"The teachers and parents at NSN are genuinely dedicated to the school’s philosophy of nurturing our children within a safe, enriching, age-appropriate learning environment. The teachers are brilliant at creating that setting at school; we (parents) strive to create it outside the class. And so the philosophy is reflected in the culture of the school: working relationships and long-term friendships based on mutual respect, cooperation, the shared experiences of parenting, and making work fun."
Elizabeth C. 

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Our Philosophy

At Nursery School of the Nyacks, we are committed to preserving the magic of childhood by allowing the children's natural sense of wonder to nurture them and their interest in the world around them.

In our classrooms, the children are taught how to think, not what to think.  The role of the teacher is one of facilitator or guide who brings expertise and knowledge of child development into the classroom.

Social development is central to the NSN philosophy. The school partners with parents to support each child's unique development. Nursery school is often a child's first link to a larger community. Experienced and sensitive teachers create a safe haven at NSN for children to take both small and large steps. Children are assisted in negotiating play with others, taking turns, listening, and honoring their classmates' need for individual exploration. They receive focused support and guidance on specific social issues such as separation and conflict resolution. Sharing experiences and feelings is an integral part of the curriculum.

Children's ideas and interests are often used as a springboard for activities in the classroom. NSN provides developmentally appropriate programs for pre-schoolers.

Learning by Doing

Young children learn through direct experience and need to be allowed actively to explore and manipulate materials in their environment.  The materials in our classroom are carefully selected based on the learning opportunities they provide, and constitute a group of Activity Centers.  These centers are arranged to encourage free exploration and a clear view of all that is available in the classroom, so that the child has the opportunity to make choices and participate in independent learning. (Read more about the Activity Centers.)

Children have their own preferred modes of learning.  Some children respond best to visual cues, others to tactile experiences.  We respect and teach to each child's strengths while providing the chance to experience the world in multiple ways.

Free play, the core of our program, offers children freedom of choice and control over their activities.  These experiences enhance self-esteem and children's growing need to become independent learners.  Experiential learning helps children recognize and articulate both what they know and how they feel.

In addition to free play, our curriculum includes various activities -- such as circle time, reading time, and special activities -- which add structure to the day and provide a more guided learning experience. (Read more about the activities.)

An Emergent Curriculum

Our program values the whole child by using a curriculum that is emergent rather than pre-established.  Through constant interaction the teachers help each child meet her potential and grow socially, emotionally, physically, linguistically, and intellectually.

Letting Children Be Children

We fully understand that in a competitive world, parents want the best educational start for their children. At NSN, we take the approach that academic excellence comes from a love of learning and a strong desire to explore the world and its mysteries.  If children have the tools they need to think independently and feel welcomed in a school environment, they can truly master any lesson.

Letting children be children is the most precious gift we can give to the young child.