Old First Nursery School
Age range of kids
3 and 4 year olds (2.9 to 5 years)
Number of kids (kids per class)
15 kids in school, all in one class
Number of adults
Schedule/minimum # of days
The schedule is flexible. Children can attend half or full days (9am - noon or 9am - 3pm). A minimum of 4 half-days is recommended.
Part Time/Full Time Available
Yes. Many children begin with half days and then begin adding full days as the year progresses
Registration Requirements/Dates (if applicable)
Applications are due February 1. There is a $35 application fee. Applications are available online at http://www.oldfirstnurseryschool.org/.
Parents run the school and work on various committees throughout the year: co-presidents, secretary, treasurers, admissions, fundraising, etc. Parents also provide snacks, act as substitutes in the
classroom, accompany children on fieldtrips, participate in twice-yearly clean-ups, and participate in our annual fundraisers (major event: Christmas tree sale throughout December).
Review from the Spring 2022 Early Childhood Education SurveyLocation: 729 Carroll St Type of facility: Preschool Review: Old First Nursery School is more than a preschool, it is truly a unique and supportive community of families. There is one classroom of 15-16 children (ages 2.9 years to 5 years old.) The head teacher Therese has been with the school since the late 1990s and has built a creative and nurturing play-based program that is designed to foster independence in each child. As a parent-run cooperative, each family has a job and this requires a good bit of work as well as attendance at monthly business meetings. The parent work commitment makes the total tuition cost less than other local preschools. The return on investment of time is realized in the trust and friendships built with other families. Highly recommend. What amenities does the facility have? Has outdoor space What would you change about the program, if anything? As a coop, the work commitment may not be a fit for all families. There are no extended hours before or after school but some families share after-school babysitters or nannies. There is no program for school provided lunch but families take turns bringing snack for the whole class. Is there anything you would like to add about how the school is handling the pandemic? Families were able to discuss and vote on covid protocols. This helped us reach a level of comfort given the circumstances.
Review from the Fall 2021 Early Childhood Education SurveyType of facility: Preschool Review: We love OFNS so far, almost halfway through the year. it’s a single mixed 3s and 4s classroom in the old first church in 7th Ave (rents space, no religious affiliation). The school is a coop, totally run by parents, which makes it both less expensive and more work for the parents then most other preschools in the area. Great community, great teacher continuity. The head teacher has been there more than 20 yrs! Great indoor and outdoor space, play-based curriculum and the option to do full or half days as you prefer (same cost). We’re super happy with the school, and my son comes home excited about what they are doing every day. What amenities does the facility provide? Has outdoor space What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Uses a public school schedule, so it’s a real “pre-school” which means needing a fair bit of extra childcare coverage. Is there anything you would like to add about how the school handled the pandemic? Thanks Aetna run coop mean parents get a lot more say in policy- so we’ve been happy with protocols.
2019-2020 Year ReviewA special gem of a preschool where kids can have time and open space, both indoors and outdoors, to explore. Other schools in NYC do not always allow such simple and fundamental learning tools for a preschooler! We have seen a significant difference in our daughter’s social and verbal skills since she started the 3’s program just a few months in! She instantly bonded with both the head and assistant teacher which is not an easy feat for a child that’s never been in a drop off class situation before. So happy to have found this school and being a coop is a plus- all the parents care so much about all the children not just their own. … About the facility: Has outdoor space
2019-2020 Year ReviewTherese and Anna are wonderful, thoughtful teachers, and so clearly care deeply for all the children in the class. It is our daughter's second year in the program and we plan to send our son there this Fall. It is a co-op program, so while it is more affordable than other options, there are some responsibilities depending on the job you're assigned (planning fundraising events, buildings and grounds, city department liason, etc), but the time commitment is relatively minimal and the other parents are great. … About the facility: Has outdoor space
2019-2020 Year ReviewOld First Nursery School is a really amazing place. It's a one-class cooperative play-based preschool. The teachers are so warm and loving, have great senses of humor, and truly enjoy being with children all day long. They are endlessly patient and kind. This is our daughter's 2nd year and we will be sending our son there next year. The space itself is great with a private outdoor shaded playground (sandbox, swing set, flowers, slide and climbing structure) and for snowy or rainy days they have a large sunny indoor area to play with another play structure. One thing we really love about this school is the flexibility. With only 16 children admitted each year, once you have a spot, that's your spot and you can decide what days/times work best for you. We started out doing 3-4 days and half days, and have now graduated to 5 full days a week. The cost doesn't change. The cost is also lower than typical preschools because it's a coop set up. Each parent has a job like secretary, treasurer, admissions, fundraising, marketing, etc. There are times during the year where there is not much time needed to be put in and times where it ramps up, so the school does look for parents who like the aspect of community and everyone working together to help the school run seamlessly. The amazing thing that happens through the coop experience is that you become very close with the other parents and we have made lifelong friends, not just for our children but for ourselves. We have many outings, parties and trips that have been planned even outside of school events! The play-based curriculum is great and they study themselves, their community and many different and fun themes, right now they are learning about outer space! We would definitely recommend to any family looking for warmth, flexibility, and who would enjoy the feeling of being involved with the school more than just a drop off! … About the facility: Has outdoor space, Large indoor play area for cold/inclement weather
Where to buy wreaths, GarlandThe Old First Nursery School tree sale has wreaths and garlands. They’re on 7th Ave between Carroll and President St. Plus it’s a fundraiser to support the small, cooperative preschool.
Review from the 2018/2019 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyThis school is a great fit for our child who had not been to a day care or other full program. The teachers are warm yet structured in their approach with each student. It took our 3 year old time to adjust to not being with a parent and this school was really great in facilitating that. Her second year has been lovely. She is learning and growing through play and art and has formed a solid group of friends in her classmates. We love the teachers and the outdoor space. We also appreciate the community of parents who have made our queer family feel cared for. About the facility: Has outdoor space, small parent run coop school
Review from the 2018/2019 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyBoth of my children have attended OFNS. IT IS THE BEST. Child led, wonderful teachers incredible community and the LARGEST indoor and outdoor space you will find in brooklyn. It is inexpensive and the coop atmosphere makes for a special place for our kids and family. I am so grateful to be a part of this school. About the facility: Has outdoor space What would you change? Nothing
Review from the 2018/2019 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyOur family loves OFNS! We sent both of our children there for their 3s and 4s years. The head teacher is a wonderful creative spirit who has been with the school for around 20 years and is deeply committed to the children and their growth, and I think the facility is the best in the neighborhood (private yard with play structure, sandbox, swings, etc. as well as grass for playing and dirt for planting when the weather is decent; large and bright indoor play area with play structure, riding toys, hundreds of wooden blocks, imaginative toys, etc. when it's not). We love the cooperative elements of the school for the deep sense of community and security they give to our children. Strongly recommended! About the facility: Has outdoor space
Review from the 2017/2018 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyThe teachers are excellent and the head teacher has been at OFNS for two decades. The kids have distinct units of study and learning is totally hands on and play-based with lots of field trips. The school has access to a very large room, so the kids have lots of space to run and play, even on cold or rainy days. It's a flexible program, so you can decide on the day if you'd prefer to do a half-day or full day for your child. About the facility: Has outdoor space, Has a very large indoor open space for play, an indoor play structure, tricycles, blocks, etc.
Review from the 2017/2018 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyOFNS Is a parent run cooperative 3’s and 4’s nursery school. My son attended for two years and we loved it. The teacher, Therese, is wonderful. She has been with the school for nearly 20 years, she is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about early child development. It is a small school of 15-16 children in one classroom. The space has its own outdoor space and a huge indoor space for bad weather. What i also loved was that the school was on the second floor so the kids got lots of natural light and weren’t in the basement. The school is the oldest coop in Brooklyn, having been around for over 50 years. You have a job assignment for the year. The benefits are a reduced tuition because of lower overhead and a strong sense of community because you work alongside your fellow parents. Your tuition is a flat fee for a The year which buys your space. This means you can be flexible with doing full or half days, and can adjust as you wish and as your child develops. I really liked that sense of freedom and it is very attuned to your child’s natural development, without any pressure for them to fit into an arbitrary attendance schedule based on the schools availability. I will be sad to leave it after this year when we move to kindergarten. It’s a unique special place. About the facility: Has outdoor space, Cooperative.
Review submitted via the PSP 2016 PreK SurveyReview: This school is a complete gem among the preschools in Brooklyn. The teachers are AMAZING. The class size is small, the education is top-notch and the classroom/ huge indoor/outdoor play space is incredible. It is a co-operative pre-school, which makes the school even more appealing given the tight-knit community and ability to participate in decisions that are typically made by a bureaucracy in other schools. The tuition is so affordable compared to other private preschools. You would be lucky to be a part this school. I know we are, and have never heard of a bad experience. About the facility: Has outdoor space, Provides meals, amazing large indoor space What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Nothing Review submitted via the PSP 2016 PreK Survey
Review submitted via daycare/preschool surveyOFNS is a wonderful nursery school. The teachers, Therese and Kiera, are amazing. They've developed a play-based curriculum that is flexible so it can respond to the children's interests, but at the same time provides structure and focus on developing social and academic skills. The facilities are great - it's one of the few nursery schools in the area with an actual playground. A Park Slope institution.
Review Submitted via Fall 2015 Daycare/Preschool SurveyPROGRAM: 729 Carroll St TIME: Full-time 5 days/week with flexibility for part-time AGE: 3-4 years4-5 years REVIEW: Old First Nursery School is a real gem, with amazing indoor and outdoor playspaces, two fabulous teachers both with masters in early childhood education, and a wonderful community of parents and alumni families. My oldest son attended two years at Old First and now my middle son is in his first year. It is a small program with no more than 16 children, ages 3 and 4, and follows a play-based educational model. I really value the frequent communication between the teachers and parents, whether an informal word at drop-off or the detailed weekly email from the teachers. Parents take on administrative roles, are responsible for participating in fundraising activities, and meet monthly to discuss co-op business. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely
Review Submitted via Fall 2015 Daycare/Preschool SurveyPROGRAM: Carroll St TIME: Full time AGE: 3-4 years REVIEW: We feel like part of the OFNS family now that we have sent both of our children to this program. It is what we wanted for our children's first experience with school: intimate, community-oriented, play- and art- based. While a parent-run cooperative requires more work than other preschools, it also means the community is tighter and the families more intimately involved. The head teacher has been at the school for more than 10 years, which speaks a lot to the consistency and strength of the school. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely
Review Submitted via Fall 2015 Daycare/Preschool SurveyPROGRAM: Carrol & 7th Avenue TIME: half AGE: 3-4 years REVIEW: Our 3 year just started in September so we only have 2+ months of exposure, but so far we think it was the right choice for our son. The school is small (16 3-4 year olds, 1 teacher and 1 assistant teacher). It's not a daycare, so no children under 3. You can choose half day (ending at Noon) or full day (3 p.m.), for the same price. The school focuses on play based learning, so nothing too formal or institutional. The space is very cozy, bright and inviting, being located in the Old First Church rectory space (lots of old wood, big windows and a small outside space), although the school is non-denominational. Being a coop, the parents are all involved and get to know each other. The teachers seems energetic and caring, and our child, who is shy, has responded well to both of them. As for difficult situations, I don't have any specific experience with that yet, but the schools seems to operate on general consensus among the parents but majority vote on all major issues. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely
Review submitted via the 2014-2015 daycare/preschool surveyThis member has reviewed this facility in a prior year Length of time: 5 days a week, full and part time Child’s Age: 3-4 years4-5 years Type of facility: Parent-Organized Co-op where the parents do the admin and hire the teachers and staff REVIEW: OFNS is a fantastic school and we're very excited that our child will be returning for a second year. The teachers, Therese and Kiera, are wonderful. They develop a curriculum that clearly builds in complexity during the course of the year but is also, amazingly, very reactive to what the kids are actually interested in. We received weekly emails summarizing what went on in the classroom, complete with anecdotes (with no names disclosed to protect the innocent!) to give a real picture of what the kids are doing, along with a sneak preview of the week to come. The curriculum is based on play and the kids clearly have fun, but they are also definitely learning. The facilities are fantastic. The classroom is bright and clean, although over the course of the year it becomes filled with the kids' artwork. There is a huge playroom with a full range of toys, running from dress up clothes, play kitchens, and full gym sets, which are great for rainy/very cold/very hot days. The best part may be that the school has an actual playground with real grass and trees that the kids use all the time, which is a feature that I don't think many other schools in the neighborhood can offer. The program is 5 days a week with flexibility to choose half or full days as you see fit. In our case, our child did full days some days and half days other, with the only notice being the morning of. This flexibility is a huge plus, especially given how competitive Old First's tuition is compared to other schools in the neighborhood. Would you recommend? Highly recommend Would you send your child again? Absolutely
Review submitted via the 2014-2015 daycare/preschool surveyThis member has reviewed this facility in a prior year Length of time: Full Child’s Age: 3-4 years Type of facility: Parent-Organized Co-op where the parents do the admin and hire the teachers and staff REVIEW: Old First Nursery School is the absolute ideal educational environment for our daughter. The teachers are exceptionally qualified, creative, caring, and bring their artistry and love to every unit of study and daily activity. My child is nurtured and supported, but also encouraged to develop areas that are more challenging for her. The school is child-centered and progressive, and has a strong STEM focus with units like "simple machines", "the solar system", and "tree studies". They make art as they investigate the natural world, and develop strong social/emotional bonds with one another while learning how to be a part of a community. The parent co-op is a mutually supportive and nurturing aspect of the school, and we have made life-long friends with the other families who are a part of this special school. Would you recommend? Highly recommend Would you send your child again? Absolutely
Review from the 2014 Daycare/Preschool SurveyLength of Time: 5 days a week, full and half available Child's Age: 3-4 years Review: OFNS is a wonderful preschool. The teachers do a fantastic job of structuring the curriculum in a manner that is responsive to the interests of the children while still ensuring that they are continuing to develop and grow. The coop fosters a true feeling of investment and community that benefits the children as well as the institution. Truly a special place! Recommend (Hi/Rec/DoNot): Highly recommend Would you send your child again? Absolutely
2014 Daycare/Preschool PSP reviewLength of Time: Full Days Child's Age: 2-3 years3-4 years4-5 years Review: My daughter (3.5) is thriving at Old First Nursery School. The teachers are warm, attentive, and very experienced in child-centered, play-based progressive education. Every day my daughter comes home smiling and filled with stories of her day's adventures - she is learning teamwork and problem-solving and conflict-resolution, as well as how to follow routine and participate in a communal environment. The teachers are definitely the best part of the school, but the facility is a close second...in addition to the classroom there is a huge hall for daily gross motor activities that include climbing, riding, running, and jumping year round - a HUGE bonus in our open-space-starved neighborhood. There is also a gorgeous garden where the children play, research, and garden every day (as the weather permits). This school is a not-for-profit and does significant fundraising to keep costs low...this is very important to us as we are not particularly wealthy and value socio-economic diversity in our school community. The low cost made a big difference to us, but also the community-focused nature of OLNS's mission. We are so happy with this school that we're planning on foregoing the unpredictable nature of UPK next year and continuing at Old First for our daughter's final year of preschool. She loves it, and so do we! Recommend (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend Would you send your child again? Absolutely
2014 Daycare/Preschool PSP reviewLength of Time: full days, 5 days/week Child's Age: 2-3 years3-4 years4-5 years Review: We love Old First Nursery School! It's a play-based school (the emphasis is on learning through play and experiences, not formal education--very different than the core curriculum model) with a wonderful curriculum taught by 2 teachers who have been at the school for many years and are amazing with the children. OFNS has lots of field trips and outside specialists, which is a nice way to integrate the school experience with neighborhood life. The school has a beautiful gorgeous facility, full of light and with big indoor and outdoor spaces for the children to play, including a private garden/playground. Instead of disciplining with timeouts or other punitive measures, the teachers emphasize helping the children find the words to communicate their feelings and needs with their peers and families. We have seen incredible growth in our son in this area. One of our favorite things about OFNS is that it isn't a "black box," where you drop-off and pick-up your child and have no idea what happens in between--the teachers are always available before and after school to chat and discuss how things are going, and communication is also very open with the other families at the school. We're so glad we found OFNS for our older child and look forward to sending our younger child as well! Recommend (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend Would you send your child again? Absolutely
2014 Daycare/Preschool PSP reviewProgram: 3 and 4 year olds Length of Time: 9am - 3pm M-F Child's Age: 3-4 years Review: Old First Nursery School is an amazing place for 3 and 4 year olds. My daughter attends and from her very first day she hasn't wanted the school day to end. Especially since they have a basketball court-size indoor play space next to the classroom and an outdoor playground right at the school :-) The teachers are absolutely amazing, empathetic and experienced, and since the school is a co-op, the sense of community is extraordinary. A co-op school? You might be asking yourself, "How does that work?" In a nutshell, the parents run the school which ensures that the way the school operates is a reflection of the parents' values. Fortunately, since Old First Nursery School has been educating preschoolers since 1959, we as parents don't have to reinvent the wheel, but simply build on the traditions of excellence for which the school is known. We're delighted our daughter is going to OFNS and highly recommend the school to anyone with a 3 or 4 year old child. Recommend (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend Would you send your child again? Absolutely
review for Old First Nursery SchoolMy daughter is in her second year at Old First and we have been so happy with her experience there. My husband and I are continually impressed with how much she is learning, the commitment to the arts and to a play-based curriculum. They make good use of the outdoor space as well as the large indoor space for the kids to explore and play. The teachers are also sensitive to creating a nurturing environment where each child's emotional health is attended to. The school only consists of 1 class of 16 children so everyone, including the parents, know each other intimately and a strong community is built through supporting and working together.
(no subject)I cannot say enough great things about Old First. Our son is happy and excited about school and truly loves it there. The beautiful space and garden, small size of the school (one class of about 15 kids with 2 teachers) and quality of the teachers all make for a great environment. The teachers are invested in the happiness and growth of all of the children. The cooperative nature of the school, while not for everyone, has been wonderful for our family. It is a genuine community.
(no subject)I cannot say enough great things about Old First. Our son is happy and excited about school and truly loves it there. The beautiful space and garden, small size of the school (one class of about 15 kids with 2 teachers) and quality of the teachers all make for a great environment. The teachers are invested in the happiness and growth of all of the children. The cooperative nature of the school, while not for everyone, has been wonderful for our family. It is a genuine community. (Feb 2011)