A teacher reading a book with a student in an independent nursery school near midtown classroom

Our five-day schedule begins in the nursery program with families selecting either a half-day (8:25 a.m. -12:30 p.m.) or full-day (8:25 a.m.-2:50 p.m.) schedule, with the option of after school or enrichment courses.

The nursery teachers carefully plan a curriculum that focuses on play while encouraging students to find their voices within the classroom and to listen to and respect the voices of one another. Materials are carefully chosen to encourage student creativity and engagement both independently and together with peers.

Thematic units begin with the students exploring their own identities, preferences, and interests. They then study themselves as part of the classroom group, the school, and their families. We teach that the definition of a family reflects a broad understanding that no two families are the same and that families include a wide variety of iterations.

Nursery students are introduced to community service as part of their curriculum, and they celebrate special events. In nursery, we introduce classroom jobs as a way to care for one another. Through discussion and experience, we help students consider how to show compassion for others in the St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s community and in our neighborhood community of Morningside Heights. 

Nursery is also the start of many special subject classes. During this year, students will begin their study of secondary language (French, Spanish, or Mandarin Chinese), art, music (using the Kodály style of teaching), greenhouse, movement, and library. Students also participate in daily recess on our playdeck.

Curriculum is everything that happens in the room from clean-up to the more obvious, such as the themes we present throughout the year. All of which are important building blocks for their future learning.”Marisa Staples, Nursery Head Teacher, Faculty Since 2000

Nursery Highlights