Co-op Nursery School

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The Co-op Nursery School offers a rich, supportive learning and socialization environment for young children ages 2-5 that includes active parental involvement. Social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth is fostered through a balanced, developmentally-based program. Our curriculum is focused on play-based learning and enhancing your child's first school experience through Helping Parent volunteers and community-based collaboration.



About Us

The West Side YMCA Co-op Nursery School was founded in 1964 by a group of parents in the Lincoln Center area who wanted to have more involvement in their children's first school experience. Starting from a single classroom with 30 children, one teacher, and a daily parent assistant, the school today comprises 10 classes serving 130 children between the ages of 2 to 5 years. In 2012, the Co-op Nursery School was awarded Outstanding Nursery School of the Year by The Blackboard Awards and continues to provide an excellent educational experience for families enrolled in Co-op Nursery School.  

Philosophy and Curriculum

The Co-op Nursery School believes strongly that young children learn through their play and experiences. For our youngest children, this means a special emphasis on the process of separation, adjustment to the school routine, and discovering the joys of new friends, teachers, activities and language. The 3-year-olds continue strengthening and refining social and physical skills, enjoying their role as a member of a group and the pure joy of discovering learning. The 4’s and 5’s enjoy their independence, classroom responsibilities and sharing their knowledge.

We value each child’s unique personality and temperament. Our daily program includes free-choice activities, outdoor play, group time, story time and music time. In addition to plenty of open-ended play, there are several special projects or activities daily including cooking, music, science, art and field trips. As a part of the West Side YMCA, the school places great emphasis on physical development and community awareness. Our program includes weekly swimming lessons and gymnasium visits.

The Co-op Nursery School values the presence and involvement of parents. By participating in the classroom on a regular basis as “Helping Parent,” parents see curriculum develop and children interact, and gain a true understanding of their child’s school experience. Parents participate as a “Helping Parent” on a rotating basis every 2-3 months. Every Co-op family also serves on one of several school committees, which sponsor school events and strengthen the school community.

Our Schedule
The Co-op Nursery School operates from mid-September to mid-June and follows the school calendar recommended by the Parents League of New York. 

2's: 2, 3 or 5 mornings (9 AM - 12 PM)
3's: 5 mornings (9 AM - 1 PM)
4's: 5 full days (9 AM - 2 PM)

Facility and Staff

Our school is housed in the West Side YMCA - an architectural treasure and landmark building. The Co-op Nursery School has six spacious, well-equipped classrooms with pediatric toilets in the classrooms, a library room, an art room, and indoor playspaces. Children and parents enjoy recreational and educational opportunities throughout the YMCA, including use of one of the two pools, which are kept at a temperature comfortable for children. The children play in the gymnasium, indoor playspaces, and in Central Park.

Each class has one head teacher, an assistant teacher and a Helping Parent. Many of the faculty members hold advanced degrees in Early Childhood Education or in a related field. Our program also has specialists in music, science, gym, art and swimming.


Interested families can apply online, and will then be contacted by the school to make an appointment for a tour. The school requires that each child participate in a playgroup experience with a member of our staff. After the school has received a completed application and $75 application fee, a date for the playgroup will be arranged with you by the school.


Financial assistance is available. The school welcomes students of any race, color, gender, religion and national or ethnic origin. It does not discriminate in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial assistance program or other school-administered programs.

Early Childhood Center Office at the West Side YMCA
5 West 63rd Street  NYC  10023  212-912-2652