History

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The Rhinelander Industrial School was built in 1891 as a trade school where girls learned skills such as jewelry and lace-making.

The Rhinelander Industrial School was built in 1891 as a trade school where girls learned skills such as jewelry and lace-making. The property and funds for the school were donated to The Children's Aid Society by noted philanthropists Julia and Serena Rhinelander.

The school's mission evolved over time, and Rhinelander came to house the city’s first children's dental and mental health clinics. During the second half of the 20th century, Rhinelander began offering after-school programs, drug prevention, tutoring, mental health services and job readiness training services to Yorkville's low-income families.

In the mid-1980s, Children’s Aid decided to concentrate its programming in Yorkville on young and elementary school-aged children and new families moving into the neighborhood. It was then that the Rhinelander we know now began to take shape. By 1990, Rhinelander was offering "Mommy and Me" and toddler classes for children under age 4, visual and performing arts for neighborhood elementary school children, and a recreational program for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. By the mid-1990s, an accredited nursery school, summer camp program, and Saturday recreational program for deaf and hard-of-hearing teens were also available.

Today, Rhinelander serves approximately 600 children annually in our Early Childhood, Nursery, and After-School Programs. The Early Childhood Program has become enormously popular, providing enriching offerings that support the development of healthy minds and bodies. Our Nursery School, a member of the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York, is consistently ranked as one of New York City’s best, as reflected in the increasing demand for spots. And our After-School Arts and Smarts Clubs help meet the needs of working families for high-quality care during the non-school hours, providing pick-up from area schools, homework help and arts-based programming. The Rhinelander Center also houses The Children's Aid Society National Training Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. The Center trains professionals in New York City and throughout the country to work with teenagers using a successful model of pregnancy prevention developed under the direction of Dr. Michael Carrera. For more information about the National Training Center, click here.

Finally, we continue our tradition of reaching out to children with special needs through the Rhinelander Saturday Program for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Teens. A wide array of activities are offered, including games, trips and community service. Emphasis is placed on building peer relationships, self-esteem and working with staff who are also deaf and who serve as positive role models. This is the only free, recreational program for deaf young people in New York City and has been generously supported by private donations and public funds.