Elements Preschool, the urban nature preschool, offers a dynamic environment for children to play, explore, experience, create, learn and grow in.
Located on the Lower East Side of New York, Elements has been specially designed to offer a bright, airy, green space in the heart of the highly urbanized city. Its cheerful classrooms are flanked by a large backyard that has been carefully crafted to balance the natural world with learning aids. The resulting space is rich with possibility for young hearts, minds and bodies.
The safe and motivating atmosphere encourages exploration and creativity, in order to offer children a unique introduction to learning.
Our distinctive child-led, inquiry-based philosophy marries play, discovery and creative individualism to encourage a cheerful and spirited learning community. This framework encourages:
- appropriate development of early literacy, science and numerical competency
- development of gross and fine motor skills
- creativity, imagination, and the development of interpersonal skills
We believe in creating a caring and positive atmosphere for our preschoolers to grow and learn in. They thrive in a beautiful, natural environment that provides them with the ambient security of their own homes.
A Day at Elements
The day begins at 8:30 am, when the children arrive at school. They are divided into groups and each group has a regular daily schedule of activities.
Our choice of activities include: story time, music, movement, snack time art, nature exploration, gardening, observing insects, building with natural material and loose parts, puzzles, dramatic play, water play and cooking. Children can participate in these in groups, or can choose an individual activity, too.
Watching each child throughout the day, to examine how its day flows, the teachers also allow each child the space it needs to figure a situation out on its own; they step in at appropriate times. We do this to ensure that the child learn to exert control over him or herself and to solve his or her own problems. This applies to social skills as well as to cognitive and physical ones. Children feel good when they know they have some control over themselves and their environment.
Our indoor classrooms and outdoor classrooms are organic and encourage creativity. Teachers help the children discover changes and occurrences happening around them: in the seasons, nature, animals, friendships, families, themselves and more through art materials, books and activities. Children are supported to see more fully, to ask questions and guess answers.
In the outdoor play space, they create their own worlds in and around the woodland area, climbing structures, vegetable gardens, observation corner or the rock garden. They plant seeds, tend to plants and harvest and prepare fruits and vegetables, exploring the many insects and worms that live above and below ground and turning the soil to prepare it for the next season. Time in the garden is extended by cooking projects using harvested vegetables, reading books and drawing their observations.