With abundant choices available from daycare to nannies to 2s programs to pre-school, parents in New York City have a tough decision to make about childcare in the early years. More and more parents are looking for a one-stop solution that nurtures their child from infancy through pre-K while developing a familiar, social experience with a structured, learning environment.
With this in mind, the Kidz Central Station team recently toured the newly opened pre-school/daycare on 2nd Avenue called The Goddard School of Murray Hill in Midtown East. This is a play-based school with a focus on meaningful interactions with the children.
We met Owner Rami Singh, a former Finance exec who developed a passion for early childhood education after becoming a father of two super adorable children who are now enrolled at the school. Like many of us, he found a void when considering the childcare debate. What is the choice for those of us who want a family feel experience for our kids that takes full advantage of these early, impressionable years? His answer was to build it himself.
A great advantage of The Goddard School of Manhattan in Murray Hill, which opened in November 2017, is the facility. It is housed in a clean, vibrant space full of sunlight and brand new and spacious classrooms. And by clean, we mean the space is cleaned 3x a day! The hallways are decorated with fun animal shapes, a world map, daily schedules, teachers’ curricula, and inspirational quotes. An outdoor rooftop playground is soon to come! There are more than enough areas to store strollers inside the building. Singh’s thoughtfulness for his venture shines through in the details, such as the international themes in the decor and even the intricate details in the rock climbing wall in the gym. It is a truly modern space. We will say, from our experience, this is not easy to find in Manhattan. When many of us were searching for daycare years ago, we found many schools in the basements of buildings with cramped spaces that did not appeal to us.
Fantastic space aside, the curriculum and teachers are the real stars at this new school. More than anything, the school strives to go beyond typical daycare and provide a “whole child experience” that appreciates each child’s individuality and taps into each child’s way of learning. To that end, the curriculum is designed and then refined with the focus on the children, not the teachers or the parents, but the children. The toys, the activities, the class layout, the schedule all focus on the children’s age and abilities. We were intrigued by their philosophy of F.L.EX to provide “a Fun Learning EXperience.” That means giving children the freedom to have fun while discovering and exploring with hands-on activities, customized lessons, and nurturing encouragement. In our opinion, the school was succeeding in this.
We witnessed the positivity and warmth of the teachers firsthand as we toured the school. The classrooms were filled with smiling faces and the teachers were happy to meet with us and let us see their classrooms in progress. Each teacher is responsible for constructing the curriculum for his/her classroom to balance independent and cooperative learning with outdoor playtime. For example, a Toddler full day schedule would include music, social skills, creative arts, yoga, nature studies, sign language, and Spanish among many other activities. A Preschool schedule would include many of the above mentioned activities in addition to handwriting, math, science, dramatic play, computer lab, chess, reading readiness, and language arts. It’s a full day schedule with many breaks built in such as nap/quiet time, snack and lunch as provided by the school, outside play, and circle time.
Many current parents give high marks to the school and enthusiastically recommend it to others. They are are sent daily reports via app with photos and videos from the day. They feel included in a cooperative and collaborative environment that takes their children’s progress and needs into account. The parents tout the engaged teachers, the beautiful facilities, the custom curriculum and the caring owner as pros.
The school is open through the summer and offers a camp that incorporates STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning. They are developing a variety of themes to tailor to each child’s interests using play-based learning both inside and outside of the classroom. And the rooftop playground (again, a huge plus in our books) is expected to be completed in July when camp opens.
We, also, want to highlight the several security measures in place at drop-off and for entering the building. Parents/caregivers must check in on a touch screen with a security code at drop-off and pick-up so that every child is accounted for. And there is a security code and Biometric Hand Scanner required to enter the school facility. We appreciated this added layer for the children’s protection.
The Goddard School of Murray Hill is a franchise of the nationwide The Goddard School and is currently accepting applications and tour requests. It is located at 751 2nd Ave between 40th and 41st Streets. It welcomes children from infancy to age 6 and offers year-round full day 7AM – 6:30PM schedules or half day depending on your needs. Please check them out for yourselves! Click here.