Philosophy


At Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, we believe children are born competent and curious, and that school is a place where children grow emotionally, socially and intellectually in a warm and supportive environment.
 
In planning our programs, teachers are guided by their knowledge of child development, which provides a strong foundation for an engaging and nurturing context in which children’s learning can be supported. At the core of our beliefs is the importance of play in supporting children’s healthy, overall development. It is through play that children learn to make sense and gain mastery of the world around them. Play provides opportunities for discovery and exploration and concrete hands-on experiences with engaging materials such as blocks, drawing materials, paint, collage, clay and sensory materials such as sand, water, and cooking projects, which are at the core of our curriculum.
 
The classroom is a place where children can explore and interact both with the environment of materials, and in relationship to others through active play and investigation. Classrooms are provisioned to allow children to make their own choices and explore activities at their own pace. A deep respect for children’s ideas and questions are at the heart of a child’s school experience.
 
What to look for in an Early-Childhood Program:
 
At RIDN, we understand that children learn by actively doing through play. Play provides opportunities for discovery and exploration, as children experiment and test new ideas and skills. They grow in competence and in the ability to apply their learning to new situations and learn to be creative and inventive problem solvers. Much of the current research on early learning shows that young children learn best through play-based educational experiences, and that early academic instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development. At RIDN, children are exposed to the foundations of pre-literacy, mathematical concepts, science and social studies through a developmentally-appropriate program that nurtures children’s ideas and innate creativity through hands-on learning experiences, not rote-learning.
 
When looking for an early childhood program for your child, here are some important things to consider:
 
Do teachers speak to parents and children in a respectful way? Do teachers make an effort to speak to children at eye level when possible?
 
Is the classroom equipped with interesting and appropriate materials that foster independence as well as collaborative learning?
 
Is the classroom orderly and clean?
 
Are there opportunities for children to make their own choices, as opposed to only highly structured, teacher-directed activities?
 
Are children engaged actively and their voices heard, or is the teacher at the center of the classroom at all times?
 
Are children being asked to sit still for long periods of time or are they able to move their bodies through active play?
 
Are there opportunities for children to be outdoors to exercise their bodies and have contact with nature? If not, what kinds of opportunities for gross motor play and contact with nature are provided indoors?
 
Are there opportunities for children to engage with their senses and explore things at their own pace, using art and sensory materials?
 
Learn more:
“Let the Kids Learn Through Play”, New York Times, May 16, 2015.
 
“Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom”, New York Times, June 9, 2015.
 
“Play is More than Just Fun,” TED talk by Dr. Stuart Brown.