Our mission is to provide a quality, non-sectarian nursery school education, aimed at stimulating imagination and intellectual curiosity in a warm and nurturing environment. Our play-based developmentally appropriate curriculum offers enriching experiences in socialization, language arts, visual arts, early math, science, dramatic and imaginative play, sensory play, fine and gross motor development, social studies and nutrition, and encourages personal growth, empathy and kindness in each child.
Since 1954, the Riverdale Presbyterian Church Nursery School has been providing a nurturing, developmentally appropriate, hands-on educational experience for the children of Riverdale and its surrounding communities. Started in the basement of the historic Greyston mansion in North Riverdale (now a conference space for Teachers College / Columbia University), RPCNS has carried its legacy of engaging not just young children, but their families, and the community, to establish relationships which are responsive, rewarding and collaborative.
RPCNS is housed inside the Riverdale Presbyterian Church, an official New York City landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. RPC is of the Late Gothic Revival style, and its charming interior offers a cozy and warm environment, perfect for young children.
Learning at RPCNS
Children learn with their whole bodies - their minds, eyes, noses, mouths, ears and skin. Children also learn from their prior experiences, families, cultures and communities. We at RPCNS make sure that all of these different parts are working together to ensure the best possible learning experience for each child.
Activities are always developmentally appropriate, hands-on and multisensory, and encourage children to be critical thinkers.
Children at RPCNS also develop a sense of empathy which encourages meaningful and productive social interactions with their peers, and with the world.
RPCNS prides itself on the partnerships we establish with our families, which always include open, mutually rewarding communication and a shared vision of what each child's learning experience should be. These partnerships are extremely important to us and are the cornerstone of our program's mission to serve not just children, but their families as well.
Lauren Mactas, Executive Director
Andrea Montemarano, Assistant Director and Head Teacher - Chickadees
Maeve O'Malley, Head Teacher - Robins
Jessica Cruz, Lead Teacher - Hummingbirds
Yadhira Reyes, Head Teacher - Owls
Ashley Alicea, Assistant Teacher - Owls
Belinda Zumbado, Assistant Teacher - Chickadees
Jenae Schwartz, Studio Program Coordinator / Assistant Teacher - Robins
Piloted in September 2016, the RPCNS Studio Program is an arts enrichment program focusing on the process and experience of the visual arts in early childhood. The Studio program offers children the opportunity for exploration of natural and recycled materials, and the freedom to make choices about how those materials are used.
The RPCNS Studio Program is led by Jenae Schwartz, artist, Riverdale resident, and RPCNS teacher since 2006.
Led by former schoolteacher Barbara Heller, our Parent-Toddler program is a wonderful opportunity for young toddlers to have their first experiences with socialization, art, cooking, music and movement, group story time, gross motor play and dramatic play.
Parents or other caregivers accompany their children to each class, taking part in engaging, inspiring activities and projects.
Our Parent-Toddler program runs in three semesters - Fall, Winter and Spring. Each class is an hour and fifteen minutes, and is a fantastic transitional program for children who will continue on into our nursery school program.
Families who enroll in our Parent-Toddler program are given priority for nursery school enrollment.
Universal Pre-K (now known as "Pre-K for All") is a city-funded program offering free preschool to children who are in their final year of nursery school before Kindergarten. Children who turn four between 1/1/19 and 12/31/19 are eligible for our 2019-2020 UPK program.
RPCNS offers a full-day (6 hours and 20 minutes) UPK program. Starting in September 2018, UPK hours will be 8:40 am - 3:00 pm.
Universal Pre-K is meant to prepare preschoolers for Kindergarten by offering a well-rounded and developmentally appropriate curriculum which reflects the Pre-K Foundation for the Common Core.
Family involvement is a very important part of RPCNS. From the moment children enroll with us, their families become part of the RPCNS family. There are several ways for parents and caregivers to be involved:
Parent Committees: Joining a committee is a wonderful opportunity to have a voice in the way the nursery school operates and grows. The Gardening Committee, the Fundraising Committee and the Event Planning Committee are just three of the many committees available for parents to join. Your support for the ongoing high quality education at RPCNS is essential!
Events: RPCNS holds many events during the year which are fun and bring us together! Some events involve the whole family, such as family dance classes or our annual Thanksgiving Potluck Brunch. Other events are just for parents, such as Parent Workshops and RPCNS-hosted school fairs.
Communication: RPCNS aims to establish a mutually rewarding and ongoing dialogue with each family to ensure a productive learning experience for each child.
Program Options and Tuition
RPCNS offers a variety of programs for children and their families.
Our nursery school serves children 2 - 5 years old and runs for ten months from September through June. We also offer an 8-week nature camp program for children 2- 5 which runs from the last week in June through the third week of August.
Our regular nursery school hours are 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. We offer an early drop off program starting at 8 am, and an extended day program from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.
We also offer a Parent-Toddler program for children "walking" age through 3. This program runs in three semesters: Fall, Winter and Spring. Each semester is ten classes and is an hour and fifteen minutes per class.
Explorations in Nature - Summer program
Explorations in Nature is our wonderful, engaging 8-week summer program which offers children amazing nature-based activities such as dirt and mud play, gardening, animal and insect studies, water and sprinkler play, scavenger hunts, picnics, music and art made from nature, and more! We end our program with an exciting child-run farmer's market.
This program runs from the last week in June through the third week of August - 9 am - 3 pm with an option for early drop off at 8 am.
We provide a morning and afternoon snack. Parents provide lunch.