Zach Klausz. Established in 1974, our school has a rich and interesting history which began with our founder, Alba DiBello. Please take time to read about the people who have been instrumental in making our school the special place it is today, and discover how our philosophy, programs and campus have developed over the years.
Founder: Alba DiBello
A Child’s Place was founded in 1974 by Alba Di Bello. She was motivated to open the school by her strong belief that children needed a special environment where they are nurtured and guided by informed and caring adults. A Child’s Place would be “a special place where children could grow and prosper” and become fully human persons. That original school motto was later expanded to include the word adults. A place where adults and children could grow and prosper. A place where children would be encouraged and challenged not only to think and do but to feel as well and to learn according to their own interests and timetable. No limits were placed on each child’s capacity to learn from the beauty and order of the world around them and to respond through their own unique expression.
The small school founded in 1974 was enlarged several times and new and unique programs were added as more space became available. In 1984, an All Day School program for four year olds that was never offered in the area before was introduced and ultimately expansion culminated in the building of a new wing in 1992 which housed a innovative Primary Class for 5,6 and 7 -year olds and provided for a school library and school assembly room.
Alba Di Bello continued to guide ACP after her ownership ended and was acting Director until 2008 working with her successor to insure a smooth transition into the next generation. Many of the innovative practices developed by Alba and her team over those 34 years have endured. To name but a few, the central role of creative open ended materials in providing learning opportunities was fully explored, as was project based learning for children of all the age groups. Students and teachers co constructed the curriculum resulting in unique learning experiences each year. Parent Roundtables, monthly night meetings that provided a forum for parents and teachers to learn from each other and the Death as Part of Life Curriculum© which provided children with opportunity for peer group exploration of understanding death and helped many families to understand how to engage children in conversations about death also continue.
Abe & Linda Littenberg
When Alba brought her work at ACP to a close, Abe and Linda Littenberg became owners of the school in 2007. They had contributed actively and enthusiastically to the life of the school both while their son, Matt, was a student at ACP and beyond. They strongly support and embrace the school’s original mission and devote generous amounts of time and effort promoting the growth and prosperity of the ACP community.
Under Abe and Linda’s ownership, Barbara Meinberg was appointed Director of the School. Committed to carrying on the legacy of A Child’s Place School, Barbara shared the same beliefs of how children learn best that have always guided the programs here. She became actively involved in strengthening our programs, conducting parent meetings, and training new teachers, in addition to working directly with the children. Barbara was a beloved leader and friend of the ACP community up until her death in January 2014.
Kathy Berkowitz was Director for four years (2014-18) and brought a great deal of professional development opportunities through her connections with NJEEEPRE and Kean University.
Cheryl Cuddihy was appointed Director in summer 2018. Her son Sean attended the school as a child and was a long time summer camp counselor. Cheryl worked closely with all three programs and strengthened the school’s documentation and marketing with her strong background in video production. Cheryl left ACP to complete her doctoral degree at Rutgers University.
Zach Klausz joined ACP in 2019. A product of private, progressive education himself, Zach went on to teach, first at the Horace Mann School then at his alma mater Chelsea Day School after obtaining his Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Zach was a Director at the Maumee Valley Country Day School and the Palm Valley School before returning to the East Coast. He and his family are so excited to be a part of A Child’s Place!
A word from our founder, Alba DiBello:
“The traditions and practices that we embraced over the years and that stood the test of time are still in place today even as the school continues to grow and change as it must. I wish everyone on board a wonderful new journey together, building on what we have already done and going on to endless possibilities. This is indeed a “special place for children and adults to grow in and prosper.” Alba DiBello, 2009