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Cobble Hill Playschool

93 Rapelye Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

(718) 243-0440


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Co-op, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

At the Cobble Hill Playschool, our program combines structured free play with predominantly teacher-led instruction.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught American Sign Language, creative drama and movement.

From the Director:

We have an integrated curriculum, with unit material linked throughout the program. Visit the This Week at CHP section of our Web site to learn more.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our program aim at the Cobble Hill Playschool is to create an atmosphere and a curriculum that nurture the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual growth of each child.

Our staff encourages development of positive concepts—of self and others. These positive concepts form patterns that shape a child's future experiences. It is important that school be a place where a child learns that both individual and group works are rewarding activities.

Staff encourage the development of the child as a thinker, an individual who: is independent, alert, and curious; uses initiative in pursuing curiosities; and has confidence in his/her ability to figure things out. To achieve this, the program features an open environment in which children are free to experiment and investigate, free to express individual ideas, and free to carry out ideas in a setting that is designed for success. Interspersed with spontaneous play and free choice of activities are short, structured, small-group activities in which teachers engage the children in specific types of problem-solving and a wide range of cognitive challenges. The experiences offered are direct and concrete, in order to build a foundation for more abstract experiences in the future.

Although primarily based on a developmental model of education theory, the eclectic program incorporates overlapping ideas from various preschool models. Most recently, the program has increasingly reflected the influence of two relatively new but highly respected sources: the Italian Reggio Emilia schools and the Multiple Intelligence Theory developed by Dr. Howard Gardner, a leading educational theorist. The Reggio Emilia schools have become internationally recognized within the past fifteen years for their remarkable work with preschool-age children. By studying the Reggio Emilia schools and implementing their methods, the staff has strengthened the Playschool's program, especially in the areas of curriculum development and use of the arts. Similarly, putting into practice elements of Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory has also helped improve the program’s curriculum content. Gardner has broadened scientific theory regarding intelligence by recognizing eight different intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, kinesthetic, musical, and naturalist.

Using the Reggio Emilia model to choose curriculum topics, our staff designs units incorporating the use of all eight intelligences. Development of academic skills is inherent in many of the activities. Science concepts and facts are discovered as the children work and experiment in the community garden. Similarly, a child involved in block-building or paint-mixing is actively engaged in scientific research. An understanding of mathematical concepts is fostered by explorations of sets, geometric relationships, weights and volumes, and counting. As in any good program for young children, the abstract relates to the tangible: matching napkins to the number of children at snack, for example, or matching blocks to discover halves and wholes. Emergent literacy activities and the writing process are a part of many daily school activities. Children discover similarities and differences in letters and words, pore over books, listen to stories, and tell stories of their own. The staff believes that the most important and effective preparation for reading is being read to, that delight in stories (both their own and those of others) establishes the best foundation for reading readiness.

The program also introduces children to the personal pleasures of the fine arts, including music and dance, studio art, and creative drama and puppetry. The arts are an integral part of the academic program. They enhance all areas of the curriculum and offer additional educational opportunities and challenges to the children. The school's staff includes art, music, drama, math, and science specialists. The staff participate in every aspect of the program, using their special talents and interests to enhance all of the children's activities, from outside play to snack time to special small-group work.

The incorporation of a multiplicity of models and philosophies appeals to the varied learning styles of each individual child. The interaction between teachers and students is paramount to the program’s success. Every child is guided with respect for each step of his/her own personal development.

A Typical Day

Because we are a cooperative program, our parents share their children's experiences firsthand, with direct participation on school days throughout the year.

30 minutes, Hello Time. Time to wander around and investigate. Selected areas and equipment are available on a rotating basis.

60 minutes, Small-group sessions. This can include art, music, creative movement, drama, free play, and individual work time. All areas and equipment are open and available.

30 minutes, Clean up, snack, and story time.

30 minutes, Outside time / movement time.

15 minutes, Cool-down time, quieter activities at tables, reading, creative movement, or puppet work in the music room.

15 minutes, All-group meeting. With singing and a puppet show, followed by dismissal.

30 minutes, Hello Time. Meet with peers and teachers to welcome one another and participate in an orienting activity.

90 minutes, Individualized time period to meet each child's needs. Small groups meet for art, music, creative drama, language arts, math, or science activities. Each child has time outside, weather permitting. When not participating in one of these activities, the children are free to work in any of the open and available areas.

30 minutes, Clean-up, snack, and story time.

15 minutes, Cool-down time, quieter activities at tables, reading, creative movement, or puppet work in the music room.

15 minutes, All-group meeting. With singing and a puppet show, followed by dismissal.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

The Cobble Hill Playschool has a very informative Web site and active, open communication channels. The site includes detailed information about classroom activities, reading materials and school and community events.

Each January, our parents receive a detailed student observation/report. All of the children's teachers (Head Teacher, Music, Art, Drama, etc.) contribute to this observation. Additionally, personal conferences are always available, upon request.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

The Cobble Hill Playschool uses the following 'Phase-in' schedule. The first day of school is an abbreviated visit, and parents arrive and leave together with their children. New incoming children are divided into smaller groups: first phase-in and second phase-in. These groups begin their sessions on a slightly staggered schedule.

On the second visit, parents again accompany their children, but they are encouraged to sit in 'parent' areas—in plain sight, while allowing the children to move freely about the classroom. Over three successive sessions, the children stay for gradually longer periods of time, and the first and second phase-in schedules begin to overlap. During this time, parents are encouraged to take short 'coffee breaks', allowing children to experience the school environment autonomously.

Overall, the phase-in period lasts approximately three weeks. During this time, every effort is made to make each new child feel secure AND to also make our new parents comfortable too!