Our Location and Facility
Beautiful. That is usually the first word we hear from a new visitor. Our interior space is modern, but organic, with a light spacious open feeling. Everywhere you look there are elegant arches and rounded columns, accents of spring green against warm tones of pine and spruce.
Our space has life and clarity, a fresh elegance and inviting warmth. Natural light pours in from the enormous windows that look out onto the plaza and its famous Jean Dubuffet sculpture, "Group of Four Trees."
Pine Street School was lovingly and meticulously designed by founder Dr. Jennifer Jones, who was inspired by the schools of Northern Europe, where natural light abounds and environments are homey and soothing.
Light is a key feature of our school. Each classroom enjoys a wall-sized window that looks out either onto the large plaza on Pine Street on the north side or out at historic Wall Street on the south side.
Classrooms are outfitted with tables and chairs that can be moved and adjusted to suit the work at hand. No two days are alike in a Pine Street School classroom, and so the furniture and flexible seating supports versatility for teachers and students. One day a student may work alone or with a friend. Another in a small group or with the entire class. Perhaps a discussion works best in a circle or a “U” shape. Perhaps it’s best around tables.
Just as modern adults work best in adaptable environments, so do Pine Street School students who are using sophisticated collaborative strategies to develop inquiries, build skill and problem solve.
Even walls are adjustable at Pine Street School. Each elementary classroom features walls that can be collapsed or partially separated to connect one classroom to another, possibly for cross-disciplinary or mixed-age work. Two teams of teachers can easily collaborate on a special project by changing the wall that divides them.
Not only that, but all elementary walls are writeable and projectable at Pine Street School. This means that all walls are essentially “Smart Boards”, providing students and teachers with ultimate flexibility in how work and discussions are implemented. Students can easily write on walls as they work through problems, share ideas with classmates, present to the group.
Plus, all elementary students have an iPad that allows them to project remotely onto walls to share their work, research, recordings with the class.
We built our entire facility to give students agency in their work and to encourage teachers to approach differentiation of instruction with creativity and ingenuity.
New! Arts and Athletics Center at 156 William Street
Just a short walk from Pine Street School, in the heart of the Financial District, the new Arts and Athletics Center will take experiential learning to the next level. Designed to inspire creativity, athleticism, and community, the Center is beautifully appointed with flexible learning spaces including, dance and movement rooms, fine art and music areas, lockers, basketball/volleyball court, performing arts stage, and so much more.
Opening soon for Pine Street School’s full array of daily co-curricular, physical education, and enrichment programs, beginning June 2023, this center will be a welcoming hub of inspiration for children as they engage in a variety of Summer Camp sessions, including an expanded sports program, and a variety of STEM, fine arts, and performing arts camps. The 2023-2024 school year will provide expanded opportunities for students at both Pine Street School and Battery Park Montessori, and their families to take full advantage of the new event center.
How Our Students Experience New York City
At Pine Street School the learning extends beyond the walls of the school.
Pine Street School was designed to support connections and transparency. This means that as you walk the halls, you can easily see through our beautiful porthole windows into each classroom. You are invited to peek and find inspiration in what students are doing. And they are invited to see you and appreciate your interest in their work. Other students passing by find inspiration in what their peers are doing, and so our windows help to ignite connections that spur creative ideas.
When you look through the porthole, you’ll not only see the classroom but straight through to the outside. We want constant reminders of that outside world, because that is what we are preparing for inside.
Even the hallways and adjacent spaces were designed to support learning. All spaces in Pine Street School are extensions of the classroom. Hallways were built to be wide enough to support big format project work. Yes, feel free to walk around those students building something in the hall. Get inspired! Share a comment about their work. That interaction feeds the energy of the place.
“When I was a teacher,” says Dr. Jones, our founder, “I taught science to elementary students, and I never had space for experiments. We had to fit into these cramped classrooms filled with desks. No room for the exciting big format work.”
At Pine Street School there is room for any type of project, anywhere.
Nooks are everywhere to invite informal collaborations, quiet moments alone or with friends, perhaps even lunch with mom, dad or a loving relative. Informal spaces in a school are important because not everything happens in a classroom.
You will notice images of forests all around the school. Our founder, Dr. Jones, grew up in a natural setting, roaming free on weekends through forests, climbing trees, walking through streams, and connecting with nature. She installed these images to evoke the idea of free spirited learning and exploration, which is at the heart of what we do at Pine Street School.
Where History Changed the World
Pine Street School is located in one of the world’s most historic neighborhoods.
Next door is Federal Hall where George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States.
Just across the street from there is the New York Stock Exchange, sitting at an intersection visited by millions of people every year from every corner of the globe.
All around our school there are visible clues to the history that happened here, much of which changed the course of humanity.
So, when our founder chose our location, she was thinking about the significance of this place and all the opportunities for rich, hands-on learning it would offer generations of students.
We happen to be in one of New York’s most booming residential areas. This means that world class public amenities are constantly coming online.
The South Street Seaport has undergone a major renovation and now offers a gorgeous public plaza, rooftop performance space, luxury shops and waterfront recreation and dining.
Adjacent historic Fulton Street offers a beautiful, family-friendly walkable community with shops and restaurants and a year-round schedule of family events like outdoor movies, popup museums, holiday events, ice skating and more.
Pier 15 is a grass-covered elevated park where you can take a picnic and gaze up and down the East Hudson River, watch nearby helicopters take off and land, admire the Brooklyn Bridge at its best angle, and enjoy the twinkling lights of Brooklyn and the night sky.
Imagination Playground is just a few short blocks from our school, and this is our students’ favorite play spot. They also enjoy the playground on Pearl Street and the Elevated Acre play field and gardens on Water Street.
An innovative new water park and playground opened in 2018 at Battery Park, which our students have been able to visit during the summer months. Our students have also enjoyed visiting the Urban Farm in Battery Park, to discover more about urban gardening, with opportunities for farming in a dedicated plot.
Our Financial District neighborhood – fondly called FiDi – has become a destination for families worldwide, and numerous highrise residential buidlings are under construction to make room for them. Strollers abound, and some have started calling this “The Diaper District”. FiDi Families and HRP Mamas are great resources and networks for all families in the neighborhood!
School Without Walls
Pine Street School was founded to be a “school without walls” that embraces its regional assets and invites students to take learning out into the dynamic world of our neighborhood and into the expansive city of New York.
Schools are often built as compounds, and students are often expected to remain inside of theirbuilding and even inside of their classrooms all day, every day. But we know that the richest kind of learning happens out in the world, where all the senses come alive, where interactions and observations are authentic and happen in real time and often unexpectedly.
So as a school we take full advantage of New York City, its museums, cultural institutions, theaters, laboratories, universities, environmental projects, parks, urban centers, ethnographies, historical landmarks, community gatherings and more.
We tap into the multilingual nature of this extraordinary city, celebrating our own growing fluency in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese in a city rich in both languages.
Just a short walk from our school is Chinatown, where our students can practice Mandarin Chinese while absorbing cultural information in a real world setting.
Everywhere we go we encounter Spanish speakers from every part of the Spanish-speaking diaspora. New York City gives us an unprecedented opportunity not only for applied immersion but for learning about the vast and complex nature of Spanish-speaking cultures.
Getting Involved and Connected
Learning in this way not only awakens the senses and brings our academic curriculum to life, but it reinforces the idea of community participation, getting involved, being a part ofthe bigger conversations that shape society. Going out into New York City encourages our students to absorb and appreciate the history behind every street, building and neighborhood.
We acknowledge, as we learn about our history-rich community, how fortunate we are to be here. We see millions of people from around the world and we remind ourselves that we are lucky enough to live and learn here.
Pine Street School is all about seeing connections. Seeing the connections among the disciplines, seeing the connections that shape society, seeing the connections among cultures. By going out into the city and exploring every inch, we are connecting ourselves to it and stepping into the conversation.
Proximity and Transportation
We are literally at the hub of transportation in New York City. Every form of transportation – subway, ferry, car, bike, feet – can get to and from our location with ease.
- Two express subway lines let out on our doorstep: the 2/3 and the 4/5.
- The East River Ferry pulls up just a few blocks away and speeds across the river to DUMBO and Williamsburg.
- We are equidistant from both the West Side Highway and the FDR, both with bike paths, making it simple to get uptown from downtown or downtown to Brooklyn by car or bike.
- The Brooklyn Bridge is a short walk or bike ride from our door.