Reformative Education in Greenwich Village
By Dawn Lesley Stewart and Zola Oyer
New Location on West 10th Street
Something was missing in the New York City education scene when I founded Perry School in 2001.
Namely, attention dedicated towards early childhood development was sparse at best. There were some daycares, yes, but they were more focused on keeping the children entertained and contained rather than exploring the limitless possibility of joyful learning in all areas of early childhood. I saw a pressing need to raise the bar and give young children their right to be intellectually, physically and socially superb. In keeping with ground breaking spirit of Greenwich Village educators that paved the way for progressive education in America, I made it my mission to be at the forefront of innovative and more effective methods of teaching.
I was in the heart of the historic progressive Greenwich Village, my fellow organizations inspired by the likes of renowned philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey;
Caroline Pratt, who created City and Country School in 1914, set forth on her endeavor that encouraged a flexible child centered curriculum. Little Red Schoolhouse, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday with a new playground, was founded by Elisabeth Irwin with the intent to get children to engage in the world around them, and validated childhood as its own experience. Young children are extremely intelligent, but many spend their early childhood years as if they are not. This is where I saw my opportunity to change the educational landscape in New York. I opted for a soothing earth-toned color palette and developed programs such as Think Tank, Les Beaux Arts, Teach Kids to Give and a unique Physical Program in an effort to utilize these precious years to the fullest and instill the joy of learning for a lifetime.
With the fall fast approaching, families new and old are flocking into the village to prepare for the Back to School season. As Greenwich Village residents we are fortunate to be surrounded by such an active warm community that offers such diverse and eclectic learning opportunities. I have included a Back to School guide that includes a little something for everyone.
Founder/Director Perry School
Perry Street 2002
Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin High School
Founder: Elisabeth Irwin
Address: 272 Sixth Avenue, New York, Ny 10014
Elisabeth Irwin believed that engaging in the world around you was one of the best educational experiences a child could have.
City and Country School
Founder: Caroline Pratt
Address: 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
Caroline Pratt placed emphasis on empathy, collaboration and communication in education.
Grace Church School
Founder: The Grace Church
Address: 86 Fourth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
The institution is known for its rigorous academics as well as its founding on Episcopal principles.
P.S. 41 – Greenwich Village School
Address of School: 116 West 11th Street, New York, NY 10011
P.S. 41 is committed to the promotion of diversity, and believes that every child deserves a quality learning experience.
P.S. 3 – The John Melser Charrette School
Address: 490 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
P.S. 3 boasts a strong arts program, and works to integrate the arts into the curriculum.
Downing Street Playgroup
Address: 37 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014
Play-based learning is a cornerstone of this West Village institution.
St. Luke’s School
Founder: St. Luke’s Church
Address: 487 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
St. Luke’s School is committed to creating well-rounded individuals, and understands that education happens when the community comes together.
West Village Nursery School
Address: 76 Horatio Street, New York, NY 10014
The school’s founders, a group of local mothers, wanted an emphasis placed on parent involvement.
Village Community School
Address: 272 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014
Acts of service and community outreach are the backbone of this school.
Barrow Street Nursery School
Address: 27 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014
Barrow Street Nursery School considers imagination to be of very high value.
Morton School of Excellence
Address: 229 West 16th Street
The school provided students with a strong academic foundation, and encourages them to continue their academic pursuits even after they’ve graduated.
La Petite Ecole: Nurturing Global Citizens through Bilingual Education
Address: 159 West 82nd Street, New York, NY 10024
This hidden gem offers classes in both English and French and emphasizes an international perspective.
Tisch School of the Arts – NYU
Address: 721 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
The famous school offers a place for artists of all backgrounds to hone their craft and take their artistic abilities to new heights.
The New School
Founder: John Dewey
Address: 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011
Phone number: 212 229 5600
The New School’s defining feature is its commitment to the value of learning that adapts to the changing needs of society, rather than conforming to traditional norms.
Academy of Saint Joseph’s: Empowering Young Women through Faith, Excellence, and Service
Founder: Sisters of St. Joseph
Address: 111 Washington Place, New York, NY 10014
Phone number: 212 243 5420
Since its founding, the school has specialized in shaping its students into strong, empowered and compassionate women.
Manhattan School: Nurturing Excellence in a Supportive Community
Address: 7 East 96th Street, New York NY 10128
Phone number: 212 410 3140
Manhattan School encourages risk-taking and the embracing of challenges in order to become successful students.
Notre Dame School
Founder: Sisters of St. Ursula
Address: 327 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014
The famous Catholic school fosters the spirit of inquiry within its students, helping them become responsible members of society once they graduate.
Harvest Collegiate School
Founder: New York City Department of Education
Address: 34 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011
Phone number: 212 242 3384
Social justice is at the core of this tucked-away school, as is a commitment to teaching its students to be compassionate and understanding of the ever-changing world around them.
Lifelong Skills & Opportunities Center
Address: 27 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014
Phone number: 917 261 4598
The Lifelong Skills & Opportunities Center offers resume and job search support among many other amazing opportunities.
Westbeth Artists Housing
Address: 155 Bank Street, New York, NY 10014
Phone number: 212 255 5191
The senior center at Westbeth partners with cultural institutions and politicians for events, and hosts a slew of art programs and fun opportunities. Each week the center serves a hot lunch!
Senior Center on the Square
Address: 20 Washington Square N, New York, NY 10011
Senior Center on the Square puts importance on friendship, and included in the activities are bingo, health lectures, card games and more.
Academy of St. Joseph
Address: 111 Washington Pl, New York, NY 10014
Phone number: 212 243 5420
Academy of St. Joseph prioritizes a sense of community, featuring parent-inclusive Morning Assemblies twice a week.
Les Beaux Arts
Perry School Graduation 2021