Inside Manhattan Country School: March 2019
Message from Manhattan Country School Director Michèle Solá
This is an exciting time at Manhattan Country School, as we are expanding to two classes per grade and enjoying a new facility renovated with learning, light and air in mind. I am thrilled you are considering MCS for your family. While the reasons families choose MCS are as individual as the families themselves, there are common themes in what they seek for their children.
An Engaging Progressive Education Program
Our way of thinking about children and learning draws upon a rich history of progressive educational philosophy. Children are excited to learn, think critically and articulate their opinions, and develop strong academic skills. In addition, they come to understand the values of a working democracy: interdependence, self-reliance, free inquiry and a respect for differences.
Core academic subjects like social studies, language arts, science, math, Spanish, music, art, woodshop and physical education, and a host of electives ranging from rhythm and poetry to robotics are all part of our program. Teachers frequently collaborate, and students do the same. Technology is integrated meaningfully. A few of the hallmarks of progressive education at MCS are the projects where students work together within grades and among older and younger classes. The use of New York City as a rich resource for learning is extensive. And nothing could be more distinguishing than the 17 weeks spent at the MCS Farm.
A Diverse Community
Research by The Century Foundation and other organizations shows that children in racially and economically mixed classes perform better academically and develop stronger critical thinking and problem-solving skills on average than children in homogeneous classrooms. What’s more, exposure to diversity increases cross-racial knowledge, understanding and empathy; better prepares students for employment in the global economy; and increases engagement in political issues and participation in the democratic process. And it’s not just the children who benefit from diversity at MCS. The whole family becomes part of the MCS community, a supportive network of parents and caregivers, faculty and staff, and alumni families who represent a diverse range of ideas and experiences.
A Commitment to Social Justice and Activism
Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideals of equality and nonviolence, MCS has held activism and social justice as core components of our curriculum since our founding. Parents appreciate that from pre-K to eighth grade their children learn to value human rights and understand multiple viewpoints. Their children also see first hand the difference they can make when they stand up for what they believe in.
A Desire to Live More Sustainably
Families value the unparalleled experience provided by the time their children spend at the MCS Farm. The farm program teaches children how to run a working farm, live sustainably and be responsible for themselves and to their community in an atmosphere where they consistently engage in meaningful learning.
Like the families of the many children who have attended MCS since we opened our doors in 1966, I’m sure one or more of the above reasons resonate with your family. As you make your decision about whether MCS is right for your family, I invite you to read the articles written by MCS teachers and administrators to learn even more about what your child will gain by attending MCS.
Manhattan Country School