UCNS Banner Image. Text: UCNS A Cooperative Play-Based Nursery School located in Ithaca, N.Y.

UCNS Banner Image. Text: UCNS A Cooperative Play-Based Nursery School located in Ithaca, N.Y.

Learning Through Play

At UCNS, we ask children to learn by doing what young children do best – play!  UCNS is a play-based, parent cooperative preschool where all children are loved and respected, and all aspects of their development—social, emotional, physical, cognitive—are nurtured.  For over 45 years, UCNS has been a place that is truly focused on enriching the lives of children and families.

Children ages 3 to 5 years old are welcomed to UCNS and may enroll for 2, 3, or 5 mornings a week. UCNS began as a parent cooperative nursery school on the Cornell campus in the early 1970’s and has grown to serve both the needs of the Cornell community and the wider community in Ithaca. We participate as a Universal Pre-K Community Partner with the Ithaca City School district.

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
— Henri Matisse, French painter, 1869-1954

Each day at UCNS, children explore art, science, dramatic play, blocks, books, storytelling, manipulatives and more, using a wide variety of materials, including natural and recycled objects. The classroom is constantly evolving to meet the children's changing needs as they unfold over the school year. Teachers provide leadership as they model developmentally appropriate practice, curriculum, and their skilled, loving support of the children. Together, parents and teachers form a close community, committed to fostering healthy growth and development in each child.


In the winter of 2019, UCNS will begin scheduling Come & Play Days for families interested in enrolling their child at UCNS in the 2019-2020 school year! During a Come & Play Day, children are invited to play during the school day, while their parents observe the classroom, tour the school, meet the teachers and learn more about the program at UCNS.

To schedule a Come & Play Day or if you have other questions about enrollment and the program at UCNS, please email the Registrar at UCNSRegistrar@gmail.com, call our school office at 607.266.9680, or fill out our contact us form below.



Our school is located at 59 Dart Drive, Ithaca, NY, one block from the Route 13 intersection just off Warren Road and a convenient drive from Cornell University, Ithaca, and Lansing. (Please contact us to schedule a visit— see below.)


EMAIL: UCNSRegistrar@gmail.com 
PHONE: 607.266.9680

To schedule a visit, please fill out the form below.

Name *
Your First and Last Name
I am interested in: *
Please choose one:
The email subject
The name and birthdate of the child you wish to enroll