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Downing Street Playgroup

32 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014

Phone:
(212) 924-2557

Website:

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Founded in 1969, The Downing Street Playgroup is a cooperative preschool located in NYC's West Village. We provide a warm and supportive environment for 2 to 4-year olds, where learning is enjoyed, valued and becomes a life-long goal. Our preschool is directed by a certified teacher working with an assistant teacher and a rotating parent teacher. Parent participation is an integral part of the success of the Downing Street Playgroup.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Downing Street Playgroup is a cooperative preschool that makes a strong connection between home and school. Parents are heavily involved in running the school, and volunteer once a month in the classroom. Our preschool is child-centered and follows Developmentally Appropriate Practice.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • 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
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
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
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
Other subjects taught n/a

From the Director:

Children are given ample time to play and follow their own interests. Group activities are open-ended and leave room for individual expression. We are child-centered and alter our curriculum based on the current student population, always keeping in mind their specific needs and interests. Children have access to many open-ended toys that allow for creative expression. There are various styles of building blocks, manipulatives, puzzles, dolls, pretend center props, playdough, sand and water, drawing and painting supplies, and books.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Downing Street Playgroup is committed to addressing each child's individual needs, strengths, and interests. We maintain a low adult-child ratio which allows us to work with small groups and individual children. Our school is a play-based, child-centered facility which nurtures individual interests and focuses on scaffolding children's learning.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Founded in 1969, The Downing Street Playgroup is a cooperative preschool located in NYC's West Village. We provide a warm and supportive environment for 2 to 4-year olds, where learning is enjoyed, valued and becomes a life-long goal. Our preschool is directed by a certified teacher working with an assistant teacher and a rotating parent teacher. Parent participation is an integral part of the success of the Downing Street Playgroup.

A Typical Day

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.
SAMPLE SCHEDULE
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
DISMISSAL

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents maintain a high level of involvement and are present about once a month in the classroom. There is a monthly co-op meeting, where we have the opportunity to update the parents on the overall progress and activities in the classroom. We strive to maintain a strong connection with parents about their children by finding time for brief discussions after class, bi-yearly parent-teacher conferences, meetings by appointment, a monthly newsletter, and frequent email correspondence.

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

Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Home visits are a key in helping children transition into the preschool experience at Downing Street Playgroup. It helps them feel secure and build trust for their new environment, and make a connection between home and school. Aside from home visits and a transitional period at the beginning of the year, we work with each family individually to determine the best method of separation for their child.