The Y Nursery School

Your Child. Our Focus.
Emphasizing individual attention for each child, the Y Nursery School builds a community of learners in a safe, nurturing, and academically enriching environment. Review our full brochure for more information and our registration form for tuition and fees. You can schedule a tour here.

  • Full- and extended-day options for 2-5 years olds (as of September 2019)
  • Full-day Prek-For-All for children born in 2015
  • Enhanced English-Spanish language options 

Licensed by the Early Childhood Education Division of the New York City Department of Health, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood Nursery School is registered by the New York State Department of Education and is an accredited pre-school and childcare center.


The Y: Then And Now
The Y was established in 1917 as a multi-service community center, providing educational, recreational, and social services for our families from preschoolers to older adults.  Over the last ten years, in particular, we have seen a tremendous growth in the number of families with young children living in the surrounding neighborhood. An expansion of our preschool facility and population reflects the change and growth in the community.

Today the Y Nursery School’s collaborative environment fosters children’s emotional, social, intellectual, physical, and aesthetic development. Experienced teachers guide children to become independent thinkers and lifelong learners as they make connections, solve problems, and explore their worlds. The Y Nursery School embraces families from diverse backgrounds and cultivates a connection to Jewish values and traditions.


The Standard for Pre-Kindergarten
We incorporate a constructivist approach, providing children the opportunity to learn by directly experiencing their environment. Children explore, touch, taste, build, interact with other children, and experiment as they learn about the world around them. Teachers take an active, intentional role using a balanced approach that combines children’s interests and needs with the goals of achieving the New York State standards for pre-kindergarten.

We Listen and Adapt to Your Child’s Individual Needs
By listening to children’s conversations as they play, a teacher discovers what captures their attention. From this they incorporate language arts, music, art, social studies, science, and physical education to plan appropriate experiences and projects based on those interests. This type of planning curriculum, known as emergent curriculum, involves a good deal of listening, documentation, flexibility, and creativity on the part of the teacher. When units of study are based on student interest, involve students in planning, and incorporate more open-ended materials, children work to construct their own learning and learning becomes more relevant and meaningful.


Meeting the Community’s Needs through Pre-K for All
Through an award from the New York City Department of Education, the Y is excited to offer full-day, tuition-free Pre-K for All for children born in 2015. In order to prepare students for kindergarten and school, we encourage children to grow as they work and explore together. Lunch and snacks are included for children enrolled in PKA and are served family-style within a language-infused classroom setting.


Instruction Provided by a Highly Trained, Professional Staff
Head teachers are certified in early childhood education and experienced associate teachers enhance our program with skills in art, drama, and literacy. Outside specialists offer opportunities to explore music, creative movement, and Jewish culture.


A Nurturing, Welcoming Community
At the Y Nursery School we strive to create an open and welcoming community of children, teachers, staff, and, of course, parents. There are numerous ways that families can become further engaged. Our Parent Committee meets monthly and is comprised of parents from each class. We invite family members to chaperone school trips and to visit our classrooms as mystery visitors, storytellers, or participants in our cooking activities, music, dance, theater, or visual arts experiences. To keep parents informed, photographs and updates are shared weekly through a secure app, allowing parents to follow their child’s progress and the classroom’s units of study, activities, and outings. Parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year, although families are welcome to schedule more frequent meetings if needed.


Our Classrooms are an Inspiration for Inquiry
The Y Nursery School’s wings on the first and second floors provide a natural environment within a safe setting that enriches our school community and encourages interactive learning. Newly constructed classrooms have enhanced security, large observation windows, bathrooms, and updated lighting and flooring. Our rooftop playground, full-sized gymnasium, and first floor outdoor play area provide daily opportunities for large motor development.


Take a Tour
Prospective families are welcome to participate in a school tour. Beginning in November, tours are conducted on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 am except during Y special events or school holidays. Schedule a tour.


Application Process
Children Born in 2016 & 2017 (must be 2 by September 2019)
Registration opens to all in November for the following school year. Children are accepted into the program on a rolling basis until we are fully enrolled. In order to secure a spot, a $500 deposit must be included along with the completed registration form. Financial assistance is available for families with documented need.

Children Born in 2015
Admission to Pre-K for All is determined through the NYC Department of Education application process that begins in January for the following school year. Current students in the Y’s 3s program will receive priority for spots in the PKA program based on the city’s priority policies.


Enrollment Options
Children Born in 2016 & 2017 (must be 2 as of September 2019)

  • Full-Day Program: 8:40 am – 2:50 pm
  • Extended-Day Program: 8:40 am – 6 pm

Children Born in 2015 (PKA)*

  • Full-Day Program: 8:40 am – 3 pm
  • Extended-Day Program: 8:40 am – 6 pm

Additional Care Programs for 3-5 year olds

  • Early Morning Drop-Off: 8 – 8:40 am
  • Y Nursery Electives: 3 – 3:45 pm
  • Transportation (One Way or Round Trip): 8:40 am and 2:50/3:00 pm

*The Y offers a full day, tuition-free program for 4 year olds from 8:40 am– 3 pm.  Families can add additional hours to the program for a fee.


What Parents Say About the Y Nursery School
“We are so eternally grateful for having stumbled upon the Y for both my boys' Pre-K years. The experience has been incredibly rewarding for my entire family. My son has grown in so many ways and so much of it is due to the TLC of your wonderful staff. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. We will always remember the Y with love and a full heart of joy.” - Zabryna and Michael


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