6-7s Building Study: Progressive Education

New School Year, New Building, New Beginnings

New School Year, New Building, New Beginnings

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

First Day at Manhattan Country School On Tuesday, families began to gather in front of Manhattan Country School a little bit earlier than usual. It wasn’t a typical first day of school—it was the first day of school in a new building. Three months had passed since MCS closed its doors on East 96th Street and children and grown-ups alike were eager to see their new school home.

Upper School students navigated through the chatting crowds of Lower School kids and parents gathered on the sidewalk. As they reached the front door they stopped to give George a welcome-back hug, handshake or high five. Crossing the building’s threshold for the first time, they found something familiar

—a grand marble staircase reminiscent of the one in the 96th Street townhouse. They bounded up the stairs, gathering on the second-floor landing to await Upper School Director Maiya Jackson’s ok to head to their new classrooms.

Meanwhile Lower School students waited on the sidewalk amidst celebratory blue balloons and groups of students comparing new sneakers and summer adventures. Many peeked through the front doors, spotting a large mural of the MCS Farm in the lobby and wanting to see more. When it was finally time to come into the building, gasps, smiles and wide eyes were common reactions as children and their parents took in the bright, white lobby.

Students and teachers spent the morning getting to know each other and their new spaces. Through tours of the building, students learned the locations of Upper School and Lower School classrooms, the “new Mezz,” the new nurse’s office and other important places. The Upper School held their opening assembly in Central Park. Others explored a new side of the park, as well.

After dismissal at noon, families made their way to Arthur Ross Pinetum in Central Park for the annual Parents’ Association first day of school picnic. Families dined on sandwiches and other fare before gathering around Director Michèle Solá as she shared her reflections on the journey to getting to our new home, the first day of school and our 50th anniversary. Inspired by how far MCS has come in five decades and excited about the future, the community paid tribute by joining voices to sing “Happy Birthday” to MCS. And, of course, it isn’t a celebration without cake—this one featuring a substantial yellow cake with white frosting adorned with a special MCS anniversary logo.