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Our School Day

Our school day starts at 8:45 and ends at 11:45. Our typical day looks like this:

8:45    Arrival / Sign InTeacher reads picture book to children.

9:00    Morning Meeting

9:15     Free Play / Investigations

10:20   Clean Up

10:30   Book Break

10:45   Handwashing / Snacktime

11:00   Dressing / Outdoor Time

11:45    Parent Pick-up

UCNS is open from September through June. Our calendar follows closely, although not exactly, the Ithaca City and Lansing Central school district calendars. Children may enroll 5 days a week (Monday-Friday), 3 days a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), or 2 days a week (Tuesday/Thursday).

Our Facility

UCNS is located at 59 Dart Drive in Ithaca, NY, in a house that is owned and maintained by Cornell University. The building has been modified to accommodate the needs of a preschool classroom while still retaining its homey, non-institutional feel.

Our school has two inviting classrooms with lots of windows and natural light, a kitchen for food preparation and baking projects, a family room for socializing, a library, and an administrative office.

The classrooms are thoughtfully laid out to encourage children to engage in a variety of activities during their morning playtime including art projects, sensory tables, writing, reading, building, and imaginative play. Our classroom and the activities available evolve throughout the year to meet the changing needs of the children.

Boy fingerpaints with blue paint

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.”
— Fred Rogers, American television personality, 1928-2003




Our outdoor space is a large fenced-in yard. On one end, there are play structures, swings, playhouses, cars and bikes, a sandbox, and an outdoor water table. The other side of the playground is a grassy open area for running and experiencing the pleasures of the changing seasons—water play in hot weather, playing with leaves in fall, sledding and making snowmen in winter.Boy pushes makes a track in the snow with a tunnel