View Full Version : All NYC Avant-Garde 'Anti-Preschool' Upper Valley Preschool Launching on Upper West Side

08-21-2013, 09:49 AM
From DNAinfo.com (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130821/upper-west-side/avant-garde-anti-preschool-launching-on-upper-west-side) by Emily Frost:

Body painting, yoga stretches, Latvian memory games and eating sardines while pretending to be dolphins.

What sound like exercises for an experimental theater workshop in Brooklyn are actually lessons that will be taught at a new "avant-garde" preschool on the Upper West Side opening its doors Oct. 1.

Neighborhood moms and dads are lining up for a spot at what founder Maria Dantos calls her "anti-preschool," which is moving into an 11,000-square-foot space on West 96th Street at Columbus Avenue for children from 3 months to 5 years old.

"I have a more holistic approach to education. It's not the corporate thing," said Dantos, whose preschool is the outgrowth of a small, popular in-home daycare that had a waiting list of 100 kids.

"It's like Brooklyn comes to Manhattan," she added.

Tired of the more traditional preschool she worked at on the Upper West Side, and at the behest of parents, Dantos broke away and formed her own playgroup inside a two-bedroom brownstone on West 88th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in 2010.

Now, what started as a collection of 12 kids and four teachers is set to take off as an official 80-child preschool that Dantos hopes will have the same community vibe her playgroup was known for.

Teachers at Upper Valley Preschool (http://www.uppervalleypreschool.org/), most of whom have master's degrees, will have creative discretion to lead their classes.

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