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History

Janet Rotter

The Studio School opened in 1971 in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village as a one-room schoolhouse with 25 students, ages 4 to 12. Its founders, Dolores and Robert Welber, believed that there is a strong interplay of the emotions and the intellect in learning. They visualized a school that would incorporate this idea and have a strong developmental point of view, where a child’s intellectual, emotional, physical, and social growth was thoroughly addressed. From this original vision, “The Studio on Eleventh Street” was born.

In 1975, Janet C. Rotter joined Studio as a volunteer and went on to teach all age levels before becoming Head of School in 1984. Ms. Rotter has shaped the school’s approach and has put into place a model for education that demonstrates how children learn and provides teachers with specific techniques to use with their students. This model is based on a comprehensive academic curriculum that gives children many opportunities throughout the school day to think for themselves, create with their own hands, and know and express their thoughts and feelings about what they are living and learning.

Together, Dr. Welber, Mr. Welber, and Ms. Rotter have pioneered Janet Rottermany new programs at Studio, including a program for families and their children from birth through four years old, a mother-infant group, a group for fathers, and a number of workshops for teachers and parents. This included a program that addressed the important process of separation between parents/caretakers and their children. Ms. Rotter also conceived, and developed with the teachers, many innovative curricula, most notably an interdisciplinary course called One World, which combines science, geography, history, and social studies, and which progresses sequentially from early childhood through middle school classes. Studio’s curriculum is always evolving to include new learning possibilities for students.

Janet Rotter

The Studio School moved to the Upper West Side in the late 1970s to expand the early childhood and elementary school and to provide additional space for its programs. After brief stays on 79th Street and 86th Street, the School moved in 1987 to a larger facility on West 95th Street. In 2000, we added a middle school program to give early adolescents the opportunity to learn in an academically accelerated environment in which their personalities could be expressed and appreciated. Teachers now work with children from toddler age into adolescence, a period well known as the crucial developmental years, and which sets the pattern for each child's openness to learning, creativity, and sense of self.

Today, Ms. Rotter, an inspired educator and dynamic administrator, continues the School’s mission to honor the process in learning. Pursuing her dream to provide Studio’s students and families with a permanent home, where all our educational goals could be realized, she spearheaded a committee to launch a Capital Campaign and search for a suitable building. Motivated by the educational excellence of her unique programs, our growing community rallied to support the purchase of two townhouses directly across the street from the school. Reconstruction of these buildings as a larger and brand new home for The Studio School began two years ago, based on specifications for a facility that would complement the Studio’s distinct approach and curricula. We were thrilled to move into this new facility for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The Studio’s student population is now more than 400% its initial size, and we are committed to seeking an increasingly diverse student body and to further developing and expanding the School’s programs. As we look forward to a leading role in twenty-first century education, we invite you to join us in our new home.

The Studio School   117 West 95th Street   New York, NY 10025   212.678.2416   info@studioschoolnyc.org