AmPark Neighborhood School is a small K-5 school, established in 2006, located within the Amalgamated Park Reservoir Cooperative Housing community in the Bronx. The residents of this community (in existence since 1927) were the co-authors of our proposal to establish this unique learning environment. AmPark is situated just steps from Van Cortlandt Park where our children enjoy their daily recess in the playground.
AmPark has a wonderfully active family community, with dozens of events and celebrations taking place across the year.
Our classrooms reflect diversity; ethnically, socially, and developmentally. Students and teachers are provided with opportunities to work collaboratively. Our classrooms are designed to provide a variety of opportunities for learning. Project-based learning is an integral part of our curriculum. Children are encouraged to build, draw, paint, write, cook, sew, research and record, and to use peers, teachers and classroom
materials as resources to answer questions and get support. Classrooms are organized so that students can work independently or in small groups. The workshop model provides time for direct instruction, independent work, and class share time. Children are encouraged to review and reflect on shared and independent work. Questions and comments from classmates often inspire students’ next steps.
Our curriculum includes Music, Visual Art and Drama with our full-time arts teachers. Every grade receives Music, Visual Art and Drama instruction. Our arts program is further supported through our partnership with Inside Broadway. AmPark has an art room, and a music room where students learn to play Orff instruments.
Our teachers and students benefit from our collaboration with our Teachers College Reading and Writing Project consultants. In addition, we have support from both Network and Lehman College math consultants who work closely with our teachers, aligning TERC math with the Common Core State Standards.
AmPark has a full science lab, and every grade has FOSS science kits to support the science curriculum. Our proximity to Van Cortlandt Park and other beautiful parks enriches our science studies, and our partnership with the Audubon Society enriches our children’s educational experiences.
Teachers design curriculum across all academic and arts disciplines to support individual children’s needs and interests, and to provide multiple entry points into areas of study. Curriculum topics are generally broad enough to support, accommodate and encourage varied learning styles, interests and talents. Ongoing discussions that foster review and reflection are a pivotal part of students’daily routines.
Teachers are able to articulate children’s progress and development through careful observation, conferencing with children, documentation and looking at collections of children’s work. These practices enable teachers to develop a deeper understanding of each child’s needs, interests and approaches to learning.
Our efforts are focused on how children work with others, set expectations, and consider how to best support and extend their work. This focus stimulates the staff to continually examine their own teaching practices.