New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center is a Manhattan play-based nursery school featuring the Waldorf educational philosophy. The Center accepts children from birth to the age of 7 and has programs for the various age groups. From the age of 3 to the age of 7 children can enroll in the mixed-age Kindergarten program. The school is in session from 8:30 until 12:30. There is an aftercare program from 12:30 until 3pm.
The Center utilizes the Waldorf educational philosophy that each child is a unique individual and that as a child he or she is naturally inclined to absorb more information if it is presented when the child shows an interest in it rather than forcing the child to take an interest. While academic subjects are not formally taught, the environment is such that learning the beginnings of reading, writing, math and science are encouraged. Both indoor and outdoor play is encouraged and children are taken on nature walks, field trips and other age appropriate activities based on the interests of the children. Storytelling, puppet shows, cooking, arts, music and free time to play are also pursued.
A unique aspect to Waldorf education is the mixing of ages. While this is especially beneficial to children without siblings at home as it gives them a chance to both learn from older children and teach the younger ones, it also allows children to progress at their own pace without the stress of continual competition that the Waldorf philosophy discourages in early childhood education.
For more information visit the website of the New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center.