Celebrating 50 Years of Early Childhood Development

A Play-Based, Interactional Approach to Learning

Explore Classrooms
Apply Now
Explore Classrooms
Apply now

The mission of Purple Circle is to preserve, celebrate and respect children’s right to PLAY.

An Introduction

“Experience is a moving force when it arouses curiosity, strengthens initiative, and sets up desires and purposes.” – John Dewey

At Purple Circle Early Childhood Program, children have the opportunity to interact with materials and develop connections with both children and adults. Purple Circle is an independent Early Childhood Program that supports the development and education of infants, toddlers, and children ages 5 months through 6 years. Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, it was founded in 1972 as a parent cooperative that values families as integral members of the school community. The partnership between families and teachers is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth of children. Our exceptional student-to-teacher ratio affords teachers time to observe, describe, and document all children closely in order to know them as unique individuals. Knowing children as unique individuals, Purple Circle is able to provide a variety of materials in every classroom that supports each child’s strengths and interests. Outdoor play is an essential component in the development of children. Neighborhood parks such as Camel Park, Red Park, Hippo Park, Tot Lot, and Riverside Park are visited daily by teachers and children.

Purple Circle is a non-denominational, parent cooperative childcare center, operating year around and licensed by the New York City Department of Health to care for children three months to six years old. We are a non-profit, non-discriminatory school welcoming children and families of all racial, religious, socio-economic, national, or ethnic origins and family configurations.

A Peek Inside the Classroom

A Note from the Director

Welcome to the Purple Circle school website. I hope that our website will give you a chance to discover our school’s commitment to children, families and our community. Since December 2000, as the director of Purple Circle, I have had the opportunity to build upon the play-based curriculum originally established in 1972.

I have worked alongside our teachers to preserve the theory that children learn best through play. It is through close observation of children at play that our teachers develop curriculum and come to know the children as thinkers and learners. Our teachers are dedicated to creating a safe and inclusive classroom community that supports each child’s strengths and interests.

All children need to play.

Elaine Karas, Executive Director

Apply now for September 2024