The 92Y Vivian Gussin Paley Annual Award for Early Childhood Excellence

We thank Jeffrey and Alice Keimweiss for their generous support of the 92Y Vivian Gussin Paley Award.

Application Process

Teachers must be nominated to apply by school directors, principals, colleagues, college or university faculty or mentors by Fri, Apr 1, 2016 through the online form.

Nominations are reviewed by the selection committee and a select number of teachers are invited to apply.

The applications are reviewed by the selection committee and the award will be presented at the annual Wonderplay Conference.



The award recipient will given to a classroom teacher who has been working with two- to five-year-old children for a minimum of five years in early childhood programs within the greater metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Award Recipient will receive:

  • A $500 cash award
  • A tuition-free course in Early Childhood Education from the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City
  • A day of mentoring and observation with the 92Y Wonderplay program staff based on your specific programmatic interests
  • A complete and signed set of Vivian Gussin Paley’s books
  • Free attendance at the 92Y Wonderplay Conference each year


Since the 1930s, 92Y programs for young children and families have been recognized for their depth, breadth and quality across a broad range of disciplines, and many have become national models.

92Y established Wonderplay™ to enhance the work of our early childhood staff across program disciplines and to broaden our outreach in the larger early childhood community. Today, 5,000 children from birth to 5 years of age, and a staff of 300 teachers and enrichment specialists, participate in the Wonderplay programs. These programs awaken children's innate sense of wonder, promote self-discovery, build self-esteem and inspire a love of learning.

A major component of the Wonderplay initiative is our annual conference, attended by more than 900 educators each year. Vivian Gussin Paley has played an inspirational role in the conference and continues to influence our core values and our vision for the future of early childhood education.

In recognition of her profound contributions, we established the 92Y Vivian Gussin Paley Award for Early Childhood Excellence to elevate the field of early childhood education and to inspire teachers of young children for generations to come.


About Vivian Gussin Paley

A visionary and pioneer in early childhood education, Vivian Gussin Paley examines children's stories and play, their logic and their thinking, searching for meaning in the social and moral landscapes of classroom life. A kindergarten teacher for 37 years, Mrs. Paley brings her storytelling/story acting and discussion techniques to children, teachers and parents throughout the world. In addition to her direct contributions to children and teachers, she is a MacArthur fellow and recipient of numerous awards, including; the 1987 Erikson Institute Award for Service to Children (1987); American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for Lifetime Achievement (1998); the John Dewey Society's Outstanding Achievement Award (2000); and she was named Outstanding Educator in the Language Arts by the National Council of Teachers of English (2004). Her book, The Girl With the Brown Crayon, received the Harvard University Press Virginia and Warren Stone Prize as the outstanding book about education and society (1997) and the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English.