The New Amsterdam school is part of the worldwide Waldorf education program, based on the ideas of the scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. It is the first Waldorf preschool and kindergarten in Downtown Manhattan. Steiner viewed each human being as unique, with a body, soul and spirit capable of thinking, feeling, and willing, and he believed these capacities are present at birth. He believe that we need the right environment to properly develop these capabilities, and Waldorf teachers work to create that environment. They strive to meet the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs of children at each developmental stage, while recognizing children’s individual spirits, giving them plenty of room for imagination. Entering a Waldorf classroom for the first time, many parents experience New Amsterdam’s beautiful, child-centered environment as a peaceful sanctuary in the busy city.