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Third Street Music School Settlement

235 E 11th St
New York, NY 10003

(212) 777-3240


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Preschool classrooms are designed for active participation with experiences that support creative thinking and problem solving, while encouraging the development of language, emerging numeracy and intellectual curiosity. The Preschool’s highly qualified and experienced faculty have an in-depth understanding of child development and the creative arts. They know that play, discovery and fun are integral to learning. Third Street’s Preschool program values the whole child and his or her experience. Children view the classroom as their community, an extension of their home and culture. Open and active partnerships with parents are encouraged.

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 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 Children have weekly movement and music classes , as well as opportunities to learn about musical instruments.

From the Director:

Third Street Preschool provides an environment rich in opportunities for inquiry, growth and healthy fun. It respects children’s developmental orientation and their eagerness to play and learn with each other. Additionally, Third Street values children’s early connections to the arts, offering students a range of musical opportunities, music, movement, and instrumental exploration, as well as the visual arts and dramatic play.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

An experienced faculty welcomes a range of young learners and through individual attention and open-ended project work, enable each to feel and be successful in their school day.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

For over 30 years, Third Street Preschool has been an integral and important part of the Third Street Music School Settlement, our country’s oldest community music school. Third Street preschoolers are exposed to music through a teacher-designed curriculum supported by teachers from within the music school, and as they pass through hallways often ringing with piano, string and band music. The overarching goal is to provide a setting in which each child can develop a greater sense of self, a respect for others, and a lifelong love of the arts and learning.

A Typical Day

Each day at Third Street, whether in the half-day or full-day programs, includes the following: group rug time, work time - including art projects and activities, block building, cooking, dramatic play, story time – snack, and outdoor play. Weekly “specials” are: music, movement, introductions to instruments, and sing-alongs. The Fullday Fours program includes lunch and rest.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents are active members of the Third Street community. They support curriculum in a range of ways, and meet for Coffee Conversations and as Class Parents. There is a strong sense of partnership between parents and teachers.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We know that each child responds differently to a new environment and work to make the process of starting school as pleasant, welcoming and knowable as possible. Parents receive support from teachers as children participate in gradual phase-in periods.