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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.


EMAIL: UCNSRegistrar@gmail.com 
PHONE: 607.266.9680


59 Dart Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850 
(please contact us to schedule a visit)


  • UCNS is now enrolling for the 2018-2019 school year! Contact our Registrar at ucnsregistrar@gmail.com to schedule a Come & Play Day at UCNS!


  • UCNS Annual Yard Sale Fundraiser - May 19, 2018