Skip To Main Content


A Joyful Community


Where Every Child is Known

Students walking through the entrance of The Green Vale School, a private school in Long Island, New York

News & Videos

The GVS Connection: Building Character Through the Buddies Program

Fridays at Green Vale pulse with a special kind of energy. Certainly, the half-day schedule adds to the sense of excitement, but it's the select Fridays that truly sparkle—when Upper School students meet with their Early Childhood buddies for an array of engaging and fun-filled activities. It's a time where the spirit of camaraderie is front and center, turning an ordinary Friday into an extraordinary experience at Green Vale.

A beacon of the school's commitment to character education and community spirit, the Buddies Program essence lay in the simple, yet profound idea of pairing Upper School students with the youngest members of the Green Vale family. This mentorship extended beyond the confines of the classroom and into the heart of what it means to be a responsible Upper School leader and part of a caring community. 

Olivia Lichota, an 8th Grade GVS student, embodies the spirit of the Buddies Program. Her eyes lit up as she reflected upon first meeting her Early Childhood buddies over the years. Olivia, along with her peers, had prepared for this role, understanding that their actions would now be seen through the magnifying lens of admiration and innocence.

“I like the buddy experience because it gives us the chance to be role models for younger kids," Olivia shared. She also recognized that her words, her actions, even her mannerisms were now mirrored by another. It was not just about being a mentor; it was about being a worthy one.

The Buddies Program acts as a microcosm of the world outside the school's nurturing embrace. It’s a preparatory ground, where Upper School students learn to lead not by authority, but by example. They come to understand that true leadership is defined by a behavior and the relentless pursuit of the betterment of others.Through this tradition, students also learn invaluable life lessons—empathy, responsibility, and the power of positive influence.

As the year unfolds, the buddies will meet during various school events, each interaction weaving a stronger bond, and a firmer commitment to the values Green Vale stands behind. It’s through these interactions that the Upper School students discover the joy of selflessness, and the younger ones experience the security of a guiding hand.  

Kristin Naston, GVS Science teacher and 6th Grade Advisor, watched as her 6th graders stepped into their new roles this year as big buddies. “The Buddy Program in the Upper School is probably everyone’s favorite tradition,” she said. The transformation she witnessed each year never failed to impress her. She explained that the “big kids”—often seen juggling the trials of adolescence—shed their cloaks of self-consciousness and commanded their new position with a natural grace that was both heartwarming and inspiring.

The story of Green Vale's Buddies Program is not just about the events that take place during the school year. It’s about the quiet moments of connection, the gentle nudges towards excellence, and the echoes of laughter bridging the gap between years. It becomes a legacy of leadership and character—a testament to the understanding that to build a strong future, one must nurture the roots with intention and care.


Foundation for Success: GVS 8th Graders Prepare for Secondary School Interviews

In alignment with The Green Vale School’s mission to inspire and challenge students by cultivating intellect, character, and confidence as a foundation for success, Julia Ireland, a seasoned veteran of the communications industry, imparted a wealth of experience and knowledge to the GVS 8th Grade students. 

With 32 years of experience as a communications coach, Ireland understands the power of persuasion, the art of presentation, and the significance of making a lasting impression. Her task at Green Vale was to teach the nuances of the interview process for secondary school to 8th Grade students–a pivotal moment in their academic journey. With passion and conviction, Ireland delved into her lessons, focusing not just on the words they spoke but the way they carried themselves.

During one of her sessions, Ireland orchestrated a variety of exercises aimed at refining the students' greetings, perfecting the art of a firm handshake, modulating tone and voice clarity, and harnessing the energy within them. She knew that the subtleties of body language could speak volumes, often louder than words. She guided them through mock interviews, throwing challenging questions their way, urging them to respond with confidence and clarity. 

“I want these young students to understand the big picture about communication that they may not even be aware of,” Ireland began. “Only 7% is what you actually say, 38% is how you say it, and 55% is what your whole body is doing.”  

Ireland also instilled the importance of leaving a memorable impression that would echo long after students had left the interview room. She emphasized that this process was not just about answering questions; it was about showcasing specifics about their authentic selves, their passions, and their potential–all things they could ultimately bring to the table.

One of the key takeaways was to treat this experience like a job interview. She encouraged students to research the schools they aspired to join, to understand their ethos and values. Preparation, she stressed, was the cornerstone of success.

But beyond the immediate goal of secondary school applications, these lessons extended far into the future. The art of confident communication and the ability to make a powerful first impression, were assets for a lifetime. This was about empowering young minds with skills that would serve them in college interviews, job applications, boardroom meetings, and beyond.  

"It's crucial for them to grasp the art of self-advocacy. In today's fiercely competitive world, it's about finding those unique qualities that set them apart from the sea of applicants," Ireland emphasized. "I want to guide them to showcase their achievements with confidence, aligning their strengths with their choice of Secondary School, as well as in the future with potential job opportunities.” 

In the end, Ireland didn't just teach interview and communication techniques; she sculpted futures. As the students absorbed her teachings, they became better prepared to face the world with a little more focus on their intellect, their character, and their confidence … determined to leave a lasting impression.

Green Vale’s Early Childhood Center: Strengthening the Value of Community

In a heartwarming gesture of community spirit, The Green Vale School’s Early Childhood Center, along with the generosity of its parent body, extended a helping hand to their neighbors in need, organizing a donation of more than 50 boxes of diapers and wipes to the Glen Cove Boys and Girls Club.

The GCGBC, a nonprofit organization with a long history of serving underprivileged youth and families in the greater Glen Cove community, is a neighborhood-based facility designed for youth programs and activities.

The Club, deeply appreciative of the donation, expressed their gratitude for the invaluable support. “This has been a tough year for our families in need with young children,” said Irene Fuentes, GCBGC Family and Community Engagement Manager. “Now, with your donation of vital necessities that are often overlooked, we can continue to assist our families facing economic challenges.”

At Green Vale, our commitment to community is not just a value; it echoes the very essence of our community-focused ethos. Research affirms what we witness every day: early exposure to community service nurtures a profound sense of belonging and connection. It has also been proven to nurture essential life skills such as empathy, teamwork, and social responsibility. These experiences shape the character of our students, instilling in them the understanding that they are integral parts of a larger community tapestry.

Kelly Flink, Head of the Early Childhood Center at Green Vale, highlighted the educational significance of such initiatives, stating, “Community service teaches our children that they are part of something bigger. It instills in them a sense of purpose and a deep understanding of the world around them.”

This latest initiative in Early Childhood stands as a shining example of how even the smallest hands can make a significant difference in the lives of others. Through acts of kindness and community service, Green Vale continues to nurture not just bright minds but also compassionate hearts, shaping the leaders and global citizens of tomorrow.


Exploring Ocean Wonders: Marine Science Adventure at Oak Beach

Embarking on a captivating marine adventure, Green Vale’s Upper School Marine Science club recently visited the picturesque shores of Oak Beach. Nestled along the inlet of the Great South Bay, between Fire Island and the Long Island mainland, Oak Beach stands as a vital aquatic estuary, teeming with life.

Amidst this natural wonder, our students immersed themselves in a hands-on exploration, wielding seine nets and dip nets to capture an array of marine specimens.

Among the specimens discovered were Northern Seahorses, Pipefish, Grass Shrimp, and the elusive Northern Puffer Fish. The list extended to include Striped Burrfish, Black Sea Bass, and Schoolmaster Snappers–each a testament to the diverse marine life thriving in our local waters. As evidence to the interconnectedness of our world, some specimens were exotic tropicals, voyagers from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, brought to our shores by the Gulf Stream.

Back at Green Vale’s Marine Science Lab, these specimens found a temporary home in our aquariums and touch tank, becoming subjects of further study and research. Under the guidance of Frank Zanone, a passionate and knowledgeable Upper School Science teacher at Green Vale, our students delved deep into the scientific intricacies, learning not just to identify and record these different specimens, but also understanding the delicate balance of our local aquatic ecosystems.

“There is no substitute for hands-on research out in the field,” said Zanone. “This trip not only provided our students with real-world science applications, but also an opportunity to better understand and appreciate our local marine ecosystem.”

Our Marine Science program at Green Vale isn’t just about classroom learning; it’s about fostering a profound appreciation for our local marine environments and the ecological challenges they face. Through meticulous observation, measurement, and analysis, our students gain a holistic understanding of living and non-living factors that shape our coastal habitats.

In addition to the invaluable field experiences, students learn the art of aquarium setup and maintenance, conducting controlled experiments to decipher the secrets of our local waters.

"My favorite part of the Oak Beach trip was learning about and discovering new sea creatures that I didn't know existed on Long Island such as Puffer fish, seahorses, and Pipefish," added GVS 6th Grade student, Griff Fox. "I also had fun catching them with my friends."

This Oak Beach expedition, with its real-world science applications, enriched our students' scientific knowledge and kindled a profound respect for our local marine ecosystem. Through these immersive experiences, we empower our students as learners and as guardians of our precious aquatic heritage, instilling in them a lifelong love for the world beneath the waves.

GVS 5th Grade Students Practice Team Building

The 5th Grade at Green Vale reached new heights during their first field trip for the 2023-24 academic school year to Wild Play at Jones Beach. While the name suggests a certain kind of unorganized free-for-all, this trip was anything but chaotic.  

Known for their aerial series of suspended adventure courses that engage both mind and body by encouraging teamwork, Wild Play promises to “release your original human and change the course of your life through the thrill and challenge of adventure”. 

As leaders of the Lower School, our 5th Grade students were undoubtedly up for the challenge as they completed 2 course levels that became progressively more challenging. As they continued to conquer wobbly bridges, cargo nets, rope swings, ziplines, and swinging logs, they also built stronger social connections, team commitment, problem-solving abilities, as well as a giant boost in grade morale. 

“It was wonderful seeing students work together to navigate the courses and conquer fears,” said GVS 5th Grade teacher, Ginger Moriello. “Students were cheering each other on–it was really an unforgettable experience!”

At Green Vale, field trips are an extension of the classroom, deepening the connection between learning and real-world experiences. GVS 5th Grade student, Billy, added, “We practiced team building so that we can work together as a unit–trusting and supporting each other, as well as respecting one another’s individual differences.”