Arts-Based Montessori Family Program

For Your Child



The arts advance learning in children and is proven to enhance neurological systems which include integrated sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capabilities. These are the driving forces for all other learning. Self-discipline, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure and emotional expression also all benefit according to voluminous research. At Columbia University, Judith Burton’s study of more than 2000 children found that “those in an arts curriculum were far superior in creative thinking, self-concept, problem solving, self-expression, risk taking and cooperation than those who were not (Burton et al., 1999).”

Learn more about our Arts Based Curriculum



Our Montessori based education nurtures your child’s life-long desire to learn by cultivating their whole development — cognitive, social, emotional, and physical. Your child is empowered to be a fully contributing member to their classroom, family, and community. The early childhood years are when children develop their beliefs about themselves, their attitudes toward learning, their understanding of the world around them, as well as their sense of success and self-esteem. Dr. Maria Montessori, visionary of modern children’s education, built these core understandings into the very foundation of her model.

Learn more about our Montessori Foundations



Connecting children to the natural world in their early years is critical. Studies show this develops patience and quiet watchfulness, and increases imagination as they construct stories from natural objects. This is a cornerstone in The Studio Garden curriculum and classroom experience. We create consistent and meaningful experiences for children with nature and give opportunities for their adults to model respect for nature in class. This helps our students better explore an understand their place in the natural world within the caring context of their community.

Learn more about Nature Exploration in our classrooms.



Studies from Harvard Family Research Project show that children who attended a preschool program in which a parent/loving adult joined their classroom learning performed better in Kindergarten, possessed a deeper bond, and had a more seamless connection between home and school. The Studio Garden supports parents as their child’s first and primary teacher. Children and parents learn and play together. These early educational moments give parents valuable insight into their child’s ideal learning style.

Learn more about our Adult Supported Learning


For Parents



We help you access what your child is learning in a way that cultivates you as a partner in their learning.  Our rigorous and creative Montessori curriculum and materials are interactive and foster learning through relationship – parent and child, teacher and student, friends and classmates.  This approach to learning not only develops your child intellectually but also socially and emotionally as well.  Research has shown that children who experience joy in learning with a trusted adult are better problem solvers, creative thinkers, and have better neurological development.


Children are primarily sensorial learners so our arts-driven approach gives greater access for their learning. The arts, music, movement and story-telling are central to our curriculum.  Engaging with the arts promotes joy, wonder and discovery and is multi-sensory. The arts are a natural vehicle to enter into your child’s world, to be fully present, experiencing their creative thinking and discovery.  Working creatively with your child also emboldens your creativity, and sense of adventure, and allows you to seamlessly carry that sense of wonder into your everyday life.


Important learning takes place in the smaller, in-between moments within the transitions of a formal lesson.  It is in those moments that we shape not only what they are learning but who they are becoming.  You can support your child’s academic development while also nurturing the values you want them to live by as they grow.  The Studio Garden is also a place for community and support between teachers, parents and trusted adults in the classroom, as well as opportunities to learn from one another.  Outside the classroom, we also host parent workshops, artist in residence workshops and family outings.   We are dedicated to lending all of our efforts in supporting you and nuturing your child with your individual journeys.

Meet our team



Founder / Head Teacher

Michelle Laytner, M.A. in Arts Education, founded The Studio Garden because she believes every child should know that each day is an adventure; that they are an explorer of their outer and inner worlds; and that the tools of paint, musical instruments, and materials from nature are their gateways to unlock their unbridled potential. In her previous work with youth, Michelle founded a youth theater company and also came to work at Sesame Street (which she affectionately refers to as ‘The Mother Ship’) where she focused on the power of art to promote reconciliation through the special series for Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian co-production.


Mentor / Guest Teacher

Kia Woods, Director. B.S., Elementary Education; M.A., Expressive Arts Therapy; Curriculum Designer, Music Educator and Resouce Teacher. Kia is an educator with over thirty years working with infant, toddler, preschool, elementary school, adolescent and adult education programs. Her focus has always been on creative potential, personal development and artistic expression. She is the author of Art & Soul, a training course on creativity.


Music Curriculum Advisor

Elizabeth Yoder, PhD, has taught piano and voice to children and adults privately and through music schools for over 15 years.  Since becoming a mother, she has become even more fascinated with the influence of music on children and their education.  Elizabeth believes that an understanding of one’s potential in music can lead to greater understanding of one’s potential in other areas of life. Alongside her teaching schedule, Dr. Yoder maintains an active performance schedule, which allows her the chance to provide a fresh perspective for her students.  Elizabeth continually learns from her students and is thrilled to pass along new ways to enjoy music.

Guest Class or Contact Us


If you would like to participate in a guest class or have any questions, please contact us using the information below.  We look forward to welcoming you to The Studio Garden soon!

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884 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10025

Phone number

+ 1 646 961-3507

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