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The Children's Workshop School

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
610 East 12 Street
Manhattan NY 10009
Phone: 212-614-9531

Our Insights

What’s Special

Warm and welcoming school with rich arts instruction and small class sizes

The Downside

No real gymnasium; very early lunch for some children in this shared building

One of four small, progressive schools in the East Village, The Children's Workshop School prides itself on the fact that the racial, ethnic and economic diversity inside the building closely reflects the population outside the building. The staff make-up is also noticeably diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity and race.

Hallmarks of CWP include semester-long themes on topics like water, immigration and the city. Children delve into artsy, hands-on projects. First and 2nd graders are mixed together but separated into age-level groups for math. No other grades are "bridged" in that way but teachers stay with the same children for 3th and 4th grade, a strategy called "looping."

Principal Maria Velez-Clarke co-founded the school in 1993 and based it on the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are no Christmas or Halloween parties, but every January the kids put on a big celebration and performance to commemorate the late civil rights activist.

Children call teachers by their first names and teachers relate to children in an easy-going, matter-of-fact way. Many lessons have an active component: addition is explored using beads and pipe cleaners in one room and colored wooden rods in another. Teachers used expressive voices and kids leaned forward to watch and listen: "I like that!" said a boy, spontaneously, after a math demonstration.

Art, music, technology, drama and music teachers connect what happens in their classes with social studies themes and classroom work. Much of the student work incorporates art. Children draw food chains and water cycles. They make colorful charts in math showing how many ways you can add two numbers to make ten, for example.

Field trips are significant here and by our early December visit 2nd graders had already been to the Central Park reservoir, Lake Tear of the Clouds, the NYC watershed, Highbridge Park and other places related to their study of water. "These kids know more about New York City than I do," said Joyce Borden, the school's longtime secretary, who remembers carrying mace in her bag on her walk to school when the East Village was more crime-ridden than it is now.

Children's Workshop has succeeded in raising test scores without compromising its project-based approach. A math consultant works with staff and parents, and a reading specialist works one-on-one with a handful of 1st graders in a program called Reading Recovery. There is afterschool test prep starting in February for grades 3 and 4.

Children's Workshop has a makeshift gymnasium and a small cafeteria. Children must eat in shifts starting at 10:30 am. Recess takes place on the playground or in nearby parks on nice days, and in the auditorium watching a movie when the weather is poor.

To maintain its diversity, teachers spread flyers and visit pre-k programs and public housing developments. The school gives scholarships to anyone who can't afford the afterschool fee and each child has a designated "special day" hosted by the child's family. A father who lives across the street in Campos Houses said children (including his own) are happy at CWP, "and if they're happy everything else is taken care of."

Children's Workshop shares a 100-year old building with the progressive East Village Community School, and PS 94, a District 75 school for children with special education needs, who attend classes at CWP.

Special education: To a great extent, the school includes children with special needs in general education classrooms with extra support. One class on each grade has two teachers, one of whom is trained in special education.

Admissions: Priority to children from District 1. The school occasionally has room for out of district families but the wait list is growing. "There's shuffling until the end of October," said a kindergarten teacher. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and English language learners have priority for more than half the seats. Children's Workshop came "very, very close to fulfilling our diversity goal," in 2017, says principal Maria Velez Clarke, in part because the staff does outreach to daycares in the community. (Lydie Raschka, December 2015; update by phone, 2017)

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2022-2023 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
0% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
84% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
53% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
Activities: Children explore art, music, sand/water, dramatic play and more
Language: Teachers talk and listen to kids in a supportive way
Interaction: Teachers ask kids good questions and invite back-and-forth conversation

Who does this school serve?

From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners
Pre-K seats

From 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

Average daily attendance
90% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
40% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
30% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
23% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
21% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
12% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


East Village (District 1)
Trains: L Line to 1st Ave
Buses: M14A, M14D, M15, M15-SBS, M23, M8, M9


Maria Velez Clarke
Parent Coordinator
Dorothy Cantwell

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with the East Village Community School

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