by Kate Delacorte and Meredith Gary, Co-directors, The Downtown Little School

Children learn about their world and their place within it in many different ways. Nursery school is an excellent source of social and emotional learning (as well, of course, as many other kinds of learning). Children explore relationships; they also observe relationships. They experiment with behavior and they watch other children behaving … and misbehaving.

by Mary Biggs, Director, Basic Trust Day Care

When I was asked to write an article on what it takes to run a good child care program for children under the age of five, I thought “What an impossible question. I want to answer it!”


Do power struggles define the relationship between you and your child? How can adults teach children to gain self-control, respect the rights of others, accept responsibility for their own behavior, and learn from their mistakes? This video explores discipline from a developmental perspective and focus on teaching and learning — rather than on punishing.

by GINA MALIN, Executive Director, Parents League of New York

One of the best parts of my job as director of the Parents League Advisory Services is the opportunity to visit schools. Annually, I visit over 30 independent or private schools, from preschool to high school, and occasionally a boarding school. There is nothing like seeing a school in action. And nothing brings me more joy than visiting a preschool. I am often asked, “What should I look for in a preschool?” My answer is simple: Joy. Of course, this simple answer may not seem an adequate response to what can feel like a complex question.

by MEREDITH GARY Co-director, Downtown Little School (Review 2009)

Children under five do not understand the difference between real and pretend. This is hard for adults to imagine, especially because children this age do know how to pretend; they can “feed” a baby doll, they can pretend a row of chairs is a “train.” However, when children do these pretend things, the games feel real. If you, with a straight face, tell a young child that the “train” he is sitting on is on fire, he may be genuinely afraid.