Early Learning (Pre-K to Second Grade)
The Early Learning program encourages active learning through imaginative play and exploration. Literacy, math, and science fundamentals are introduced through hands-on projects inspired by nature and New York City. Classroom activities build character strengths, such as resilience, social intelligence, and self-control. Community relationships are valued and nurtured.
- Pre-K has one class of 16 students. Beginning in kindergarten, each grade has three classes of about 20 students. Each class is taught by an experienced head teacher and assistant teacher.
- Creative movement and wellness are taught in Pre-K through first grade. In Pre-K through second grade, art, music, library, Spanish, and PE are taught by specialists.
- Specialists in math and literacy work alongside classroom teachers to target the needs of individual students.
- Two environmental educators work with Pre-K through second grade, leading nature walks in nearby Riverdale Park and Wave Hill, managing the school gardens, observing seasonal changes and life cycles, and identifying plants and wildlife.
- A trained, full-time, playworker organizes "loose parts" on the playground to encourage imaginary play and creative problem solving. Students spend at least one recess period a day outdoors.
- In first and second grade, students begin to establish themselves as digital citizens, learning to use iPads for learning with programs such as Pebble Go.
The Early Years
Rebecca Greller, director of Early Learning, describes how children develop in the first years at Riverdale.
Creative Thinking in First Grade
Natasha Schmemann, a first-grade teacher, describes how she encourages creativity in the classroom.
DIY In The Early Years
The traveling maker cart introduces Pre-K students to hand tools and problem-solving activities.
Nature Studies at Wave Hill
In a collaboration with Wave Hill, first graders do a year-long investigation of changes that occur within "one small square" on the Wave Hill grounds.