Early Childhood at Manny Cantor Center | Our Mission and Philosophy


Early Childhood at Manny Cantor Center is an inspired, responsive and progressive neighborhood preschool built on the following principles: All children are competent, capable, and curious. All families have something to contribute. We are stronger together. Our school incorporates Head Start, Early Head Start, Universal Pre-K, tuition, and private funding to serve all families on the Lower East Side and beyond.


Early Childhood at Manny Cantor Center follows an emergent, project-based curriculum inspired by progressive schools around the world. We know that children are competent, capable and curious beings who come to school with real interests, knowledge and questions about their environment. Our teachers create joyful learning environments that foster inquiry, exploration and reflection, and work collaboratively with children to co-construct curriculum that draws inspiration from the world around us. Families are our partners, working together to build a seamless bridge between home and school and to nurture and celebrate children’s complex identities.


Early Childhood at MCC is nestled in the Manny Cantor Center, a living laboratory of the universal Jewish values of inclusion, diversity, and community. Housed in the flagship building of the historic Educational Alliance, MCC offers award-winning programs, critical services and exciting events for toddlers, teens, young adults, and older adults of all backgrounds.


Our classrooms are safe, respectful, and joyful environments where children learn through inquiry, investigation and play. Environments are intentionally designed to encourage children to explore, ask questions, take risks, and persevere in working toward their goals. We are proud of our long history on the Lower East Side, and draw on the resources of our neighborhood and community center to enrich daily life in our classrooms.