About US

Tribeca Preparatory is a 12-month private early childhood and elementary program dedicated to children 4-8 years of age who have social communication and other developmental delays. We tailor our programs to each child to focus on their individual academic, social/emotional and behavioral needs. Our related services are integrated throughout our program to ensure all children succeed in a group setting. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our students for a less restrictive environment by developing the readiness skills to succeed.


Tribeca Preparatory is a developmentally oriented program committed to the “Whole Child Approach.” Our supportive school structure prioritizes a low student-to-teacher ratio to provide the necessary framework to carry out each child’s customized educational plan.

Individualized Educational Approach

Our small class size (6-8 children) allows us the flexibility to customize our program for each child to effectively address their learning needs. We start with class in a group setting to acclimate our students to the more traditional learning approach. Children are then separated into smaller groups by learning styles and skill levels. This flexibility allows us to scale towards a 2:1 or 1:1 student-to-teacher ratio as necessary. This approach lets each child learn at their own pace in their own space.


Tribeca Preparatory School offers a full academic curriculum in social-language rich classrooms with behavioral supports. We adhere to the New York State Common Core standards for literacy, math, science, and social studies. We offer art, music/movement, physical education, as well as related services in speech, occupational therapy and counseling. Each educational component synergistically works together to maximize each child’s learning potential.


We embrace teamwork and take a collaborative approach towards each of our children to help them achieve educational success. Collaborating with teachers, related service providers, parents, caregivers, and community members is essential to our program and ultimately provides everyone with a better understanding of how each child learns inside and outside the classroom.

Our Mission

The Tribeca Preparatory School is devoted to helping children maximize their learning potential in a supportive and nurturing environment. We embrace our children’s strengths and prepare them for educational success.

Our Founder


Shirley started her career in Tribeca 21 years ago treating children with developmental delays.  Tribeca has always been her professional home and she is thrilled to be home again to introduce Tribeca Preparatory School.   Shirley received her Master’s degree in Special Education with a specialization in behavioral disorders from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. She received her undergraduate degree in Communications Disorders at Kean University.

Shirley started teaching in the New York City public school system teaching learning disabled elementary students. She later accepted a position at YAI/NYL Lifestart, a premier New York City based not for profit organization. Her professional career went up the ranks at this organization where she worked for 10 years.   Shirley was a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and worked with developmentally delayed children aged 0-5 years She went on to become a lead ABA SEIT whose responsibilities consisted of designing individualized home and school curriculum and leading educational teams for early intervention and preschool cases. She worked intensively with speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and physicians to design effective programs for each of her students. In addition to being a SEIT, she also provided parent- training sessions. Shirley then took on a supervisory role at YAI/NYL Lifestart as an ABA field specialist. As a Specialist, Shirley supervised home and school based cases for early intervention and preschool student.

Shirley’s passion for teaching, and a desire to share her innovative I LEARN THROUGH PLAY™ approach to social skills development, led to the creation of Ready, Set, Play! in 2007. Ready, Set, Play! is a therapeutic social skills playgroup for children with special needs in NYC.

In 2010, Shirley accepted a position at Queens College as an adjunct professor teaching graduate students in the Educational and Community Program in Special Education.  Shirley is also an accomplished speaker and has given professional development seminars at several area schools and organizations.

Shirley currently offers after-school playgroups and social skills enrichment classes through Ready, Set, Play!. Shirley continues to consult with families, schools, provides private home/school-based therapy for children, and continues to develop new and innovating teaching methods for Ready, Set, Play!

In 2019, she founded Tribeca Preparatory School.