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.

  • Ages 2-5 years old (as of September 2018)
  • Half, full, and extended day options
  • Full-day Prek-For-All for 4 year olds
  • 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.

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, our weekly newsletters feature pictures and updates on units of study, class 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 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
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.  Prek-For-All enrollment is through the NYC Department of Education admissions process that typically opens in the January before school starts.

Enrollment Options
Nursery Programs for 2 year olds (as of September 2018)

  • Morning Program (2 days a week, Mondays and Wednesdays): 9 – 11:25 am
  • Full Day Program: 9 am – 3:20 pm
  • Extended Day Program: 9 am – 6 pm

Nursery Programs for 3-5 year olds (as of September 2018)

  • Full Day Program: 9 am – 3:20 pm
  • Extended Day Program: 9 am – 6 pm
  • PreK-For-All program* (born in 2014): 9 am – 3:20 pm

Additional Care Programs for 3-5 year olds

  • Early Morning Drop Off: 8:15 – 9 am
  • Extended Afternoon: 3:20 – 6 pm

*The Y will offer a full day, tuition-free program for 4 year olds from 9 am– 3:20 pm.  Families can add additional hours to the program for a fee.

What Parents Say About the Y Nursery School
“Nursery school is a treasured time in a child’s life no matter what, but as parents we have seen that once in a while you are fortunate enough to find yourself part of a perfect mix of teachers, children, and families that elevates the whole experience. That happened for us at the Y this year. Our deepest thanks for providing an invaluable education for the children of our community.” - Peter and Meredith

“I know the memories and experiences our son has made will last forever in our hearts. I have seen him grow so much this year both critically and socially. He's learned problem solving, how to make friends, how to play, and, most importantly, how to build and maintain a community. I cannot stress how important it is for our children to have a sense of community and care for the well-being of others. Thank you so much for your personal time and heart that you give to every kid in your classroom.” - Rachel and Jonathan

Let’s Hear From You
Learn more about the Y’s Early Childhood programming, including Y Beginnings Parenting Center, Nursery Elective Classes, and Footpaths Summer Camp at Still have questions? Contact Susan Herman, Director of Early Childhood Services, at


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Program Director