At Barrow Street Nursery School, we 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.
We believe in a constructivist, progressive, developmental approach to teaching young children that is active and experiential. 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.
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 to education is rooted in the following philosophies:
- The Bank Street approach believes that children want to understand the world and how it works. Teachers respond to where each child is intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically, and frame their approach to that child’s development by where their emotions, intellectual development, and relationships with others in the classroom intersect.
- The Reggio-Emilia approach incorporates an emphasis on the learning environment, process versus product, developmentally appropriate practice, and community. Children’s natural curiosities, ideas and questions are used as a basis for curriculum design. Exploration and self-discovery are encouraged with 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.