The school serves as a site for several training programs. Pediatric residents (from Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York) began visiting the school regularly in 1981. They spend several mornings in the school as part of their training in behavioral and developmental pediatrics. Their visits include observations to help them understand the dynamics of normal group behavior, the developmental differences among the various age groups, and the skills required for successful early childhood teaching, among others. Pediatric Residents from St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx also visit the school three or four times during the year.
The second training program was inaugurated in 1991 with the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYS PI), also located at the Medical Center. During the rotation, two fellows at a time do observations one morning per week for three to four months. They act as observer/assistants in the rooms for the same reasons the pediatric residents spend time in the classrooms, but also are asked to share their observations and clinical expertise with the teachers and director. In addition, they may be asked to provide individual attention to certain targeted children. The fellows receive direct supervision during their weekly visits.
These two training programs, probably unique in New York City, have brought immeasurable benefits to the children and staff. The teachers have had direct and regular contact with medical and mental health professionals whose observational skills are acute. At the same time, these professionals are able to observe and participate in a program which provides them with a picture of a quality early childhood school and an image of good early children educators.
The school also is privileged to have graduate students in early childhood education from Hunter and City Colleges. These student teaching and observation experiences occur in the fall and the early spring.