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River Park Nursery School

Grades: Pre-K
Staff Pick
711 Amsterdam Avenue
Manhattan NY 10025
Phone: 212-663-1205

Our Insights

What’s Special

Experienced teachers; family co-op

The Downside

Demand outweighs available seats

River Park Nursery School has a glowing reputation on the Upper West Side for its gentle and loving approach. Maria Nunziata and Cindy Berman have been teaching young children there for more than three decades. In 2016, they hired two new teachers who attended River Park themselves as children.

"We place a lot of emphasis on each child's contribution," said Nunziata on a parent tour. "If you know anything about River Park, you know we're very tuned in to our kids."

The nursery school was founded as a family cooperative in 1967. Parents volunteer 25-35 hours during the school year. They accompany children on field trips, assist at lunch or help maintain the space.

Three and 4-year olds work and play in the same open space, which is divided by shelves stocked with blocks, costumes, puzzles and more. They sometimes break into groups for storytelling, show and tell and activities such as cooking or writing. "We don't expect them to be reading and writing but all are on their way," by the time they leave, Nunziata said. "It's about individual growth."

Long-established routines suit the rhythms of young children, with work and play in the morning, singing and clean up, then stories, lunch and rest, outdoor play, snack, and more activities until dismissal. "The more predictable the routine, the more empowered they feel," Nunziata said.

Right outside is a safe and inviting play area. Teachers take out tricycles, a balance beam, a teeter-totter and more. As seasons change, kids examine the seedpods and colored leaves that fall from the trees. They take walks to the green market, the firehouse, and the library, holding a rope with loops so they all stay together.

River Park is located on the ground floor of a residential building. The furniture is set up and put away daily by a custodian because the building uses the space after hours. The room is very clean as a resultfreshly swept tile floors, no dust bunniesbut also a tad utilitarian.

Lunch is available from Junior's Fresh, a healthy food vendor started by a New York City mom, with healthy versions of kid standards, such as butternut squash mac 'n cheese.

Parents may pay for an extra hour until 4 pm.

ADMISSIONS: The ten privately enrolled 3-year-old children have priority for the 18 pre-k spots. More than 175 families applied for the remaining 8 spots in 2016. (Lydie Raschka, February 2017)

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School Stats

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

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2018-2019

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 2021-22 Demographic Snapshot

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

Contact & Location


Upper West Side (District 3)
Trains: 1 Line, 2 Line, 3 Line, B Line, C Line to 96th St
Buses: M10, M104, M106, M11, M5, M96


Other Details

Shared campus?
Metal detectors?

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