The New Amsterdam School -- downtown NYC's first Waldorf school -- celebrated its grand opening last week in the East Village. The new startup school welcomed its first group of kids into the eco-friendly space located at 62 Avenue B, right across the street from The Earth School! Now Avenue B is THE place for ecological grade school education in Manhattan! Click through our gallery to take a photo tour of this vibrant and green new learning environment in the East Village.
The New Amsterdam School was meticulously designed by James Vira of Viraline Architects, working with a volunteer crew of parents and teachers, to make the space as nurturing and healthy for the students as possible. The interior finishes and furnishings are made from organic and natural materials as much as possible, including local hardwoods, wool and silk.
The entrance of the New Amsterdam School
The walls were carefully painted in a unique style of wall painting popular at Waldorf Schools known as “Lazure”, in which very thin layers of transparent water paint are layered over the top of each other, creating a radiant effect resembling a sunrise or a sunset on your wall! Lead by Lazure artist Robert Logsdon, it took a team of Lazure artists 4 weeks to paint the school.
In addition to the green interior design, the New Amsterdam School is an ecologically-minded school that engages in a number of environmental, health and wellness practices to promote the wellbeing of its students and staff. Health and environmental concerns inform all of the material choices, and extra care was taken to use toxin-and VOC-free paint, furnishings, flooring and other interior finishes. The classrooms are lit using natural daylighting as much as possible, saving on energy usage, as well as providing health benefits for the students and teachers.
Only toxin-free, organic soaps and cleaning products are used in the school and only reusable tableware (cloth napkins, glass cups, ceramic plates) are provided during meals. All toys are made of organic materials only (wood, wool, silk), and virtually no plastic- or petroleum-derived products can be found anywhere in the school.
In addition to the green practices employed at the school, the Waldorf pedagogy focuses on understanding the natural world and the rhythms of the seasons. Students learn how to make wholesome, organic food from scratch each day, how to compost, and how to grow a vegetable garden. They even use the produce grown in their garden to make their daily lunch!
For more information about the New Amsterdam School and to find out how you can enroll your child there, click here.