Lower School


Transitional Kindergarten - 6th Grade

Art, music, and emotional learning focus group

We strongly believe in providing children with a curriculum that is both developmentally appropriate and continuously progressive, allowing them to acquire a diverse range of knowledge and essential skills for future learning. The New York Military and Canterbury Brook Academy of the Arts curriculum is a manifestation of our mission: to inspire a genuine love for learning, cultivate self-confidence, and promote a sense of duty towards contributing to the community.

We understand that the early years of a child’s academic journey are crucial for instilling positive attitudes and a passion for learning. We appreciate and encourage a young child’s natural inclination for creative expression and self-discovery. By nurturing and building upon their curiosity, we foster a cooperative spirit, while instilling respect for others, their ideas, and a deep satisfaction in personal intellectual growth.

Alongside classroom instruction, our students actively participate in various special subject areas on a weekly basis. These encompass science, computer studies, music, art, and fitness. While each of these disciplines is discussed separately, our Lower School program is designed as an integrated and cohesive whole.

We believe in the power of collaboration, and our curriculum is the result of ongoing conversations among our faculty and administration. It reflects our profound respect for NYMA’s esteemed academic history, as well as our commitment to remaining connected with contemporary educational practices and philosophical perspectives. As a living document, our curriculum will continue to evolve and grow in response to the needs and aspirations of our students.

What We Offer

  • Four, brain-based divisions of grades
  • Experienced staff of passionate professionals
  • 10:1 Student:Teacher Ratio
  • Growth-based grading system
  • Experiential learning opportunities
  • Hands-on, multi-sensory approach
  • Og And Paf used with all students in Tk-4th
  • A full SEL (Social Emotional Learning) curriculum

Our Core Beliefs

  • All learning styles have value
  • Exposure to the arts increases achievement
  • Schools can improve communities
  • Emotional well-being is critical to success
  • Achievement is measured in personal growth
  • Every child is an individual
  • Teachers and parents are teammates
  • Students deserve to be respected for who they are
  • Learning is not limited to the academic classroom
  • Explicit instruction is the name of the game
  • Cross-curricular instruction is key
  • We are a family

The Arts Tracks

Though there are countless things that make the Lower School a unique place educationally, perhaps our most remarkable feature is our identity as a fully incorporated arts school. Starting in our early childhood program, our students are immersed in arts education, taking daily classes in visual arts, music, and dance. We expose them to everything, encourage them to explore, and learn more about these disciplines and about themselves and their own unique gifts.


Our Visual Arts department is where our students formally train in stylistic art forms, but visual arts are incorporated into every classroom, at every grade level. Our Early Childhood students, from Transitional Kindergarten through grade 6, all take classes in music. Through these classes, they explore vocal and instrumental music, music history, music theory, ear and rhythmic training, and styles of music.

Visual Arts Course Offerings:

  • Daily General Art Classes, including set design
  • In-class Art History Projects
  • In-Class Famous Artists Studies

Director of Visual Arts:

Ms. Kayla Heikkinen


From our youngest to our oldest students, music is an integral part of our school’s program. Our Early Childhood students, from Transitional Kindergarten through grade 6, all take classes in music. Through these classes, they explore vocal and instrumental music, music history, music theory, ear and rhythmic training, and styles of music.

Music Program Course Offerings:

  • Daily General Music Classes: covers instrumental and vocal music as well as music appreciation, ear training, and the basics of music history and theory
  • Daily Theater-based Music Classes

Music Director:

Mr. Scott Chatfield

Scott Chatfield is a lifelong resident of Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, and has always had a great love of music. He has been a private music educator for over a decade. Scott attended Cornwall Central High School where he was awarded the John Philip Sousa Band Award for superior musicianship and outstanding dedication. After high school, Scott attended the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education.


From our youngest to our oldest students, a love of movement and a sense of body positivity are the top two goals of the program. Dance students at Lower School may dance recreationally in addition to their pursuits in the other artistic areas or may dance pre-professionally, working toward a career or future in the dance world. Classes are offered at varying levels starting in our Primary School to allow both recreational and pre-professional dancers an enriching opportunity to explore this art form. Like all of our art tracks, the dance track supports the academic pursuits of our students and seeks to encourage the pupils involved in this track to put as much effort into their academics as they would in a movement class. Students who are seeking pre-professional dance training are carefully taught and guided, enabling them to pursue a degree in dance after graduation or a transition directly into the professional world.

Dance Program Course Offerings:

All classes are offered at either a pre-professional (PP) or recreational (RD) level starting in grade 3. This is determined by the desire of the student and the focus of the child’s program once Primary School begins. Until that point, our students in the Early Childhood Program are exposed to dance through classes differentiated to meet their needs.

  • Ballet (Pointe available for grades 7 and up at teacher discretion)
  • Modern
  • Jazz
  • Hip Hop
  • Musical Theater
  • Tap
  • Yoga
  • Choreography
  • Strength Training
  • Acro
  • Cultural Dance
  • Dance Aerobics

Director of the Dance Department:

Ms. Nina Vargas

Born and raised in Orange County, New York, Nina Vargas has been dancing since she was three years old. She began dancing with Powers Dance Arts where she was taught ballet, jazz, and tap. At the age of nine, Nina was introduced to Broadway veteran Darlene Wilson and dance became more than a hobby. Nina continued her dance education and received her B.F.A in dance from Long Island University at Post with honors. During her time at Post, Nina was able to work with choreographers like Steven Vaughn from Parsons Dance and Michael Leon-Thomas from Alvin Ailey.

After School Programs

Drone Pilot Program

This program is filled with pure action! Students will first learn about the basic safety of drone flying and the history behind it.  From there, students will progress through various skill challenges and learn how to perform various exercises and maneuvers to become familiar with the drone’s speed and agility. Flight squads post up against one another in friendly competition when they race themselves and the clock. Students will first maneuver the drone through creative obstacle courses before taking on the challenge of flying for speed. 

Cybersecurity Program

Learn what it takes to protect networks, devices, people, and data from unauthorized access and cyberattacks using Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools.

Athletic Program

We value our student athletes and what they bring to the Lower School. We want to help our students to reach their goals and full potential. We do so by using our core values and leadership techniques to make them stronger in mind, body and spirit. We have a beautiful gymnasium on campus that was built and used by the New York Knicks from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. We also have a 3,000 square foot fitness center for our athletes. We are a proud member of the Hudson Valley Athletic League (HVAL) as well as the prestigious New England Prep School Athletics Conference (NEPSC), which is the #1 prep school league in the country.


All SeasonsFall SeasonWinter SeasonSpring Season
Scuba Diving
Cross Country
Table Tennis
Ultimate Frisbee
Pickle Ball
Flag Football


All SeasonsWeightlifting
Scuba Diving
Fall seasonCross Country
Winter SeasonBasketball
Table Tennis
Spring SeasonBaseball
Ultimate Frisbee
Pickle Ball
Flag Football


Standard School Day 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM$15,000.00
Extended School Day 7:00 AM – 5:30 PM (Includes breakfast, lunch, and after school sports programs)$25,000.00

*Transportation is provided

*Options exist to purchase breakfast, lunch, or sports package separately