Outdoor Education / Play

Riverdale's founder, Frank Hackett, believed that outdoor experiences are essential for children's physical, social, and emotional development. Children need unstructured time to explore nature, build confidence and physical strength, develop sensory awareness, and exercise their vibrant imaginations. 

The eight-acre Lower School campus is an ideal setting for learning through play. A trained, full-time playworker sets up the outdoor play spaces with a range of open-ended materials that children can use as props for imaginary play or tools to engineer new ways of engaging with their environment. Children build forts, make mini-rivers, and create pretend rocket ships. They take risks, building confidence, while learning how to be responsible for their own safety and the safety of others. Working along with the faculty, the playworker encourages resourcefulness and independence while nurturing such character strengths as self-control and social intelligence.

Students have recess outdoors every day except in extreme weather. Recess time varies according to the age of the child and the season. 

Learning Through Play

The Lower School's 8-acre campus is an important learning space and Alex Cote is there with intriguing open-ended materials that inspire problem-solving, creativity, and unique ways of relating to the surroundings. "Play is defined by the voices in children's minds," she says. "It's all learning, all the time."

Playing in the Outdoors

Playing and learning in the outdoors is an important part of every child's Riverdale experience at the Lower School.

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



Lower School
1 Spaulding Lane
Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

Middle/Upper School
5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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Riverdale teaches students to become lifelong learners by fostering "growth" mindsets. Go There ><

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The River Campus offers a spacious, natural setting for our youngest students, inspiring learning and play. Go There >

Riverdale offers "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teaching to Lower School students. Go There >

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Middle School students explore hands-on learning through the Riverdale Maker program. Go There >

Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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Riverdale teaches students to make connections through our interdisciplinary programs. Go There >

The club and activity program encourages students to explore their passions and try new things. Go There >

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About 80 percent of Upper School students participate in athletics. Go There >

Riverdale's Hill Campus has an indoor pool, football stadium, weight room, and 3 playing fields. Go There >

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Riverdale has entry points in Pre-K, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th Grades. Visit our campus today. Go There >

Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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Last year's Annual Fund totaled nearly $5 million in gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the school. Go There >

Have you included Riverdale in your estate plans? Please let us know and join our expanding group of Hackett Planned Giving Society members today. Go There >

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