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Columbia Greenhouse Nursery School

404 West 116th St.
New York, NY 10027

(212) 666-4796


3 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Teacher-Led

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
  • The Language Arts program is rich with reading, story-telling, dictation and discussion
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Shapes, Cuisenaire rods and geo-boards whereby children learn to estimate, calculate, and measure
Time & space more

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  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • Nature walks
Music more

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  • Singing every morning and a music specialist visits each class once a week
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
  • Two recently renovated outdoor play yards with a slide, climbing apparatus, sand boxes, large building blocks, balls and tricycles, outdoor equipment is nonrepresentational for imagination to reign
Other subjects taught

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"Philosophy: Greenhouse offers a rich and nurturing hands-on program for children two to five years of age. The educational philosophy of Greenhouse pivots on the widely held pedagogic belief that young children learn best through interaction -- with interesting materials, with loving adults, in small peer groups.
We believe that education starts with encouraging a child's curiosity and bolstering his or her sense of wonder. We are committed to the position that strengthening a child's self-esteem through the cultivation of skills, interests and positive peer relations is the best road to a lifelong exposure to learning in a group setting. Along these lines, we have carefully planned a warm and nurturing play-centered environment that encourages creativity, exploration, social growth, intellectual risk-taking, problem solving and collaborative learning. Designed to engage the whole child, our developmentally appropriate activities foster emotional, social, physical and intellectual growth. Parents are considered partners in the education of young children. As a parent cooperative, Greenhouse is administered by a Board of Directors composed of parents and parents are encouraged to actively participate in the life of the school.
(Extracted From -

A Message from the Director:

Welcome to our Web site. I think you will find that Columbia Greenhouse is a very special environment where young children are treasured and nurtured and where parents receive respect and support. Our exceptional staff delights in sharing the joys, discoveries, disappointments and challenges experienced by the children in our classrooms each day. We invite you to visit our school to see our vibrant classrooms in action. We strongly recommend that you apply for admission early in the fall in the year before you want your child to begin. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing our school with you.
Best wishes, Vicki Aspenberg"

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

"Parents are considered partners in the education of their young children and they actively participate in the life of the school. Teachers and parents communicate regularly through informal conversation and two planned conferences each year. Parents often make a contribution to the classroom, sharing an interest, a story, a special skill, or a family tradition, participating directly in their child's first school experience. Greenhouse is governed by a Board of Directors composed of parents. Parents also serve on various committees, publish a newsletter, and organize several fund-raising events during the year. Other events for parents include a curriculum meeting, family picnics, and several workshops on topics of interest. Greenhouse also provides individual guidance to help parents through the sometimes bewildering process of choosing and applying to their child's next school, whether public or private. Listed below are the events and meetings that usually take place each year. Parent/Teacher Welcome Meeting - a meeting for parents to meet their child's teachers before school begins. Special attention is paid to the plans for the first weeks of school and how separation will be handled. Family Welcome Picnic - a picnic to welcome all families to Greenhouse that is held on a Columbia campus lawn. Each family brings dinner and Greenhouse provides watermelon. Apple Day Bake Sale - a bake sale with apple desserts and other goodies that takes place on the Columbia campus. This follows the apple-picking trip that the two older classes take in the fall. Curriculum Night - a group meeting for parents that is organized in the Fall to discuss the early childhood curriculum set up in the classrooms and the teacher's plans for the year. Children's Concert - a unique musical experience for the whole family, usually performed by professional Greenhouse musicians. Parent Workshops - a presentation or discussion group several times a year on topics of interest to parents. Annual Winter Event and Auction - a fun evening with a catered dinner, lively auction, and dancing. Kindergarten Admissions Information Night - a meeting for those parents who will be applying to kindergarten in the following year. Spring Fair - an elaborate street fair on our block with games for children, wonderful food, rummage, pony rides, Castle ride, petting zoo, and a raffle. Family Farewell Picnic - a closing picnic that is held at the end of the year on a Columbia campus lawn. Parents bring a picnic dinner and Greenhouse provides watermelon for dessert." (SOURCE:

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

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