Programs and Tuition
Our preschool runs from 9am to 2pm, five days a week, and typically follows the New York City public schools calendar. We have a flexible schedule. Parents may choose from a variety of attendance options for their children, with the following general guidelines (tuition is indicated as current for the school year 2015-2016, is subject to change, and is reviewed annually):
Tues, Thurs: 9am - 12pm ($415/ month)
Tues, Thurs: 9am - 2pm ($475/ month)
Mon, Wed, Fri: 9am - 12pm ($528/ month)
Mon, Wed, Fri: 9am - 2pm ($796/ month)
When there has been sufficient interest, we have offered a summer program for our students. Parents can enroll their children separately for this program.
Parents drop off their children at 9, and the children immediately begin their school day with supervised free-play. Activities in the classroom include: arts, music, block building, dramatic play, cooking, sand and water play, puzzle making, game playing, free and structured physical activity, reading, and going on local field trips. After clean-up, we have circle time. A mid-morning snack ensures that everyone has energy for the second half of the morning, when we do an art project or music and movement. Twice a week, a musician comes to lead lively singing and dancing, and to teach about instruments, music, and movement. Then it's off to the playground for outdoor play until the children get picked up at noon. For the children in the extended 9-2 program, after the playground we return to the classroom for lunch and rest, followed by a fun group activity.
9:00 - 9:15 DROP OFF
9:00 - 10:00 Free-play Time
10:00 - 10:15 Clean-Up
10:15 - 10:30 Circle Time
10:30 - 10:45 Snack Time
10:45 - 11:30 Music/Dance
11:30 - 12:00 Outdoor Time
DISMISSAL MORNING GROUP
12:00 - 12:30 Lunch Time
12:30- 1:00 Rest with Music and Stories
1:00 - 1:45 Activity Time
1:45 - 2:00 Circle Time
We develop our curriculum to enable children to learn to communicate, cooperate, problem solve, respect, and celebrate differences. We want the children in our program to learn through discovery and exploration in order to build a life-long motivation to learn. At Downing Street Playgroup, preschool children are instilled with the sense of being important, competent, wonderful and loved human beings.
At our school, children learn to socialize with their peers, have fun, and express themselves through play, creativity and the arts. They are encouraged to voice their own feelings and opinions, as well as to respect the feelings and rights of others. As the children learn more self-help skills, their self-esteem and sense of personal responsibility grow. Sharing their own experiences and observations, as well as listening to those of others, helps children become active members of their school community.
We teach through a non-biased, experiential, developmentally appropriate, constructive and theme-based curriculum through which children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical needs are met. Themes might include music, family, pets, seasons, our neighborhood and the environment. Activities in the classroom include: arts, music, block building, dramatic play, cooking, sand and water play, puzzle making, game playing, free and structured physical activity, reading, and going on local field trips. We offer a language-based program that is intended to meet the needs of the individual child within the group context.
Parent participation is an integral part of our program. Our aim is to create a nurturing environment in which everyone supports and is supported by everyone else. We focus on learning as something to be enjoyed, valued, and shared.
We have two full time teachers as well as a rotating parent of the day. We have different programs, but there is a maximum of 15 children in the classroom at any given time.
Our head teacher, Nancy, is a warm and creative educator with a Master's degree and New York State certification in Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching in early childhood classrooms since 2007, and in addition has over six years' experience schooling young children in dance, including three years as Director of a dancing school. She is passionate about the lifelong benefits of play in the early childhood classroom and a teacher's role in providing rich opportunities in exploration and discovery. Nancy began teaching at Downing Street in 2009.
Our wonderful assistant teacher, Makkeda, has been teaching at Downing Street for over 10 years and has several more years of childcare experience. She collaborates with Nancy on classroom curriculum and activities. Makkeda brings some of her music and performing arts talents to the group by leading the children in song and movement daily.
We are a true cooperative, which means that parents have responsibilities in running the school and make a contractual commitment to fulfill those obligations. This cooperative structure has two important results: parents are deeply involved and empowered in their child's education, and our costs are very low allowing our tuition to be considerably below that of comparable programs.
One parent from every family must work in the classroom on average one day a month as parent-of-the-day (POD). The parent’s responsibilities on workdays at the playgroup are to bring fresh fruit for snack, assist in the classroom, help coordinate the mealtimes and outdoor play, and clean up after the day has ended. Parents will most likely be asked to help with an art project, which will be explained upon arrival. Parents are welcomed to arrange special activities with the children and encouraged to use classroom supplies. The teachers provide guidance, especially for new parents, to insure an enjoyable and productive experience for the children as well as the POD.
Involved parents insure that the school is run well. Parents’ responsibilities include: mandatory monthly meetings, work in the classroom as parent-of-the-day, set-up at the start of the school year, mid-year clean, and end of year put-away. Each parent will also have a particular co-op job, to manage the administrative and financial duties. These jobs include: chairperson, secretary, treasurer, registrar, web-master, and several others.
Joining our co-op is a binding commitment to fulfill your responsibilities. The parents in our school are part of this co-op because we feel that the rewards of involvement are well worth the investment of time and energy; we depend on one another's generosity and positive contributions to maintain the atmosphere that makes Downing Street such a unique and wonderful place.
School Placement of our Graduates
Graduates of Downing Street Playgroup go on to do well in both the public and private sectors, and are accepted to attend a wide range of schools downtown and beyond, including: PS3 and PS 41, Little Red Schoolhouse, Saint Luke’s, First Presbyterian, Grace Church and Corlears, among others.