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Hollingworth Preschool

525 West 120th Street, Box 170
New York, NY 10027

(212) 678-3403


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

The Hollingworth Preschool child-responsive curriculum is an outgrowth of the work of the Hollingworth Center and is a synthesis of the best theory and practice emanating from other institutions. Our goals include:  To provide a warm, caring, responsive environment that fosters a sense of security, acceptance, and belonging;  To provide children with a conceptual knowledge of the world around them to serve as a foundation for further exploration;  To facilitate the development of higher-level thinking skills necessary to become critical thinkers and problem-solvers;  To further the development of the children's social interaction skills and participation in a community;  To promote effective strategies for framing questions and methods for finding answers. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, the curriculum strikes a balance between child-selected/child-designed activities and teacher-developed/teacher-directed units of study. This combination affords each child the opportunity to explore individual interests while gaining exposure to a wider variety of ideas. The link between these two elements is evident as the children incorporate new knowl?edge and skills throughout their play activities and as the teachers integrate the children's interests into the units of study.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

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  • 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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  • 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
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught At Hollingworth, a problem is viewed as a challenge to be embraced with enthusiasm. From their earliest days in the classroom the children are actively involved in defining and solving the daily problems they encounter. They become aware of the power of words as they work with the teachers to develop effective strategies. The children themselves are the active participants who shape the complexities of the environment. The Hollingworth environment cultivates capable problem solvers who become pro?ficient negotiators able to generate multiple solutions. In time, the children internalize effective problem solving strategies which they use frequently and spontaneously.

From the Director:

The interdisciplinary units that are pursued throughout the school year encourage the children to participate in a variety of multidimensional activities while nurturing individual talents. The selection of a theme is guided by observed interests of the children, and by the richness of the content. Emphasis is placed on topics which lend themselves to in-depth exploration and which foster problem solving and creative collaboration. Past unit themes have included Antarctica, Oceanography, Ecology, Astronomy, Van Gogh, Architecture, and Medieval Life. Most recently, the Hollingworth Community followed the Corps of Discovery in their historic transcontinental search for a water passage. Play is an essential part of the Hollingworth Preschool day. It is a valuable activity during which the preschoolers interact socially and select activities spontaneously. At first glance, the rich classroom environment, complete with a block corner, a loft, a pretend area, art supplies, painting easels, small manipulatives, puzzles, games, library, and a music center, resembles a typical early childhood classroom. Yet, as the children's play is observed, it becomes evident that in this environment, the children engage in sophisticated dramatic and constructive play, pursue areas of interest, and engage in problem solving tasks both collaboratively and independently.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

For twenty years the mission of the Hollingworth Preschool has been to create an optimal educational match between the needs of the bright, creative, and curious children it serves, and our developmentally appropriate and responsive early childhood environment. As we provide this optimal match for this special population, each child grows intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically. Each also develops a love of learning and positive attitudes toward school.

Our curriculum is designed to nurture each child's unique potential while promoting effective membership in a learning community. Our gifted, caring, highly trained faculty observes keenly and responds appropriately to individual needs within the context of a shared classroom culture. The charge of educating the young children entrusted to the Hollingworth Preschool is a challenge that is met with enthusiasm, expertise, and delight!

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Family is a child's first teacher. At Hollingworth we view our relationship with the families of our students as a close, mutually supportive collaboration that is nurtured in many ways. Families are included in the daily events of the classroom via regular communication with the director and the head teachers. Throughout the school year families are welcomed to join the children for special events and celebrations. Throughout the year there are general meetings for parents, as well as scheduled parent-teacher conferences.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • 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:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

The preschool offers several ways that families begin to connect with the school, including pictures of teachers, cds of songs and stories, postcards and a classroom open house.

For our Morning Class we follow a gradual entry schedule, allowing the children to begin school slowly in smaller groups, finally all gathering together on the first Friday for a shortened school day. Our first full day of school, is the following Wednesday allowing everyone time to transition into the classroom and to build up stamina for the full 3 ½ hours.

For our Afternoon Class we follow a brief gradual entry schedule, allowing the students to quickly gather together once again and begin full days on Wednesday.