• Frequently Asked Questions

What is the admissions process?

Admissions begin one year prior to desired entry. Our four-step admissions process is:

  1. Submit an application
  2. Attend a classroom observation (parents only)
  3. Attend a parent interview
  4. Attend a group child visit

What are the program hours?

In the Multi-Age Program, we offer AM (8:30-12:30 a.m.), PM (1:00-5:00 p.m.), 9-3 (M-Th 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., F 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.), and LAP (8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) programs. 8:00 a.m. drop-off and 6:00 p.m. pick-up options are also available. In the Twos Program, we offer AM, 9-3 and LAP programs. 6:00 p.m. pick-up is not available in the Twos Program.

When is the Application deadline?

Our application deadline is January 8. We begin accepting applications in September, and consider each and every application with equal care and consideration whether it is received on the first day or the last day of our Admissions season.

What is the age cut-off?

Multi-Age Program applicants must be three years old by December 31 of their first year. Twos Program applicants must be two years old by September 1.

Is attending an Open House required?

No, attendance at an Open House is optional and does not have an effect on our admission decision.

May I attend an Open House before submitting an application?

Yes, we invite you to attend an Open House before or after an application is submitted.

What is the application fee?

The application fee is $50. This fee is waived for families who apply for financial aid. There is a $49 fee to submit a financial aid application through SSS. SSS offers a limited number of fee waivers for qualifying families.

What is the tuition?

In 2018-2019, our tuition for AM and PM programs is $26,200; 9 to 3 program tuition is $31,500; LAP tuition is $39,200. Tuition for our 11-month LAP program (8:30-5:30, September-August) is $47,700.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

Please indicate on your application for admission that you are interested in applying for Financial Aid. Starting in October, you may access the Financial Aid application through a service called SSS. Step-by-step instructions are available on our website under “Tuition and Financial Aid.”

Will applying for Financial Aid have an impact on my child’s acceptance?

A family’s ability to pay is not a determining factor in offering a child a place in our school.

Are letters of recommendation required?

Letters of recommendation are not required.

What is the sibling/legacy admissions policy?

WSMS is committed to partnering with families throughout their early childhood educational experience. Siblings of current or past WSMS students are considered early in the admissions process and given priority, when appropriate. Legacy applicants are also considered early in the admissions process. Per ISAAGNY guidelines, sibling and legacy applicants may opt for early notification.

When will I be notified of acceptance?

WSMS follows the ISAAGNY notification and reply date schedule. (See dates at right.) Notifications are sent by email.

What is the Montessori approach to education?

The Montessori approach is named after Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, whose pioneering work with young children in the early twentieth century led her to develop an entire philosophy of education. Dr. Montessori recognized children’s natural curiosity and asserted that children are capable of learning a great deal on their own if given the proper supportive environment in which to do so. Her method emphasizes teaching children how to learn.
Here are some of the key aspects of the Montessori approach that we implement at WSMS:

  • Classes are formed of mixed age groupings. This enables younger children to learn from older children and gives older children the opportunity to teach others, thus building their sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.
  • Children are permitted to work for long blocks of uninterrupted time, thereby building focus and granting the satisfaction that comes from completing a task.
  • The classroom environment is prepared. Teachers are responsible for presenting an orderly array of attractive, child-sized, easy-to-reach learning materials so that children can develop freedom of choice, self-discipline, and personal responsibility while being engaged in learning.
  • Teachers are observant facilitators (“guide on the side,” not “sage on the stage”). They follow each child, careful to understand her/his learning style and temperament, helping her/him to choose work that will help that child grow through self-discovery.
  • Central to every interaction is respect for the child. Teachers have a profound belief in the unique capability of each child and of all children.

What is the role of family at WSMS?

We truly want to embrace every family with all of their special and unique differences, just as we know and love every child for exactly who he or she is. We build curriculum around the idea of family, beginning with information that is shared at a home visit and beginning-of-year conference. Throughout the year, teachers and administration check in with families through casual conversations, scheduled meetings, conferences and phone calls. Families are warmly invited to visit their child’s classroom to share their traditions, read a book, or to have a meal. The school hosts workshops and drop-in groups to help families discuss or better understand issues related to children’s physical, emotional, and social growth. All parents are members of the Parents Association. The active parent body is a great source of pride at WSMS, and we value every contribution to our school community in whatever way works for each family. Some ways that parents get involved include hosting a Class Dinner, spending a Saturday morning at Hippo Playground at our Bulb Planting event, working the grill at our Fall Festival, selling tickets for our annual Auction, photographing children for the yearbook, and much more! As a school that was founded in 1963 by a caring group of parents, each and every family is a special part of our history.

How does WSMS handle conflict resolution/discipline?

At WSMS, just as children are encouraged to learn independently, so are they encouraged to try to resolve their conflicts amongst themselves. When children are not able to work through a conflict directly, teachers escort them away from the scene and each other, sit with them as they “quiet” or “calm” themselves, and, when everyone is ready, help/guide the children toward reaching a resolution with mutual respect and empathy. All of our teachers are trained to model calm and respectful behavior at all times, and they are able to teach self-management skills to their students.

How does WSMS help families with the transition to next schools (exmissions)?

We believe it is our responsibility to help parents and children make the smoothest possible transition to their next school. Our goal is to help families find schools that are a good match for their child, and to provide parents with information and guidance to demystify the process. Head of School Mimi Basso meets privately with each family to help them sort through their options and make the best choices at each decision point. She sends out a series of newsletters outlining where parents should be in the application process, and hosts panel discussions where alumni families share their experiences at ongoing schools. Our experienced and caring classroom teachers are partners in the process as well; they can help parents better understand their child’s strengths and learning style.

How does WSMS approach the phase-in process?

Phase-in refers to the initial time period of transition for children as they begin to attend the program. During this time, children are becoming familiar with a new environment, new people and new routines. This is also a period in which children may experience separation for the first time from a parent, family member, caregiver or loved one. Teachers work with parents to ensure a smooth transition that is appropriate for each child. Returning children begin their school year ahead of new children. In the first few days, returning children participate in discussions about how they felt when they began school, and what they think the new children will need to learn. In this way, new children enter a stable and supportive environment from the beginning of their school year.


Judy Lyons at jlyons@wsmsnyc.org

Key Admission Dates

  • Application deadline January 8, 2019
  • Financial aid application deadline January 15, 2019
  • Appointment completion deadline January 15, 2019
Notification Dates and Reply Deadlines, according to ISAAGNY Guidelines (Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York)
  • Early Decision Notification Dates (For siblings/legacy families who have chosen this option): between December 3, 2018 and January 18, 2019
  • Early Decision Parent Reply Deadline by noon on January 25, 2019
  • Regular Decision Notification Date February 28, 2019
  • Regular Decision Parent Reply Deadline: by noon on Friday March 8, 2019