Morningside PlayCare


Nursery - 2nd Grade

A very special

Early Childhood Program

Childcare, Pre-School,

Language School

Mandarin & Spanish

100% Immersion  

Give your child a lifelong gift... Make her  multilingual.  Make him bilingual.


Your child will begin understanding a new language in a matter of weeks.

About Us

We Value Language,

Nature, Diversity, and Yoga.


We are a 100% Mandarin and Spanish immersion program. Morningside PlayCare's distinctive play-based and nature-based curriculum was inspired by Waldorf schools, Flying Deer Nature Center, and yoga.


Five years ago, Dr, Gail Foster with the support of two other future-minded women educators, and a handful of Columbia University families, turned a big vision into the most unique early childhood program in the city.  Morningside PlayCare combined love of children and nature, with a passion for language, yoga, and diversity.  We studied immersion schools in Europe, and the amazing new research on the neurolinguistics of the young brain. 


In 2015 we opened Morningside PlayCare's Toddler Language Project - the only nursery school in New York City which allows young children to acquire two or three languages, while providing nurturing, loving care; The only early childhood program that cultivates a deep wonder about the natural world, while steeping children in the values of respect for all living things; The only online Mandarin Kindergarten and First grade that teaches language while celebrating art through organic creative expression. 


Research Based - As a Lab school, we not only base our curriculum on the latest neuroscience, we are collecting data on language acquisition and best practices in early childhood immersion. Our amazing language acquisition results have been presented at national Chinese language, and Early Childhood immersion conferences around the country.  Our program is also known as The Toddler Language Project.

Morningside PlayCare cultivates the language genius,

open mindedness, and wonder-filled hearts of young children. We do this with love

and nurturing care, within a play-based, nature-discovery curriculum.

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What Does the Science Say?


Recent discoveries in the neuroscience of the young brain are astounding.  The traditional model for early childhood education is out-of-sync with current research on developing brains. Groundbreaking neuroscience research shows us that children aged 0-6 are “geniuses” at language-learning. 


The research is clear...







Language is acquired socially.  100% immersion is the most effective way to learn a foreign language.  That's why our online classes include group and individual instruction; study and play.  That's why our in-person program for toddlers is all play and discovery.

Multi-linguals have enhanced cognitive development, are more agile thinkers, and out-perform their peers on standardized tests. This is reflected on standardized test scores and SATs as they grow older.

In collecting our own data (recently presented at the National Chinese Language Conference), we’ve found that children immersed in a second language from age one, are understanding in weeks, and fluent by age five.


Why, then, are there so few early childhood language immersion programs in the U.S? Why are most Americans still, monolingual, even with the rising importance of diplomatic, social, and business relations with countries like China?  Change comes slow to the mainstream.  But many, many parents are finding a way right now, to prepare their children for the future. 

Why not wire your child’s young brain now for the future they are growing into? 

Create the cognitive agility that supports academic success. Make your child one of the bridge-builders of the future. Give your child the confidence of being multilingual.  Give her the opportunities that the future holds. Give him the freedom to be comfortable in a diversity of cultures.  Give your child the gifts of love of language and nature.  Submit an Application. Our results will amaze you.

A Brief Window Of Opportunity

For a brief period in time, the young brain has the capacity

to naturally acquire two, three, or more languages. 

Science says this genius level capacity drops dramatically after age 6,

and then falls off after age 13. 

Morningside PlayCare Programs

Serving Children 1 to 7 Years

In-Person PlayCare and

Outdoor Nature Discovery

for Children Ages 1 to 7.  

Mommy / Daddy & Me Online

Our PreK, Kindergarten 

 & First Grade

Online Mandarin Courses Combine

Reading, Writing, Speaking,

Art, Music and

One-on-One & Small Group Learning

We Can Have Fun in Any Language 

WHAT PARENTS ARE SAYING  ABOUT Morningside PlayCare Immersion

Meet Our Staff

Panpan Cui, PhD 

Lead Mandarin Teacher

Dr. Panpan Cui (Cui Laoshi) is an mom-educator, and native Mandarin speaker with a Ph.D. in Theoretical Linguistics and International Cultural Studies from Tohoku University in Japan.  A mother of a two-year old, Cui Laoshi (Laoshi is the Chinese title for teachers) is a scholar-practitioner with several years teaching experience who is a natural with young children.  She enthusiastically combines her background as a mom, teacher, and linguistics scholar to design engaging and distinctive, play-based activities for the toddlers and pre-schoolers at Morningside PlayCare. Dr. Cui is particularly interested in identifying best practices in the teaching of Mandarin to young children that can contribute to the fields of early childhood Mandarin education and linguistics.

Rocio Arias, OCFS

Child Care Manager and Lead Spanish Teacher

Rocio Arias has over ten years experience in private group home child care, day care, and in serving as a Nanny.  She has also served as a New York City licensed Childcare Provider.  Arias Laoshi is a native Spanish speaker and New Yorker with roots in the Dominican Republic.  She has OCFS certifications in the areas of Infant and Toddler health, safety, early childhood social/emotional and cognitive development, and infant/toddler first aid. She is working toward her Bachelor's degree in early childhood bilingual education at the City University of New York. Arias Laoshi's love of young children and gentle teaching style cause her to excel at teaching both children and interns.

宋诗琴 Shiqin Song, MA 

After School Mandarin Teacher

Shiqin Song is an educator-mom with over ten years experience teaching young children, developing curriculum, and training teachers.  A lover of languages, she is a native Mandarin speaker from China who is also fluent in French. Song Laoshi is a progressive early childhood educator specializing in early childhood bilingual education. She has planned  and developed curriculum for New York’s China Institute and also has experience as a third grade teacher in Montreal. Song Laoshi has a Master of Arts in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages from Shandong University in China, and a BA in Technical English from Hubel University of Technology in China, 

Meet Our Leadership

Gail Foster, Ed.D.

Chief Education Officer

Sheree Palmer, MA

Business Consultant and Advisory Chair

Claudia L. Stedge, M.Ed.,

Developmental Needs


Dr, Gail Foster has a 20 year history as an educational entrepreneur developing frontier programs in her field.  A graduate of Columbia University's Teachers College, her experience includes consulting and leadership service  to school start-up  entrepreneurs, service as a high school administrator, and contributing to the field as a published research scholar. As a research scholar at the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Independent Education, the NYC Department of Education, CUNY, and the Toussaint Institute, she has published on the power of inquiry-based learning, inner city private schools, private school start-ups, small public schools, African American boys with special education labels, and community-based and women led educational enterprises, called historically black independent schools. She is the winner of numerous civic awards and a gubernatorial citation, as well as an invitation to the White House for developing programs that are responsive to parents, place children at the center, and serve as leading edge models for education practitioners and policymakers. In her past incarnation, Dr. Foster founded the Association of Historically Black Independent Schools.

Sheree Palmer is another mom-educator-entrepreneur.  After receiving her Master's degree in Gifted Education from Hunter College, she went on to found two successful independent schools: Cambria Center for the Gifted (CCGC) in 1980, and Cambria School of Excellence in 2009. CCGC, which she began in her home while raising her young children, became so popular with parents and educators for its child-centered, music-rich, and nurturing curriculum, that today her schools serve more than 300 Queens and Long Island children from nursery through eighth grade. Like Morningside PlayCare, Ms. Palmer's schools began with a Teacher/Mom who had a vision for her child. It grew in response to a greater community need. Her understanding of the importance of curriculum that adapts in response to a changing world has always kept the two Cambria Heights schools on the leading edge of the education field. 

With over 20 years experience managing organizations to address needs in early childhood development, Claudia Stedge is co-owner and primary operator of Partnership For Education.  She serves as the principle conductor of the philosophy and business practices that guide her start-up's successful and acclaimed programs. This mom-educator-entrepreneur has a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in Social Work, and a Master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education. She is a licensed Social Worker and has permanent New York State certifications in Special Education, School Social Work, School Administration/Supervision and Teaching of Nursery/Kindergarten, and first through sixth grade. 

Or Call 212-316-0313

Give Your Child the Gift of Language

and Outdoor Nature Discovery. 

Make Your Child Multi-Lingual.