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The Rockefeller University Child and Family Center

1230 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021

(212) 327-8580


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

"Inclusion of Children with Special Needs: The Child and Family Center welcomes children with special needs. Several children each year work with a speech and language therapist, physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), counseling therapist or special education iterant teacher (SEIT). The goal of the specialists is that the child is fully integrated socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually in the room. The specialists may work with the child in his or her room or may bring the child out of the room to work individually or in a small group. We work with and guide parents to have an evaluation and get services when there is a concern about their child." ( philosophy.php)

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"Our educational philosophy is the developmental-interaction approach. We believe a child's learning and growth depend upon her interactions with the physical surroundings and with the social environment of peers and caring adults. Enjoyment through active participation is the cornerstone of our program.

This approach assumes that a child learns best when developmentally ready for new experiences and when those new experiences are built on earlier ones. Teachers and caregivers introduce new activities based on the interests and abilities expressed by the child and the group, as well as on their own observations. In this atmosphere each child learns at his own pace and is encouraged, but not rushed, through the early years of exploration.

Our emphasis on developing relationships, and the careful attention we give to individual interests and abilities, helps children feel safe and nurtures their self-esteem. This creates an environment that encourages curiosity, problem solving, creativity and social growth." ( philosophy.php)

A Typical Day

"Phase-In: For every child, even returning children, the first days of the academic year in September are filled with new experiences, new people, and new expectations. For each child, we try to make this adjustment period as smooth and comfortable as it can be. It serves are a foundation for a positive and fruitful year at the CFC, and for future transitions as well. Helping children to form new relationships and say good-bye to their parents is a key component in the program. For this reason, we ask parents to spend time with their child at the CFC during the first weeks each year, helping their child to establish trusting relationships with their new teachers. During this phase-in period, children come in small groups for increasing periods of time until at the end of the phase-in, they are staying for the whole day. Parents spend time in the classroom playing with their child, assisting their child with daily routines, and helping the child establish relationships with the teachers. For the infants and toddlers, while the parents are still caring for the child in the room, teachers will observe and ask questions to enable them to continue a consistency of care after phase-in is over. For all the children, the amount of time that parents will be required to stay in the room depends on the child's own temperament, development, previous experience with child care and the parents' feelings about leaving their child at the CFC. Some children may be excited by the newness only to need extra support later as they try to settle into the day-to-day routine of life at the CFC. Others will stick close by a parent for a long period before beginning to explore the room or meet new people. Still other cheerfully say good-bye (perhaps even before Mom or Dad is ready) and grow steadily more comfortable as time goes on. As time at the CFC increases, parents leave for short periods of time, gradually extending the time the child spends at the center without them." ( philosophy.php)


Separation is Handled through:

  • Parents in classroom early on