Tracy K. Smith
Professor of Creative Writing
Lewis Center for the Arts
William C. Wu
M.D. Child Psychiatrist
Instructor in Clinical Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Middle School Head
The Packer Collegiate Institute
I am so fortunate to have been able to send two of my children to Choo Choo, and years after, to know that my family is still part of the amazing community that has been created there. My children benefitted so much from the open, caring, beautiful environment, from the warmth and love and dedication of their teachers, and from the incredible opportunities they had to find and explore their interests and their growing sense of themselves. I am indebted to Ms. Ela and the rest of the Choo Choo faculty for providing such an extraordinary experience for my children as they learned to become writers, artists, engineers, philosophers, and friends.
Choo Choo is a very special place for young children, filled with the magic of discovery and the gift of real learning.
Chair, School of Visual Arts MA in Design Research
Professor of Art, Borough of Manhattan Community College, NY and Pratt Institute, NY
The art curriculum exemplifies what I most admire about Choo Choo Train Day Care. I never detect an agenda regarding what art should look like from the teachers, nor is there special praise for certain works but not others. Instead, Ms. Ela and her staff create an atmosphere of unconditional support, every work of art by every student celebrated for what it is, all students encouraged to explore and learn free from the limitations of expectations. The walls of the school are beautifully decorated with a rotating exhibit of the children's most recent art projects, hung as carefully and conscientiously as artwork in a gallery, sometimes framed with a mat, sometimes hung from wires. Giving the children that kind of respect and support helps them grow more self assured and deepens their interest in art and, as a bonus, the parents also learn from the school's example.
When I drop my daughter off at school in the morning, I leave feeling confident and secure in the knowledge that she is respected, loved and well cared for. Every day I am moved by the level of mental and emotional nurture being given to the children at Choo Choo. It is nothing short of exceptional. And often beyond even my own limitations as a parent. Its a fantastic feeling as a mother, to know that you have done right by your child.
Beth & Rafael
(parents of Charlotte, age 4)
Cyntha Roy & Willa
Choo Choo is simply a most magical and creative place; where learning happens through making clay sculptures, dancing tango or to the drums, story circles, planting the garden and singing, among so many other joyous activities. We are so happy that our boy was part of this wonderful place, and that he received that solid foundation and celebrations of good friendships and inspiration.
Jennifer Jones, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO of LearnGarden, Inc.
Author of book The Three P’s of Parenting