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Manhattan Day School

310 West 75th Street
New York, NY 10023

(212) 376-6800


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

From the Director:

"Our school is based on a three-tier structure: the Early Childhood program starts with toddlers and runs through kindergarten; the Lower School comprises grades one through five; and the Middle School consists of grades six through eight. Boys and girls study together until fifth grade, at which point they typically study independently of one another, except for certain advanced classes. Offering rigorous dual curricula that are integrated throughout the day and shaped to meet every child's intellectual, spiritual, and emotional needs, we blend the best of two cultures: the secular and the religious. Today more than ever, MDS is focused on academic success. Our mission is to be as challenging as we are supportive, offering each student the individualized attention, enrichment, and remediation each one needs. The result: students with highly developed critical-thinking ability, academic competence, self-reliance, and effective interpersonal skills." (SOURCE:

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Visual arts
Physical activity
Other subjects taught Education at MDS is much more than transmission of information. It's also about taking children on a spiritual journey along a path that leads to becoming whole, good, kind, and strong Jewish people. Central to our idea of a Jewish education is the importance of teaching 'soul values.' How do we achieve this? By recognizing that wisdom is as important as knowledge. By infusing the mundane with the spiritual. By teaching our students to be upstanding Americans while identifying equally as Jews, loyal to the Torah and responsible to local and world Jewish communities. While the Chumash, Mishnah, and Talmud are at the heart of our Judaic Studies program, our true core focus is to instill the love of Jewish learning. In doing so, we pass on the centuries-old values of our Jewish ancestors. Our school's authentic approach-using original Hebrew texts even in the earliest grades-stimulates higher-order thinking. By requiring that students eschew memorization in favor of engaging the finer parts of the mind, we actually teach how to learn. Studying classic Jewish texts trains students in how to search for problems latent in any text, how to identify and define those problems, how to respond to them from personal knowledge, and how to research and respond to existing answers. Of course, along the way we also teach other values at MDS. We cultivate tolerance and sensitivity by respecting each family's level of religious observance. We instill compassion through chesed. We awaken responsibility through charitable contribution, and we develop friendship through Jewish community involvement. We impart appreciation of heritage through the celebration of Jewish holidays and Shabbat, through weekly Parsha study, and through daily prayer. And we teach loving-kindness through everything we do. We are a family of teachers, parents, and children united by rituals, bound by values, and enriched by shared experience. In short, our program is more than the sum of the words of rabbis and sages; it's the best path we know to make learning-and Jewish learning-passions for a lifetime. (website)

From the Director:

"Manhattan Day School is an Orthodox Yeshiva with Torah as the foundation of our philosophy. Founded in 1943, MDS has been rooted on the Upper West Side and in New York's citywide Modern Orthodox community for more than 60 years. Our ties to Eretz Yisrael are equally deep and abiding. The MDS teaching philosophy is clear: to build a solid foundation through superior secular, Hebrew language, and Judaic studies. Our learning environment is ever-evolving. We are open to innovative educational strategies and systems; we embrace cutting edge technology; and we actively seek any new pedagogical program, instrument, or method that is empowering and enlightening. And because MDS teachers are also learners, we encourage and support their continuing professional development. In fact, one of the goals we meet every year is to make our great and accomplished teachers even better." (SOURCE:

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"Here teaching and learning are inseparably linked. Here academic rigor is met and matched by all that is pedagogically creative and dynamic. Innovative approaches to secular and Judaic studies coexist harmoniously. Growth is wed to commitment, with teachers, children, and parents empowering each other to succeed. Bolstered by an atmosphere of loving communal support, individualized academic attention thrives. Every student, regardless of strength or weakness, talent or need, is considered a valued member of the Manhattan Day School (MDS) community and every student is taught at an individual level that makes the best learning possible.

We know that the influence of any school is strong. After all, your children are with us five days a week, all day long. So our philosophy and approach are to treat your children as if they were our children and to extend our embrace to your entire family. And because we believe our responsibility begins in the beautiful dreams you have for your daughters and sons, we are committed to passing on to them the spiritual underpinnings that bring the full spectrum of Torah values to life. Our goal is for each child to graduate from Manhattan Day School as a mensch, with a story to tell of success, and each with a lifelong love of learning." (SOURCE: