Early Childhood @ MCC Frequently Asked Questions

What is your educational philosophy?    
Inspired by progressive schools around the world, we follow an emergent, project-based curriculum. We know that children learn best when engaged in work that is meaningful, ongoing and authentic to their interests and values. Children form tenable theories about how the world works, and test them through exploration and play.  

What is the role of teachers in your classrooms? 
We see our teachers as facilitators of children’s learning. When we recognize the incredible capabilities of young children, we realize that they come to school with real interests, knowledge and questions about their environment.  

Our teachers create classroom environments that are beautiful, responsive and full of possibilities, then observe children closely to plan experiences and ongoing projects to extend children’s meaning making. 

What is the child/teacher ratio? 
Our classroom sizes vary according to age group, length of day, and funding source. All of our classrooms have between two and three teachers per classroom. We also have floating teachers on staff, who assist in classrooms as needed throughout the week. 

Infants  Maximum 8 children per classroom 
Toddlers  Maximum 9 children per classroom
2’s   Maximum 8 children per classroom
3’s (3K)  15 children per classroom  
4s (UPK)  18 – 20 children per classroom 

What is the role of families in the school? 
We see families as our partners, joining together with children and teachers to create a connection between home and school. We communicate with parents at drop off and pick up, through documentation, newsletters and emails, and at regular parent/teacher conferences. Our teachers strive to keep lines of communication open, and are available for meetings and check-ins throughout the year, as needed. 

What is the length of your school year?
Our school year operates from September to July. In order to prepare for the upcoming school year, our school is closed for summer break during the month of August.

What are your program schedules? 
Standard school hours are Monday through Friday, 8:15 am – 3:15 pm. *Limited number of after-care seats (3:15 pm – 5 pm).  

Do you offer meals during the school day? 
Our onsite Kosher kitchen provides balanced and nutritious meals (daily breakfast, lunch and snack) to all children enrolled. In consideration of children who have allergies, and as a safety precaution, outside food is not permitted (with the exception of breast-milk for younger children).  

Do children need to be toilet trained? 
We believe each child has their own timeline, and work with families to support this developmental milestone. Toilet training is not a requirement for enrollment in any of our classrooms. 

What are your tuition rates?
We are an economically integrated school that welcomes families from various socio-economic backgrounds. We incorporate Early Head Start, Head Start, Universal Pre-Kindergarten (3K + UPK), and tuition funding to serve families across the Lower East Side.

Half of our Infants, Toddlers and 2s seats are funded by tuition, and half are funded by Early Head Start (free of charge for eligible families). Visit mannycantor.org/tuition for 2024-25 tuition rates.

Seats for 3 and 4 year olds are funded by the Department of Education and Head Start, and are free of charge for all enrolled families.

I am interested in applying for a tuition-funded seat. Am I able to pay on a month-to-month basis, based on need for care that month?
Families who enroll in a tuition-funded seat commit to the entire school year’s tuition for the days outlined in their contract. This financial commitment allows us to plan for a fully funded school year, and helps us provide the same quality of care for your child.

I am interested in applying for an Early Head Start or Head Start funded seat. How do I know if I am eligible?
Early Head Start funding allows us to serve eligible families with children under age of 3 and expecting families; Head Start funding allows to serve eligible families with children 3 – 4 years of age.

Your family may qualify for Early Head Start/Head Start if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • Your family is unhoused, and you live in temporary housing
  • If you are applying for a seat for a foster child
  • You receive public benefits in the form of SSI, SNAP or Cash Assistance
  • Your total family income falls below a certain amount

Families considered for Early Head/Head Start seats will be invited to an eligibility meeting, so that we may learn more about your family, and review supporting income documentation.

When is the best time to apply?
While we accept applications on a rolling basis, priority application deadlines vary by age group. Typically, the best time to submit an application is during the winter before the start of the school year (limited seats available).

  • The 2024-25 application for Infants, Toddlers and 2s will open December 2023.
  • We expect the Department of Education to open 2024-25 3K and UPK applications at the end of January.

May I visit the school?
Information sessions will be offered in-person from November 2023 to March 2024. Registration required; limited spaces available.