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.

BATTERY PARK CITY DAY NURSERY

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.” bpcdaynursery.com

THE BLUE SCHOOL

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.” blueschool.org

THE DOWNTOWN LITTLE SCHOOL

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.” downtownlittleschool.com

LÉMAN MANHATTAN PREPARATORY SCHOOL

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.” lemanmanhattan.org 

METROKIDS PRESCHOOL

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.” metrokidspreschool.com

MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF MANHATTAN

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.” montessorimanhattan.com

JEWISH COMMUNITY PROJECT

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.” jcpdowntown.org

THE PARK PRESCHOOL

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.” theparkpreschool.org

READE STREET PREP

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.”
rsprep.com

THE WASHINGTON MARKET SCHOOL

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.” washingtonmarketschool.org

TRIBECA COMMUNITY SCHOOL

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.” tribecacommunityschool.com

BUCKLE MY SHOE NURSERY SCHOOL

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.” bucklemyshoe.org

NEW YORK PRESCHOOL

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.” nypre.com

 

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Sora Schools

<p dir="ltr">Sora Schools is the virtual, private middle and high school turning today’s students into tomorrow’s change-makers. Our approach is founded on inquiry-based and interdisciplinary learning. This gives students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills through engaging projects, based on real-world challenges and problems. Students choose from over 400 interest-based learning experiences like “Create Your Own Civilization!,” “Food Science,” “ToMAYto ToMAHto: Intro to Language in Society,” and “Making Your Own Cell: Principles of Cellular Biology,” just to name a few.</p> <div> </div> <div>Sora families have the flexibility to learn from practically anywhere and enjoy a dynamic community. Student-life experiences include clubs, meetings with their “house,” filled with students in their geographical region, daily checkpoints with academic advisors, and fun events. Learn more about Sora, the future of school, at <a href="http://www.soraschools.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.soraschools.com&source=gmail&ust=1708530686934000&usg=AOvVaw2Nnl67LTIwlviYDWPiPYgB">www.soraschools.com</a>.</div>

Dedimus Potestatem

<p>Dedimus Potestatem provides fun, engaging, academically challenging programs to students in primary, middle, and high school. Programs include Leadership, Debate, Model United Nations, Computer Programming, Financial Literacy, Filmmaking, Philosophy, Model Congress, Mock Trial, Etiquette, Bioethics, Stem and Bioethics, and more. We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions and after-school programs. Contact us to bring us to your school today!</p> <p>Sessions</p> <p>We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions as well as after-school programs. To register, visit <a href="https://www.potestatem.co/bookclassesnow" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.potestatem.co/bookclassesnow </a>or email us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]?subject=REGISTER" target="_blank" rel="noopener">[email protected]</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/leadership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Leadership: Middle School ages 10-13, High School ages 14-18</a></p> <p>This is a unique leadership course that gives students the skills they need to succeed in life. Using an activity-based syllabus centered around character traits most sought and admired in leaders (initiative, honesty, self-control, adaptability, empathy, persuasiveness, resourcefulness, diligence, tolerance, determination, generosity, punctuality, courage, reliability, endurance, deference, creativity and integrity) students learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life. These building blocks will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society. Our grading rubric was adapted with the permission of Neil Mercer, the Director of research and Head of Faculty at The University of Cambridge.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/little-leaders-prek-and-kindergarten" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Little Leaders: Primary School Ages 6-9</a></p> <p>Developed by former pre-school and elementary teachers, this ethics-centered program utilizes a play-based method to encourage students to explore and apply soft skills in their daily lives. While cultivating the skills they will need to build strong, successful relationships, they will learn how to find their voice and showcase themselves in the best way. Students will learn to communicate and negotiate so they can be better team leaders and team players. Students will learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life, such as bullying, cheating, conflicts between two or more parties, and more. The inculcation of these values in our children's formative years will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/beginnersdebate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech & Debate</a> (competitive and non-competitive programs available)</p> <p>This online after-school program prepares students for formal and informal presentations. Participants learn to craft and present arguments and inform, persuade, and motivate an audience in a variety of ways. According to the English Speaking Union, debate is a natural fit for students and compliments common core standards. Debate builds literacy and multi-media research skills, fosters critical thinking and expanded perspectives, enhances public speaking skills, increases confidence, trains students to listen effectively, supports diverse learners and strengthens civil engagement and discourse. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/model-un" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model United Nations (Ages 11-18)</a></p> <p>Model UN simulates the six major organs of the United Nations. Students role play as delegates from a country of their choosing and learn to write and present resolutions based on topics they are passionate about-just as if they were representing member states of the United Nations. We utilize materials from National Model UN and video tutorials to teach students how to write and present position papers, working papers, and draft resolutions. Students use debate and negotiation to enlist the support of other delegates for their resolution. Model UN is a great way to teach students leadership skills like communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and delegation.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/self-defense-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Self Defense and Empowerment</a></p> <p>Developed by a veteran Krav Maga specialist, this self-defense program will focus on the principle of healthy minds in healthy bodies. Students will focus on de-escalation techniques as well as safe and active means of self-defense. Through active games and fun drills, students will learn the disciplined focus, critical thinking, adaptability, and resilience necessary to achieve goals, as well as gain valuable social insights into leadership and teamwork. Students will expend energy and reduce stress while learning to stand and present confidently.</p> <p>Mock Trial (<a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/mock-trial-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fairy Tale Mock Trial for ages 7-9</a>, regular <a href="https://www.potestatem.co/mock-trial-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mock Trial Ages 10-18</a>)</p> <p>Mock trial is a hands-on simulation of the American judicial system. The goal is to help participants acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, display leadership in a court of law, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. Materials for this course are provided by The American Bar Association.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/model-congress" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model Congress: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This civics course simulates the legislative process. Students will learn about the electoral process, lobby for issues they are passionate about, draft and deliver bills, amend legislation, debate international policy, and learn how to effectively represent a constituent body of their choosing. We utilize materials from The Constitutional Rights Foundation, ICivics (founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and the National Model U.S. Congress. These resources have been proven to improve students’ civic knowledge, presentation, and core literacy skills. New research has also shown that the use of the aforementioned materials has also led to increased participation in the democratic process. Our objective in this course is to educate the next generation, nurture and inculcate a passion for civics and history and encourage young people to advocate for themselves.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/philosophy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Philosophy</a></p> <p>The focus of the Philosophy class is to examine and understand the ideas behind the most popular philosophies embraced throughout the world. To do this, students examine ethical situations through the lens of these philosophies and engage in a Socratic style debate. Students are presented with an ethical question and they must identify stakeholders and players within the dilemma, discuss the key moral issues and present opposing viewpoints. This class was built for students who wish to <a href="https://nhseb.unc.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">compete in the middle or high school Ethics Bowl</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/money-matters-financial-literacy-for-kids-afterschool">Money Matters: Financial Literacy for Students</a></p> <p>The Money Matters course is built to help students manage their personal finances, from building credit and loan applications to interest rates and investing strategies. This class will cover the basics of financial health, savings, spending habits, and budgeting. After learning how to store, track, and spend responsibly, students will learn about risk management, APRs, and tax preparation. This class will use real-life examples and teach students how to set and achieve financial goals. This course is ideal for middle and high school students.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/stem-dna-ethics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">STEM and Bioethics: (Ages 10-18)</a></p> <p>Our STEM program will give kids the opportunity to think critically about science and society, and to practice communicating scientific topics in ways everyone can understand. To be a successful scientist in our modern world, one must not only have a broad understanding of scientific material learned at school, but also the ability to communicate effectively and share that knowledge with others. Each week of this program will build on the previous while also introducing new scientific topics for discussion.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/virtual-after-school-etiquette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etiquette (Ages 5 and up)</a></p> <p>Due to increasing popular demand from groups and individuals, we have decided to offer our etiquette course as an eight week after-school class. Students will not only learn how to introduce themselves and their friends, they will explore appropriate language for quotidian and special occasions, how to enter and leave conversations, proper table behavior for different scenarios, effective strategies for conflict resolution and negotiation, the importance of tone, expression, and body language in every social interaction and why manners and soft skills are essential to a successful life.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/essay-writing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech and Essay Writing: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This group class includes eight one-hour online sessions focused on the creation, development, and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. This program is tailored to the needs of the individual(s) in question and can include essay writing, use of stylistic devices, and persuasive rhetoric and/or instructions on how to craft and deliver a persuasive or informative multidimensional presentation with compelling slides, audio, and videos.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/visual-storytelling" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Visual Storytelling</a></p> <p>Multimedia platforms have increasingly become more popular for educators, artists and businesses. Young people all over the world have begun using media to amplify initiatives, educate, share science, poetry, art, movement, culture and more. In this class students will learn to capture brief videos that share their voice and vision with the world.</p> <p>College application course </p> <p>Discover the fundamentals of style, narrative, and theme for the ideal college application essays! In these sessions, you will begin by examining outstanding Personal Statements and by brainstorming your own. Then, move on to draft and edit the specialized supplemental essays for each college on your list. Space is limited to ensure personalized attention.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/essay-writing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Academic writing</a> </p> <p>These are sessions focused on academic writing. Our tutors have years of experience in drafting, editing, and teaching essay writing. Each package will include a consultation with our tutors to assess individual needs. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/test-prep-sat-shsat-act-gre-gmat-asvab-tachs-more">Test Prep: SAT, SHSAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, ASVAB, TACHS + more</a></p> <p>These classes are focused on identifying the quickest and most efficient path toward improving students' standardized test scores. Starting with a diagnostic practice exam, this program will target the key subject matter your students need to master while integrating timing, triage, and practice strategies. We aim to regularly emulate the real-life conditions of tests until students are comfortable working quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Sessions can be one hour or two hours in length, as needed.</p> <p>Computer Programming: Coding for Kids</p> <p>In these sessions, we start by discussing the basics of computer programming, what it is, what it can do, and what it was built on. Then we will begin experimenting with block-based programming languages. Students will learn the basics of computer architecture, binary code, compilers, and algorithms. By the end of the course, students will be able to produce small programs of their own. The cost of materials is not included. This class is available to younger students (Ages K-1) and middle and high school students. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Montessori Day School of Brooklyn

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-alternates: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space-collapse: preserve;">Montessori Day School of Brooklyn is a</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-alternates: normal; font-variant-position: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space-collapse: preserve;"> warm and welcoming community serving children ages two to five. At MDS, they encourage every child’s natural curiosity and readiness to learn and create a nurturing and fun atmosphere that promotes independence and self-esteem, and creates life-long learners. They work to ensure that our school community is as richly diverse as the city we live in. Their tuition assistance program provides access to an MDS education for all children. Applications open up each year on September 1st. The deadline to apply for the next school year is December 31st. Please reach out with any questions about admissions for the coming school year.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="color: #500050; line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"> </p>