Mission and Philosophy


Barrow Street Nursery School builds the foundation for life-long enjoyment of learning, appreciation for the arts, and care for the community and environment. Our progressive approach is centered on collaboratively designed learning experiences.

Children play an active role in co-constructing an emergent curriculum that nurtures their growing sense of identity, agency, and belonging.

Teachers engage in ongoing observation, reflection and critical thinking to bring breadth and depth to learning experiences.

Family partnerships are encouraged through meaningful dialogue, authentic interaction and mutual support.

Our community draws strength from the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of our joyful children, dedicated teachers and engaged families.


We believe that children learn best in an environment that is filled with opportunities to explore their world and to build on their previous experiences. Early childhood teachers at Barrow Street understand that play is the work of children. We believe that it is the basis for developing meaningful social interactions, creative problem solving skills and a wide range of communication and physical abilities. Our teachers value the diverse backgrounds of their students and provide opportunities within the curriculum for the expression and the sharing of family traditions and culture. Regular communication, community events and parent participation cultivate strong relationships among our families and staff.

School Approach

Overall, we believe in a constructivist, progressive, developmental approach to teaching young children that is active and experiential. Using prior experiences, students connect current explorations and gain new knowledge. The principles of respect, responsibility and community are incorporated through exploration and self-discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children. As they begin to think critically about their own explorations, this approach encourages children to cultivate their own understanding as learners.

Our curriculum is child-centered and focuses on social interaction. Pre-Academic areas are introduced through large and small group activities based on children's interests and during "work time". Those children who demonstrate readiness are encouraged to pursue learning activities through their 'work'. Teachers plan, question and process with children in developing a personalized education program appropriate for the child's developmental level.

Our approach is rooted in two educational approaches:                                                                                                                                                                  

The Bank Street, or the developmental-interaction, approach believes that children want to understand the world and how it works. Developmental refers to how teachers consider each child’s development and growth in the classroom. They respond to where that child is intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. Interaction refers to the point where emotions, intellectual development and relationships with other children, teachers, materials and ideas intersect for a specific child.

Reggio Emilia is a small town in northern Italy. Central to the Reggio approach is that children are seen as competent. Therefore in the classroom their ideas and questions are used as a basis for curriculum design. The environment of the school and classroom also plays an important role as children learn from who and what is around them. Observation, documentation and reflection plays a large role in the process of work that occurs. The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based on the principles of respect, responsibility and community. We incorporate these principles into the classroom through exploration and self-discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children.


Barrow Street was founded more than 30 years ago to provide the families of Greenwich Village with a private nursery school. Since it first opened its doors, the school has been housed at 27 Barrow Street. In 2006, Greenwich House assumed the operation of the school. 

Greenwich House has a long and rich history of Early Childhood education. Thanks to a gift from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1917, Greenwich House was able to design and build its current federalist building at 27 Barrow Street. The new building, complete with gym, running track, theater and rooftop playground provided Greenwich House the space to establish new programs like a nursery school (1921), children's theater program and an after-school program for children (1942). These programs were firsts in settlement history and novel ideas at the time. 

Today, Barrow Street Nursery School is one of the art, education and social service programs under the umbrella of Greenwich House.



Barrow Street Nursery School is committed to creating a community that is racially, ethnically, religiously and economically diverse. Barrow Street admits families of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin. It does not unfairly discriminate in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies or any other school-administered programs.

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Barrow Street Nursery School
27 Barrow Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 633-1203



About Greenwich House

Greenwich House is a registered 501 c(3) organization and a member of the United Neighborhood Houses of New York. If you are interested in learning more about the network of settlement houses and the work they do, click here

Greenwich House is proud to be a Better Business Bureau accredited charity.

Greenwich House is proud to be a Gold-level GuideStar Exchange participant, demonstrating our commitment to transparency.

Greenwich House is a proud member of FPWA. 

Greenwich House is a proud member of Behavioral Health Agencies.  

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Greenwich House
27 Barrow Street
New York, NY 10014