Downtown Preschool Guide in NYC: Find the Best Preschool for Your Kids

It’s that time of year where backpacks, fresh pencils, and color-coded folders are on our minds as we prepare the kids for a successful school year. If you are sending your kiddo off to their first year of school, there is a lot to consider such as the location and school curriculum. To make the process easier, we’ve rounded up a list of Downtown preschools so that you can find the perfect fit for your family. If preschools in Downtown Manhattan are not what you’re looking for, here are a few other options: Brooklyn Preschool Guide, Chelsea Preschool Guide, and Tribeca Preschool Guide.


Age 1-5
215 South End Avenue
Philosophy: Hands-on
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “Developmentally appropriate activities with a “hands-on” approach make school fun…We offer many choices within a structured day and help children acquire skills that enable them to deal with a variety of situations. By gathering information and ideas, we help them see relationships which will lead them to better understand their world.”
Noteworthy: “Combining movement, drama, and music, [a Creative Play] program provides a broad range of creative interactive experiences. Children use rhythm instruments, listen to music, sing songs, and dance…Children act out stories, explore motions, experiment with expressive body movement, play games, and learn body awareness.”


Ages 2-14
241 Water Street
Philosophy: Inquiry-based
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “We carefully observe and assess each child’s individual interests and needs, then use this information to guide our teaching. Because we know that learning comes most naturally when driven by children’s interests, we adapt instruction to the learning styles of each child, while mindful of our shared goals.”
Noteworthy: “We believe that creative expression is a basic human need. We are dedicated to connecting children with their ability to create and to express themselves. By helping them access their innate creativity and expression, we believe children will become intrinsically motivated to learn and more fully engaged in life.”


Ages 2-5
15 Dutch Street
Philosophy: Accommodating
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “At the Downtown Little School we offer a pre-school program for young children that emphasizes social and emotional growth, while giving careful attention to cognitive and physical development. We offer an individualized program that supports the strengths and responds to the needs of each child and family.”
Noteworthy: “At the Downtown Little School we promote a strong bridge between home and school, starting with a home visit for children new to the school. We provide a workshop series on topics including bedtimes, mealtimes, toilet training, and managing difficult behavior.”


Age 16 months-Grade 12
41 Broad Street
Philosophy: Inquiry-based
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “The Léman Manhattan Preparatory Lower School is a vibrant, creative and joyful place. With strong focuses on personalized learning and internationalism, our curriculum helps students develop critical thinking skills that prepare them for the global society.”
Noteworthy: “The PK3’s are engaged in Mandarin through stories, games, songs, and music. Total Physical Response (TPR) is used to reinforce meaning through body movements. Themes we cover include counting from 1-10, primary colors, animals, and body parts.” 


Age 2-5
2 South End Ave
25 Market Street
46 Market Street
Philosophy: Academic/Stem
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “Metrokids Preschool is a dynamic school in New York City. This preschool provides the highest quality preschool education with professional services for a warm, nurturing, and responsive environment.”
Noteworthy: “Strategy-based learning, scientific method, STEM, advanced language development and student-inspired thematic learning guide the development of our curriculum. Our programs are carefully researched and creatively implemented as we approach each day with a sense of imagination, wonder, innovation, and fun.”


Age 2-6
2 Gold Street
Philosophy: Montessori
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “Our beautiful, sun-filled classrooms and highly experienced Montessori-certified teachers, create a joyful, warm and nurturing environment where each child is specifically challenged to the highest level of his or her own unique abilities. MSM students enjoy an educational experience that enhances self-esteem and fosters an ever-increasing curiosity about the world, affording our graduates consistent acceptance to New York’s most competitive schools.”
Noteworthy: “In addition to our traditional Montessori curriculum, MSM students participate in Second Language, Performing Arts, Music, Yoga, and Visual Art Study programs. First-time visitors to MSM are impressed with the self-discipline, confidence, and academic talents of even our youngest children.”


Ages 2-5.5
146 Duane St.
Philosophy: Child-centered
Religious Affiliation: Jewish
In Their Own Words: “The Preschool provides children and their families the opportunity to explore their Jewish culture and offers the seeds for establishing Jewish identity which is defined differently for each of us. The program emphasizes a sensory approach to cultural Judaism and the Jewish holidays, as this is a wonderful way for children to appreciate their heritage and their community.”
Noteworthy: “The JCP Arts Appreciation Curriculum connects children’s natural curiosity to interactive experiences with professional artists. The curriculum provides guided inquiry and first-hand exposure to professional art and artists across varying media within the visual and performing arts. Children think critically, imagine, exercise curiosity, respect varying points of view, and find ways to express themselves and their ideas.”


Ages 2-5
275 Greenwich St.
Philosophy: Montessori
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “Mixed age groups of two through five-year-olds learn how to care, help, work, play and cooperate with each other. Children learn from one another as they interact in a school setting…The older children help the younger ones with various problems and activities which allows the younger children to become more independent and not to rely totally on adults.”
Noteworthy: “The children can participate in the various activity centers in their classes. For example, children can read in the library area, paint in the art area, build a beautiful structure of blocks, work with puzzles in the language arts area, observe and categorize shells in the science center or become firefighters or teachers in the dramatic play area.”


Ages 18 months (Preschool Prep)-3.5 years (Full-day)
77 Reade St. (East Campus Preschool)
104 Reade Street (West Campus Enrichment)
Philosophy: Academic
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “The Reade Street Prep curriculum centers around ten thematic units. Determined largely by teacher and parent input, each of these highly engaging topics is rife with content area knowledge. We weave academic, social-emotional, and behavioral benchmarks into the monthly themes, and in doing so, ensure that all students are making age- and language-appropriate progress in the areas of early literacy, mathematics, science, critical thinking, public speaking, socialization, conflict resolution, and more.”
Noteworthy: “Reade Street Prep is proud to offer all programs in English, Spanish immersion, and Mandarin immersion.”


Ages 2-5
55 Hudson St. (ages 3-5)
134 Duane St. (ages 2-4)
Philosophy: Eclectic
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “Our program blends the creative educational experience of an open classroom with the supportive guidance and structure of a challenging Montessori-based curriculum, timetable and drive to learn about life. It combines engaging materials and activities with the individual freedom, social experiences, and adult guidance necessary for each child to fulfill his/her own developmental needs.”
Noteworthy: “Children are encouraged to depict their understanding through one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play and writing. Documenting the children’s schoolwork is a significant aspect of this approach to learning. Through writing, photographs and video, teachers capture and interpret the different learning experiences in the classroom.”


Ages 2-5
22 Ericsson Place
124 Hudson St.
Philosophy: Reggio Emilia
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “Children are engaged in experiences that are tailored to their natural curiosity about the world using such tools as music, art, drama, science, and the surrounding neighborhood. Programs are designed to cultivate students’ cognitive, intellectual and social skills through long-term inquiries based on the children’s and teachers’ interests. These investigations emphasize collaboration, documentation of the children’s work, problem-solving, and the involvement of parents and the community.”
Noteworthy: “Through the use of painting, sculpting, music, science, storytelling, theatre, and other forms of self-expression, children are taught to give voice to their thoughts and ideas, as well as share their newfound discoveries and understandings.”


Ages 3 months-5.5 years
40 Worth Street
Philosophy: Emergent
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “The programs at Buckle My Shoe empower children to build self-esteem and confidence in their ongoing development.  We offer the structure which is fundamental for individual growth in an atmosphere where children never lose their thirst for learning, and in which their curiosity and accomplishments guide the curriculum through art, music, movement (dance, yoga and gym) literacy, math, science, and social studies.”
Noteworthy: “Programs include weekly specialists in French, Chinese, Music, Dance and Yoga. Chelsea Childhood Center for the Arts will offer early childhood parent/child classes in Creative Art, Cooking & Nutrition, Dance & Movement, Language, and Preschool/Separation Preparedness, plus parent workshops and forums, guided gallery tours and special events focusing on Art in Chelsea and Preschool Arts Programs.”


Ages 18 months-4 years
88 Leonard Street
393 South End Avenue
Philosophy: Progressive
Religious Affiliation: None
In Their Own Words: “To fulfill our mission of enriching the development of children, NY Preschool hosts a  curriculum that incorporates STEAM lessons which include stories, songs and art. This approach begets a developmentally appropriate, academically rigorous foundation that prepares your child for social and emotional success in future schooling. Our environment pairs a warm, nurturing classroom with purposeful play in our state-of-the-art gymnastics facility to offer a unique and progressive learning environment that sparks each student’s intellectual, physical and social growth.”
Noteworthy: “At the end of each school day, teachers make an announcement to provide families with the details of the day’s activities. In addition, teachers connect with each parent or caregiver individually at the end of each class to give an overview of the child’s day, provide details about exciting developments and achievements and discuss areas for improvement. Teachers are also available to parents and caregivers before class each day.”