Christ’s Church Nursery School (CCNS) is Rye’s “Small by Design, Large in Learning” nursery school. Our students flourish through exploring, creating, engaging and experiencing the world around them in a purposeful play based curriculum that is small in structure as well as student/teacher ratio. The caliber of our teachers is a hallmark of our school - all of our Head Teachers have their Master's in Education.
as our signs say, “We’re the Episcopal Church, We Welcome You!” Our core values are reflected in a curriculum that supports the young learner. Those values include offering children a loving place where they feel nurtured and valued. Learning cannot take place unless a child feels safe and secure in their environment and with the adults who interact with them.
- CCNS was founded by the Vestry of Christ's Church on September 20, 1965
- In 1987, CCNS was the first school in Westchester County to be accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children as a model of excellence in programming for young children.
- CCNS maintains membership in the National Association of Episcopal Schools which makes us both an education community and a faith community
- The school began with 12 four year olds attending class Monday, Wednesdays & Fridays with one parent and one "qualified" teacher in charge. Since then the school has grown into a half-day (mornings & afternoons) private, non-profit, Episcopal nursery school serving approximately 180 children ranging in age from 16 months through 5 years.
- Children attend from one to five days per week and each class has a professional staff consisting of a passionate, educated head and assistant teachers.
I am so proud and honored to have been the Director of CCNS since 2017. It really does not feel like work when you have the pleasure to spend your days with such a wonderful school community. Having spent 25 years working in this field, I can tell you unequivocally, that it is the greatest pleasure to watch children grow into their very best selves and to be able to support them on their journey.
I am committed to the parent-teacher relationship so together we can create the best experiences for your children. I am committed to supporting my teachers to learn and grow and bring the best to their classrooms every day. I am committed to the children so that they can learn and grow in a stress-free, fun, challenging program that supports their age appropriate development. I will always push for Christ's Church Nursery School to deliver the best nursery school experience possible and we will, of course, have some laughs and smiles along the way. Thank you for choosing CCNS to be a part of this journey with you.
Courtney Donohue considers herself to be one of the luckiest members of the CCNS Faculty and Staff. She not only has the joyous job of teaching our three - five year old students throughout the CCNS Literacy Program, she also has the pleasure of working with young families as the CCNS Admissions Director.
Courtney received a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She previously taught first grade at Horace Mann School and fifth grade at The Epiphany School in Manhattan. Courtney has been with CCNS for six years. She adores all her students and their families. Her free time is most happily spent with her husband and their three grown children.
Sue Kelly is delighted to be working at CCNS for her fourth year. Sue teaches in the Purple Room Fours AM class. Additionally, Sue has just joined the CCNS Admissions team and is working with all new families. Prior to working at CCNS, Sue spent several years working in the Rye City Elementary Schools. Sue holds a Bachelors degree in Communications from Marist College and worked in advertising before switching to the field of education. Sue is married and has two college-age children. Her children attended the Rye City Schools before heading to Bucknell University. As teacher, parent, long-time area resident and former Vice President of the Rye YMCA Board, Sue is very knowledgeable about the community and has a great perspective on schools and resources in the area.
Darcey joined the CCNS Staff in 2018. Darcey keeps our office running smoothly and is the first to help all families, faculty and staff Darcey formerly worked in a local Nursery School as an Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper. Darcey loves working with young children and has really enjoyed getting to know everyone in the CCNS community. She looks forward to meeting and knowing all the new students for next year, and having all the children back in the fall. Darcey is a lifelong resident of Rye Neck and lives with her husband and daughter. Outside of school Darcey enjoys their place in the Catskills, the beach and spending time with friends and family.
Andra is a lifelong resident of Westchester. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Studies from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Science in Education from The College of New Rochelle. Andra is a certified teacher and has taught for 12 years. Before staying home to have a family and bring up her children, Andra previously taught at Midland School in Rye for 7 years. She is a mother to four wonderful children, two boys, and two girls. Andra enjoys spending family time and finds pleasure in the love of her family!
Maria will be returning to CCNS for her fourth year after teaching at Rye Presbyterian Nursery School for twenty-seven years. She is excited to return and doing what she loves best, teaching children. Maria has an Associates Degreee in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Iona College. Maria is a lifelong resident of Rye and lives here with her husband, three children and two dogs. Maria and her family enjoy spending time in Williamstown, MA when they are not travelling for their children's sporting events.
Leigh has been an educator for over 25 years. With her background in Early Childhood Education and Counseling, She is well versed in behavior management, conflict resolution and helping children foster socialization skills. Leigh has taught from preschool through the University level and spends her summers working with children of all ages at day camp. She thoroughly enjoys working with two-year-olds and works diligently to help all of the children in her classes celebrate their discoveries and achievements.
Maria came to CCNS in 2019. Maria has been working in the early childhood field for over 25 years and holds a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. She has worked with children of many different ages, from birth to four years of age. Her outside interests include teaching religious education and assisting with bible camp at her parish in Tuckahoe.
Michelle has been working within the nursery school setting since 2001 and at CCNS since 2016. She graduated from Concordia College with a BS in Early Childhood Education. Michelle recently completed her Early Childhood Master of Education from American College. It has been a dream of hers to be a teacher ever since she was a child. She loves to work in CCNS’s nurturing, loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their confidence while they play. Michelle's list of "favorite things" are going to museums with her son and creating art projects with him at home. She is looking forward to an amazing year in the Yellow Room.
Vannessa comes to CCNS after spending the past 5 years as an Assistant Teacher at Port Chester Chidren's Place. She is thrilled to begin her first year at CCNS in the 3's program. Over the last 10 years she has worked with children of all ages in Early Childhood Education and has a true passion for working with young children. Vanessa continues to further her knowledge in Early Childhood and is currently working towards earning her Child Development Associate Certification. Vanessa enjoys baking and spending time on nature walks with her family in her free time.
Erin joined CCNS in 2016 to teach in the threes program. She absolutely loves teaching this age group and finds every day to be exciting. Erin holds a Bachelor's degree from Boston College and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Fordham University, Erin previously taught third and fourth grade at The Churchill School in NYC. Erin lives in Rye and has two daughters. Her family loves travel and taking adventures together.
Liz begins her first year at CCNS in the 3's program. For the past six years she has been working in Early Childhood Education in Greenwich. Although originally from Long Island, Liz planted her roots in Rye Brook with her husband and three children. Liz relates to the feeling of children being your pride and joy and is thrilled to be in such a caring environment where she can nurture them and help them to learn and grow. During her free time, Liz enjoys arts and crafts and reading a good book on her kindle.
Florence Taylor joined the staff of CCNS in 2015 and she holds a BS/BA in Psychology/American History from SUNY Binghamton. Her MS ED is from Brooklyn College with post-graduate studies at Bank Street School of Education. She is a great resource for our families and our staff and brings unbridled energy to her classroom. Her outside interests include face painting, yoga, gardening and mothering her three fantastic children.
Ro is a lifelong resident of the Sound shore, and came to CCNS in 1999! Roseanne holds an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education. and has worked with every age group at our school. Her compassionate and kind nature has endeared her to our many new and long-time families! Her outside interests include her eleven grandchildren who keep her very busy.
Natalie brings her passion for working with children and her extensive experience to CCNS. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Elementary Education, pre-k to 6th grade and a Master of Science Degree in Education. Natalie previously worked at Rye Country Day School and Resurrection. She is also an elementary tutor at the Achievement Learning Center in Larchmont working with children of all ages and needs. Natalie has two daughters, one in kindergarten and the other in second grade!
Myrna holds a BA in Language Arts and French Literature from Damascus University in Syria. Myrna joined the faculty of CCNS in 2012 and has been the Assistant Teacher in the Orange Room since then. She is a long time resident of Westchester who enjoys traveling, walking and golfing with her husband and four boys. Myrna is very passionate about teaching and inspiring children to love to learn.
Nancy is a lifelong resident of Rye, NY who holds a BA from the College of New Rochelle in Psychology and Elementary Education. Nancy also received her Masters in Education from Manhattanville College and previously taught at Milton and Rye Country Day School. Nancy loves working with young children, guiding and nurturing them to learn and grow. She is married with five children, two dogs and spends her free time watching her children play sports, dance and they all enjoy vacationing at the beach in Mantoloking, New Jersey.
A native Californian, Jaime has lived in New York ever since college, where she graduated with a BS in Studio Art from NYU. Her son attended CCNS, at which point, she knew she wanted to devote herself more to the amazing CCNS school community. Previously, she has taught in the after-school program at the RyeNeck School system in addition to having daycare experience with children as young as three months to five years old. She enjoys painting, fishing, cooking, reading to children and spending time with her two amazing kids and husband.
Welcome to Christ's Church Nursery School community in Rye. We are pleased to share this virtual tour of our early childhood program and invite you to come for a personal visit. CCNS is dedicated to providing your child with the highest quality early education experience. We currently offer morning and afternoon programs for ages 2 years to Pre-K and partner with local organizations to provide extended day enrichment opportunities.
On behalf of our teachers, our families, and children welcome! We look forward to seeing you soon.
The CCNS Family
The twos classrooms are places where children develop a love of learning and become confident in the context of separation and individuation. It provides a safe, stimulating and loving environment that allows children to develop a sense of self and autonomy. We work on independence, including self-help and self-care skills, in a gentle classroom setting.
In the twos children are prepared with core foundational skills that they take with them as they progress through school. These foundational skills include core social, play and self-regulatory skills. For example, children learn to become confident in the context of separation from their primary caregiver(s), begin to play cooperatively and symbolically, learn how to resolve conflict in a prosocial manner, and form a sense of community and belongingness in their small group.
The Red Room integrates routines that help children feel safe and secure as well as a sense of mastery over their environment. Some of the children will move onto the 3’s class fully toilet trained! Children are able to actively explore their classroom environment with a variety of materials including clay, paint, play dough, sand and water.
The 3’s classes, known as the Yellow and Green Rooms, are dynamic, nurturing, and child-centered classrooms. They are organized with different learning centers: blocks, dramatic play, library, art materials, mathematics manipulatives, and sensory tables. The centers promote learning through play and this developmentally appropriate environment invites children to explore, examine, question, predict, test, and investigate.
Children use their imaginations as they take on pretend roles and further develop a sense of symbolic thought and mental representation. The classroom teachers function in accordance with the dynamics of the classroom, adjusting to individual and group needs. A creative and dynamic curriculum is used which is revised as children’s needs and interests change. Frequently the children self-select a particular focus, allow for an emergent curriculum which illustrates our respect for each child’s capacity to think, plan, act, work and play. The Handwriting Without Tears Program is also introduced in the the three's and continues through the fours. Each year of this fun and exciting program is designed to be age appropriate and gently helps children develop their fine motor skills as well as their alphabetic awareness.
The 4’s classes, known as the Blue and Purple Rooms, are warm, nurturing, and aesthetically pleasing classroom environments that promote learning through exploration. We recognize that children’s play is the building block of learning, as it contains key questions and allows children a vehicle to explore the answers to their questions. The classrooms integrate a strong visual art component that provides a link to literature, literacy, math and science.
Children take an active role in their learning and exploration of classroom materials and create their own literature which helps them to develop a deeper understandings of explored social and academic concepts. We believe in scaffolding children’s learning; that is, we come alongside them in order to support their learning and development.
The Blue and Purple Rooms are places where children learn to how to love to learn. Our classrooms provide a safe place for children to make friends and become socially aware. Each child is individually supported within a group environment. Children leave the Blue and Green Rooms ready for a successful experiences in Kindergarten or in a 5’s class.
The 5’s class, the Orange Room, is comprised of children who will turn 5 years-old in late summer, early fall or winter. This classroom is ideal for children who will benefit from an extra year to grow socially and emotionally before beginning kindergarten. Our child-centered classroom immerses students in creativity and learning. It teaches children a strong sense of responsibility and community and provides a nurturing environment that encourages children to express their point of view and personality through painting, sculpture, drama and play.
Daily literacy activities and materials enable children to actively engage in storytelling and retelling and develop letter-sound awareness as well as reading/listening comprehension. Children are given opportunities to develop their expressive language throughout the day in their play, art, writing and game playing. Children are provided with rich experiences and time to develop a sense of natural curiosity and love of learning.
We chose Christ Church Nursery School because we saw first hand the incredible experience our friends with older children had in the CCNS community. 3 boys graduated CCNS and years later entered college as wonderfully grounded and well-rounded young men. They attended different grade schools and high schools yet the boys and their parents remained best friends over a decade later. CCNS' intimate community fosters meaningful relationships between classmates, their families and a caring staff. We are thrilled our children are able to grow and explore in such a nurturing and dynamic environment.
From the bright, open and engaging classrooms to the incredibly warm and nurturing staff, we've loved our experience at Christ Church Nursery School. After my son's first day, he ran to me and said, "MOM! They have a whole room, just for blocks!" I couldn't believe it when the whole class worked together together to build the Eiffel Tower, hard hats and all.
We immediately got a sense of a happy family at CCNS. We have made many very good friends there and our boys have flourished. The teachers are warm, the community strong and the learning fun. Our older son has moved on to kindergarten with confidence and our younger son enjoys the endless new activities and experiences
We chose CCNS because of the quality instruction, close-knit parents group, and nurturing environment. The rooms are large and bright, the teachers are engaged and caring, and the children are comfortable in a smaller school setting. My daughter is excited to go to school each day and is thriving in the classroom.
We chose CCNS because of its small by design and progressive (developmental-interactionist) approach. It has instilled in our children a love of learning, a sense of community and fellowship, and cemented core traits in our children like confidence, empathy, caring and joy. All of the teachers at CCNS share in this love of learning and have a zeal for teaching. The sense of community of CCNS is amazing and our family has found lifelong friends at CCNS.
We love CCNS! The teachers are thoughtful patient and truly care about my kids. The small size makes everyone accessible and makes us feel like we're part of a family. We've made friendships here that will last a lifetime.