Reggio Emilia Preschools for New York Kids

young girl sitting at desk

The Reggio Emilia education philosophy was developed after World War ll by psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the area of Reggio Emilia, Italy – the Northern Italian province from which the school takes its name.

This approach is. The learning environment is considered very important and parents, teachers, and children are considered to be equal shareholders in the learning initiative.

While each school may express their focus differently, in general here are five principles and concepts that experts contend are critical in the Reggio Emilia educational approach:

  1. Children are competent, curious, have great potential and are eager to relate with others and their environment.
  2. Emergent Curriculum: Curriculum is developed largely by the interest of the children, and from subjects known to interest children (ie: water play, dinosaurs) Teachers develop the curriculum based on what would be best for the class.
  3. 3. Learning is project-based and in-depth. Projects can last from one week to an entire school year. Teachers are partners in the learning process.
  4. 100 Languages of Children: New ideas and concepts are introduced in multiple formats such as print, art, drama, and puppetry so that all children have a chance to connect with the concepts being presented.
  5. Collaboration and cooperation are seen as necessary for a child’s cognitive development. Groups are encouraged to work together to problem solve. Each child’s voice is heard to create a balance between belonging to a group and a sense of self.

While no specific Reggio Emilia teacher certification exists, there are professional development initiatives offered in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

There is a wide variety of Reggio Emilia inspired schools in the New York area. Here is a comprehensive list to help you find the school that is right for you and your child.


All Souls School

1157 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y.
Style: Early Childhood Day School
Ages:  2 to 5 years
Schedules: A one day, one hour a week introduction program for parent and child is offered. Morning, afternoon and full day schedules as well as extended morning and Lunch Bunch programs available. June session also offered.
Tuition: See website for complete grid
Admission: Lottery process online starts in early September. If chosen by lottery families receive application form. See website for details.
Their Words: Their teaching philosophy is influenced by the Bank Street developmental-interaction and the Reggio Emilia approaches. “Overarching these ideas is the belief that children learn and gain self-confidence through experiences with each other, with teachers and with materials. We stress the importance of the life of the child within a group because we believe that society is continuously changing and children need the skills of living in a group to work well with others.”

Barrow Street Nursery School at Greenwich House

121 W 19th St., New York, NY
Style: Progressive-based Early Childhood Program
Ages: 19 months through 5 years
Schedules: Nursery and toddler programs, choose from 2, 3 or 5 days a week for morning, afternoon or full day programs.
Tuition: See website for complete details.
Admission: Online application for all programs, see website for forms and exact timing. Open house held each fall. Child visits and play observation must be scheduled.
Their Words: “Creativity and artistic expression are developed through individual exploration and group collaboration and provides children with the building blocks of knowledge, thinking and reasoning.”

Beginnings a Toddler Program

130 E. 16 St., New York, N.Y.
Style: Progressive Preschool
Ages: 18 months to 5 years
Schedules: 2 and 3 years, either a three or four days a week program; for 4s and 5s, a four or five days a week program.
Tuition: See the complete fee grid online.
Admission: Process: application, lottery, and family visit. All families accepted through the lottery are asked to a family visit.
Their Words: “Our school is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, and had the honor of hosting the 2015 Wonder of Learning Exhibit, the traveling exhibition of the infant-toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy for five months last year. Over eleven thousand visitors came to the exhibit and saw how the town of Reggio Emilia values the work of the child in its community. At Beginnings, we are passionate about these ideas and hope to make the voices of the youngest citizens of our city heard.”

Columbus Pre-School

606 Columbus Ave., New York, N.Y.
Style: Preschool
Ages: 2 to 5 years
Schedules: Two, three or five-day morning, afternoon or full-day options in a school year program with summer session available.
Tuition: See website for details.
Admission: Process begins the September before the school year. Apply online. School tours and child visit part of the process.
Their Words: “Columbus Pre-School is a learning environment that nurtures and respects the different gifts and variety in learning styles that each child brings to the classroom community. Our philosophy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education, where teachers respect each child individually and help them be the authors of their own learning.”

Family Annex Nursery School

560 W 113 St., New York, N.Y.
Style: Parent Cooperative. Independent, not-for-profit, nonsectarian
Ages: Toddlers, ages 1.7 to 2.7; Nursery ages 2.8 to 3; Pre-K ages 3.9 to 5.
Schedules: September through July. Children can be enrolled for two to five days a week in the morning, or for a full day or with extended hours available.
Tuition: See website for specifics, they vary by age and program selected.
Admission: More than one year in advance and after Labor Day. See their website for application form.
Their Words: “This wonderful philosophy encourages creative thinking for children and encourages teachers and children to be researchers. The curriculum is layered with multiple projects based on the children’s interests and natural curiosity. We have a very active parent body and many functions throughout the year that bring us together as a learning community.”

Manhattan Schoolhouse

1624 1st Ave., New York N.Y. (Daycare)
1616 1st Ave, New York, N.Y. (Preschool)
1456 1st Ave., New York, N.Y. (Daycare & Preschool)
507 W 28th St. New York, NY (Daycare & Preschool)
212-772-2066; 212-879-4400; 212-879-3495
Style: Licensed Daycare (3-36 months), Preschool (age 3) and Universal Pre-K (age 4)
Ages: 3 months to 5 years
SchedulesPart-time, full-time, and extended day programs. Summer camp is available.
Tuition: Call for details.
Admission: Fill out the online pre-application and submit a non-refundable $100 fee to get onto the waitlist.
Their Words: “Manhattan Schoolhouse preschool and daycare warmly welcomes families to a school where every child’s intellectual, emotional, social and moral potential is thoughtfully cultivated in an environment of trust and partnership between parents, educators, children and community.”

My Little Village

383 Grand St., New York, N.Y.
Style: Progressive Preschool
Ages: 2 to 5 years
Schedules: Flexible full-time, part-time, morning and evening extended hours on a school year schedule for 2, 3 or 5 days a week. Holiday Camps, Summer Camp and Enrichment programs, including Mommy & Me classes, also available.
Tuition: See website for complete pricing grid.
Admission: Application/Registration link goes up in December on a first come, first serve basis. Open house, school tour and open play visits available. See website for forms and exact process.
Their Words: “We draw upon many different philosophies, but are particularly influenced by Reggio Emilia and Forest Kindergartens of Europe. We begin with an appreciation for the child, their individuality and unique abilities. Our children are encouraged to learn through play as they explore their relationship to their environment, parents, teachers, and other children.”

Preschool of the Arts @Chelsea

121 W 19th St., New York, N.Y.
Four other locations in downtown Manhattan
Style: Private Boutique Preschool
Ages: From 17 months to 5 years
Schedules: Half-day and full-day school year program with summer session offered. Mommy and me drop-in classes start at 6 weeks to 2 1/2 years (formal admission not required).
Tuition: See website for details. This is also a cooperative fee of $1,800 per family, which includes two tickets to the Annual Gala Dinner.
Admission: Submit an application found on the website, schedule a school tour and your child’s playdate. You can also sign up for an open house on the website.
Their Words:Our Chelsea location houses the main Preschool of The Arts campus. Indoor amenities include an indoor and outdoor gym, indoor garden and art space, state-of-the-art learning centers and the J. Klayberg Arts Gallery. Our Reggio-inspired curriculum encourages little minds towards mastery of life, cognitive, and social skills.“

TriBeCA Community School

22 Ericsson Place, New York, N.Y.
Style: Preschool
Ages: 2 to 5
Schedules: Morning and afternoon half-day school year programs (2,3, 4, or 5 days a week) with a flexible summer session available.
Tuition: See website for specifics.
Admission: One year in advance. See website for application form, school tour, and information session schedules.
Their Words:  “We are proud to offer quality care and education in a carefully designed environment to support relationships among children, parents, and educators. Together we question, investigate, negotiate, and learn. We see ourselves as teachers, caregivers and, above all, partners dedicated to working with families and helping children realize their fullest potential.”


Brooklyn Free Space

298 6th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Independent Cooperative Preschool
Ages: 2.4 to 4.8 years
Schedules: Half day for youngest students (space limited). Others enroll for a full day, five days a week program. Extended day and summer camp options available.
Tuition: See website for complete information.
Admission: Open house held in December for the following year. Sign up for a school tour and see the application form on their website.
Their Words: “Brooklyn Free Space is a place where children grow and develop with the nurturing guidance of our dedicated and experienced administration and full-time teaching staff. As a cooperative, we are a community-based organization in every aspect of our operation, as well as our philosophy. Our school is run by a combination of committed member families, professional teachers, and administrators who work together to create a warm, diverse and responsive environment for our children.”

Brooklyn Schoolhouse

156 Gates Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Independent Preschool
Ages: 18 months to 5 years
Schedules: Three to five days a week, half and full days available. Programs: 2s and 3s, Multiage Pre-K class, Nature School and Together Time (a caregiver and child one day a week program). Summer program available.
Tuition: Find tuition information under “Programs” tab on their website
Admission: Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Register for an adult only tour. Then make an application online.
Their Words: “At Brooklyn Schoolhouse we believe in inquiry-based learning. In this style of learning, each curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and questions. Teachers listen closely and carefully to children and start to formulate questions about what children’s high-interest areas might be. Teachers respond to children’s interests by providing classroom possibilities for the emergent curriculum to develop over time. The children learn how to collaborate, build knowledge, and remain invested in the learning process.”

The Co-op School >> Joyful Le

87 Irving Place, Brooklyn, N.Y.  
Style: A Progressive, Constructionist Preschool
Ages: 2 to 4 years
Schedules: Full-day two, three, four or five days a week. Extended morning and afternoon hours are available.
Tuition: See website for complete details.
Admission: Schedule a tour online before applying, then make online application and a child classroom visit.
Their Words: “An integral part of our curriculum is our inquiry-based projects, influenced by the Reggio Emilia model, as they encourage questioning, exploration, and critical thinking. The term “Project” refers to an in-depth look into a particular topic, usually undertaken by a class working on subtopics in small or whole groups, occasionally even individually. This approach to learning emphasizes children’s active participation in the planning, development, and assessment of their own learning.”

Prospect Kids Academy

341 Prospect Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Director/Teacher-Owned Preschool
Ages: 2 to 5 years
Schedules:  Two, three or five days in morning, afternoon or full-day programs. Summer Camp available.
Tuition: See website for complete information.
Admission: Fill out a registration form online to receive an application form and schedule a tour.
Their Words: “Each child is part of a relationship with other children, the teachers, and the environment. The environment is another teacher in the classroom and is key to our educational method, stimulating and inspiring the children. Students at PKA do not work alone. At the same time, each child learns at his or her own pace. Children are not urged to hurry nor necessarily complete a project. We wait for the next question and start the process again. As the year progresses, each child becomes the creator in his or her learning adventure.”

Smarter Toddler Nursery & Preschool

17 N 6th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.  
Style: Early Childhood Education and Day Care Center
Ages: 3 months to 5 years
Schedules: Full day, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. September to August.
Tuition: Call for information
Admission: Rolling admissions on a first come, first serve basis. Best to start the process one year in advance, a tour of the school is required. Schedule a tour online.
Their Words: “Inspired by the Reggio Emilia method, our teachers use a constructivist approach to teaching through creative and interactive learning opportunities that create an educational ecosystem. Our classrooms provide safe spaces for each child to taste and test the world around them in concert with their teachers and peers. It is our belief that this intellectual freedom unlocks the infinite potential that lies inside every child.”

Williamsburg Northside Lower School

152 N. 5th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Private Preschool
Ages: 2 and 3 years
Schedules: Two or five half-day programs or two, three or five full-day programs. Afterschool and extended care is also available.
Tuition: See website for complete information.
Admission: Submit online application followed by child visit and parent conversation.
Their Words: “All children are strong, capable individuals. We welcome families into beautiful and flexible environments where children engage in independent and collaborative investigations. Our teaching community builds a unique curriculum from the children’s interests, their experiences with one another and the world in which they live. We honor authentic expression and diversity as we cultivate compassionate citizens who find joy in learning.”

Willow Nest Studio

592 16th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Style: Alternative Preschool Program
Ages: 2.5 to 4.5 years
Schedules:  Three to four days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Early morning drop-off and late pick-up is available.
Tuition: See website for tuition grid.
Admission: Download application on their website a full school year in advance. Sign up to be notified of school tour dates.
Their Words: “We are influenced by the Reggio-Emilia approach, the play theories of Lev Vygotsky and many other leaders in the importance of play and the multi-modal arts in early-childhood development. These approaches aim to help children develop a sense of self and the executive functioning skills fundamental to becoming life-long learners.”


The Q Studio Lab Preschool

41-20 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside, N.Y.
Style: Preschool
Ages: 2 to 3 years
Schedules: Full-time or part-time options with early drop-off and extended day available.
Tuition: Call the school for more information.
Admission: Rolling admission basis. See online application and schedule a school tour.
Their Words: “Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, an emergent curriculum is developed by observing each child individually as well as children’s work in groups and developing activities and classroom areas based on the explorations, interests and developmental needs of each child and group of children.  We work to help children build strong relationships while expressing themselves and their ideas. Our belief is that children learn best through hands-on experiences where they can get their hands messy in the process.”