Rye Presbyterian Nursery School was created in 1958 by a small group of church parents, for the purpose of providing a weekday nursery school for children from the church and the community. The school provides placement for children of active members of the Rye Presbyterian Church and siblings of current and former students. Once this is accomplished, all other positions may be filled by applicants from the community. Entrance is not restricted by race, creed, or national origin. The first objective of this program is to provide a healthy atmosphere for the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development of our young children. The second objective called for in our By-Laws is to help parents towards a better understanding of their child's development and behavior. These goals remain the cornerstone of our program, 50 years later. As a not-for-profit agency, RPNS is directed by an Executive Board of Directors from the Rye Presbyterian Church and an Advisory Board consisting of church members, non church members, parents and the Director.
Initially established as a co-operative school with a paid Teacher/Director, parents were required to assist periodically in their child's classroom. The school served approximately 30 three and four year olds who attended morning classes. By 1976, the school had grown to a staff of 6 teachers with 60 students. RPNS remained at this size until 1983, when the current Director began, adding two year old classes, afternoon classes and additional expansion, as necessary. In 1992 RPNS became accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Accreditation recognizes exemplary programs, following a stringent review of the school’s curriculum, physical plant, health and safety standards, administrative procedures and professional qualifications. At present, a staff of 26 teachers supervises morning and afternoon classes for 322 two, three, four, and five year olds. A director, assistant director, coordinator of curriculum and staff development, a school nurse and an administrative assistant provide administrative support. A music teacher, child psychologist, speech therapist and occupational therapist provide additional support services.
As a "Reggio" inspired pre school, we believe that education is a process, brought on by the child's interaction with their immediate world. It is through playing in this world that each child is encouraged and stimulated to explore, to experiment and to discover, using their own unique learning style and interests. Our program uses an emergent curriculum that builds upon the interest of the children. "Project work" evolves from the children's ideas and interests and as teachers, children and parents collaborate to resource and research these ideas, children develop the critical thinking skills that are so necessary to succeed in Kindergarten. Teachers document the children's progress, validating the children's abilities and enabling ongoing assessment. This approach helps children to develop their curiosity, creativity, concentration, different means of expression, listening and observation skills.
As preschoolers play and negotiate with their classmates, they develop an awareness of their own feelings and the feelings of those around them. Children learn to make choices, consistent with their desires, yet respecting the rights and feelings of their classmates. As they learn to interact positively with other children and adults and practice conflict resolution skills when needed, their own self-esteem increases.
RPNS is committed to working effectively with students of varying abilities and to that end part time early childhood professionals provide additional instruction in speech, occupational therapy and educational support when needed. We not only believe strongly, but know through our experience that “early intervention” works! We are therefore extremely supportive of parents who wish to seek CPSE evaluation and remediation for their child, who may be experiencing difficulties.
Parent participation is one of the most important aspects and it is encouraged in many ways. Opportunities are provided for parenting seminars, ongoing parent conferencing, dialogue with the staff, attendance at field trips, participation in the Parent Organization and special classroom activities. Our “Reggio Inspired” project approach provides documentation of the children’s work and daily activities for parents to read. enjoy and follow their child’s progress. Our website, www.rpnskids.org, enables each class to have a secure area where the teachers create photo albums and weekly newsleters of their classes’ progress throughout the year. This area is accessible only to the parents of students in that class (via user name / password access)
We believe that play is the universal language of children and the medium used to encourage children to touch, feel, smell, hear, and see their world. As they play with blocks, children learn the principles necessary for math skills. When they manipulate puzzles and enjoy other sensory experiences, they are increasing the perceptual development that is a prerequisite for reading. As they paint, draw, and play with small manipulatives, they develop the dexterity needed for writing. And, as they involve themselves in each of these activities, they are interacting with others and practicing the language and social skills that are so necessary for them to succeed in the world beyond pre- school.
ROLE OF THE RPC EXECUTIVE BOARD
The RPC Executive Board approves the school's annual operating budget and monitors it's fiscal management.
ROLE OF THE RPNS ADVISORY BOARD
• The Advisory Board is responsible for the school and for the welfare of students and faculty.
• The Advisory Board supports the school's vision, philosophy, mission and goals.
• The Advisory Board plans, develops and establishes policy and regularly assesses the performance of the school.• The Advisory Board is responsible for developing the school’s annual operating budget, including compensation for personnel and tuition income. It reviews and ensures that the physical plant is adequate for the school's program.
• Administration of the school is delegated to the Director, subject to the Advisory Board’s review. The Advisory Board conducts an annual written review and evaluation of the Director’s performance in the administration of the school.
• Committees of the Advisory Board include the Executive, Personnel, Finance, Financial Aid and Capital Campaign. These committees consider issues and report and recommend action to the Advisory Board.