About Park Children’s Day School

A Letter From Our Director

Welcome to Park Children’s Day School!

At PCDS, we are always looking ahead as we prepare children for a rigorous educational career and to become kind, thoughtful citizens in their communities. Although it is hard to imagine how the world will change in the years to come, we do know that in order to succeed, they will need more and different skills and abilities than have previous generations.

Those skills include problem solving, flexibility, critical thinking, resilience, adaptability, the ability to work collaboratively, and, perhaps most importantly, creativity. All of these are central to our philosophy and curriculum.

Through dozens of opportunities at school each day, in our classrooms, in our expansive gymnasium, or in our frequent excursions to experience nature in nearby Central Park, we organize the children’s cognitive, social, and physical development through experiences that open children’s minds and encourage creative problem solving. Underscoring it all is a commitment to play-based education that is at the heart of every activity and interaction. It’s also why our children love to come to school each day!

More than half of PCDS teachers have taught at our school for between 20 and 40 years. These transformational educators have changed the lives of hundreds of children in many demonstrable ways. To that end, the relationship between child and teacher lies at the center of our school’s approach.

Each day, we learn from our children, from the process of teaching, from play, and from the close, integral involvement of our vibrant and engaged parent community. And each day, a part of our school is born anew.
I look forward to welcoming you to our school.

Betsy Newell
Director, Park Children’s Day School

Betsy holds a Master’s degree from Merton College at Oxford University and a Bachelor’s degree from Smith College.


Betsy Newell


23 Years at PCDS

Rhonda White

Education Director

45 Years at PCDS

Patti Horstmann

Director of Admissions

31 Years at PCDS

Fiona Moore

Associate Director of Admissions

19 Years at PCDS

Amy Nakano

Director of Development

15 Years at PCDS

Our History

Park Children’s Day School opened its doors on October 7, 1963 at 1010 Park Avenue. It was called Park Avenue Christian Church Day School because the Church wanted to provide a service for the community.

The congregation decided in the late 1950s that a nursery school was the most needed service. They voted to construct a school on the site of the Church’s garden. A beautiful school was erected, and thirty students registered for the first year. Over the years the school flourished and grew to 230 students, with many of the early graduates sending their own children to the school.

In the summer of 2013, the Church abruptly announced that they had sold the school plot to a developer, and that the school would move to West 76th Street. Enrolled families, teachers and administrators were caught by surprise, and many ‘East Siders’ thought they could not manage a commute with their children across the park. Surprisingly, over half of the enrolled children made the trek to the west side! While the school enrollment decreased initially, it grew quickly to a healthy 120 students within a few years. We attribute this growth to our loyal and beloved teachers who moved across the park with the school.

In 2014 the school became a new and independent entity with a new name, Park Children’s Day School. Our new home at 4 West 76th Street is a beautiful and historic school building. Built in 1911, it retains some of the original art deco touches with high ceilings and an enormous gym. The renovation of all the classrooms was completed before we moved in, and once the children’s art was up on the walls, we felt totally at home.

Best of all, we are located on Central Park, a new outdoor experience for our children and a wonderful addition to our nature and science program.

What started as a shock and challenge in 2013 turned out to be a wonderful start to a new chapter in our school history. The same community of enthusiastic and active parents continue the work of decades of past parents. Hundreds of alumni families who came to school at the original location on Park Avenue remain loyal to the school, stay in touch, attend various school events and continue to support Park Children’s Day School.

Our Facilities

Block Area
Park Children's Day School
Lending Library
Block Area
Climbing Wall – Gym