Monthly Archives: December 2014

APPLYING FOR KINDERGARTEN IN BROOKLYN – GENERAL GUIDELINES

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written by Jen #supermom

For those parents with a child entering kindergarten in the Fall of 2015, it is imperative that you start thinking NOW about applying.   Especially for those of us unfamiliar with the process, it can seem a bit daunting and stressful.  Here is my attempt to alleviate a bit of that stress and ambiguity.  These are general guidelines in regards to the application process, along with resources to help answer whatever questions you may have.

 

1) Important Dates:

The application process starts January 7th, 2015  and runs through February 13th, 2015.  Placement offers are given in early April 2015 and pre-registration is in late April 2015.  As of January 7th you can apply online, over the phone or at a Family Welcome Center.

 

2) How to Apply:

Online:   (http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/Elementary/kindergarten),

or

Go to a local Family Welcome Center:

http://schools.nyc.gov/choicesenrollment/newstudents/welcomecenters/default.htm

or

Call the Office of Student Enrollment:  718.935.2009

Here is the Brooklyn 2015 Kindergarten Directory, which can help explain the ins and outs of the process as well as full listings of all elementary schools and important information on each school:  http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/951D2800-BC77-411D-8879-4B2E8CE66972/0/2015KindergartenDirectory_Brooklyn_121214.pdf

You can also subscribe to updates on the NYC Kindergarten Admissions here:  http://schools.nyc.gov/Subscribe/default.htm

 

3) Before Applying, a Few Things to Consider:

– Enrollment is not based on first come, first serve.  If you submit an application within the period noted above, offers are made on “standardized admission priorities” (DOE).

– Decide where you want to apply (do your homework).  Are you happy with the school you are zoned for, or will you consider other schools?  Note that schools give priority to those that are zoned for that particular school.  Keep in mind that if you aren’t accepted to one of these “other” schools, most likely you will be assigned to your zoned school.  Perhaps you will be waitlisted at your school of choice – keep in touch with those schools to ensure they know you are still interested so that they offer a spot when one opens up.

Here are a couple of online resources where you can read reviews on a particular school:

http://insideschools.org/

http://www.schooldigger.com/

For those interested in learning about charter, magnet, dual language and gifted/talented programs, Joyce Szuflita (NYC School Help) will be discussing these options at the Hootenanny Art House on January 26th.  Tickets can be purchased here:   http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1045290

And for parents of children with special needs, this page can offer a bit of guidance:  http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/SpecialEducation.htm

As we’re just a couple weeks out until we can begin submitting applications, this is a good time to start thinking about how happy you are with the school you are zoned for.  Talk to other parents whose children attend these schools, read online reviews, look at the school’s website.  Call the school, set up a time to tour it.  Remember your child will most likely be attending this school for years to come – so think past the kindergarten year.  How do you feel about school size, class size?  How strong are the art & music programs?  Does the school have a “mission statement” or philosophy that you can get behind?  Is there child care offered for before and/or after school?  There are a plethora of questions that can be asked.  Prioritize what is most important to you so you can find the school that is the best fit for you AND your child!

 

HOLIDAY EVENTS FOR YOUR FAMILY….PART 2!

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How is it half way through December already?  With Thanksgiving falling so late this year, I think it’s made many of us fall behind in our holiday planning.    My cards are going out later than ever and still figuring out gifts for many family members.  I know I personally need to step back and enjoy a bit more of the holiday spirit and not get too caught up in the whirlwind of the seemingly endless holiday to-do list!

It’s been a month since the last post on holiday happenings in our neighborhood and several other events have been planned since and are worthy of being shared.  Here are some additional ways we can enjoy the magic of the holidays with our families in Brooklyn:

* Jingle Bell Jamboree at Congregation Beth Elohim (8th Ave & Garfield Place): On Saturday, December 13th at 7pm there will be a holiday concert and sing-a-long!  PS 38 Pop Chorus, Rolie Polie Guacamole, Purelements Dance and more will perform.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jingle-Bell-Jamboree-Brooklyn/274120616024788

* Festive 5th:   On December 13th from 3:30-5pm @ Lulu’s for Baby (44 5th Ave) & on December 20th from 3:30-5pm @ Du Jour Bakery (365 5th Ave) Santa will be walking down 5th Avenue and carolers will be about, spreading holiday cheer and encouraging us all to shop local and support our Park Slope businesses.  http://www.parkslopefifthavenuebid.com/events/festivefifth2014

* Children’s Book Fair at the Shorefront Y (3300 Coney Island Ave):  On Sunday, December 14th from 2-5pm at the Shorefront Y in Coney Island there will be a Children’s Book Fair, which will feature face painting, make your own menorah, books for sale and photos with different characters from your favorite books and movies! https://www.facebook.com/events/698848163555765/

* The Colonial Nutcracker at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (Campus Road at Nostrand Ave):  On Sunday, December 14th at 2pm the Dance Theatre in Westchester will perform a family-friendly version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, along with narration so the younger ones can follow along more easily.  Prior to the show at 1pm they will be hosting a holiday-card decorating workshop!  (Recommended for kids 5yrs+)  http://www.brooklyncenter.org/buy-tickets/calendar-of-events/view/The-Colonial-Nutcracker/

* Channukah Extravaganza at the Kings Bay Y (3495 Nostrand Ave, Sheepshead Bay):  On December 21st from 11am-1pm there will be a Chanukah party full of fun activities including arts & crafts, rides, performances and a menorah lighting ceremony!  (Here is link, although no further info is given):  http://kingsbayy.org/component/jevents/icalrepeat.detail/2014/12/21/53/-/chanukah-extravaganza?Itemid=1

* The Steadfast Tin Solder & Nutcracker Sweets Performances at Puppetworks (338 6th Ave):  On December 26th, 29th, 30th at 12:30pm, 2:30pm & 4:30pm & on the 27th and 28th at 12:30pm and 2:30pm these two puppet shows will be performed.  Reservations suggested, kids 3yrs+.  http://www.puppetworks.org/Coming%20Up/Coming%20Up.htm

Lastly, in the spirit of giving and the holidays, please consider a donation to those in need.  Dr. Cao has teamed up with Crowdrise and is continuing to raise funds for both UNICEF (https://www.crowdrise.com/UNICEFUSA1/fundraiser/SouthSlopePediatrics) and for our local charity, Jonah’s Just Begun (https://www.crowdrise.com/SSPforJJB/fundraiser/SouthSlopePediatrics).    Any and every donation makes a difference.

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!!!! Now get out there and have a little holiday fun!!!

FAMILY BRUNCHIN’ IN THE SLOPE!

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Written by Jen #supermom

I love brunch.  It’s one of my favorite things to do as a family on the weekend.  Dinners out are tough as we have to go so super early, and our toddler seems to be in better spirit in the morning.  So, brunch is the one meal we try to get out and enjoy.  Once the stroller is introduced into your life, the options however narrow a bit as not every venue in town is appropriate (whether space-wise or just doesn’t have the baby/child friendly vibe).  I’m always seeking out new places where the three of us can sit comfortably and not be totally mortified if our 2 YO daughter gets a bit of the crazies during our meal.  Let’s be honest, that happens!

 

Before I list some of our favorite places to brunch at, let me preface this with the following:

1) I am by NO means a food connoisseur,

2) I live in South Slope and tend to stay local, so it’s very like I’ll be leaving off some well deserving venues further up north (I suggest you share recommendations in comments so we can all learn from you) and

3) these are based on my personal experiences at each of these venues, no one else’s.  Here are a handful of some of my favorite weekend brunch spots (in no particular order):

 

* Korzo (667 5th Ave):  Eastern European dishes are aplenty, and it has that comfort-food feel.  Halusky (noodle dish which it is famous for), latkes, an amazing beet salad, chicken schnitzel or fish n’ chips (to name a few) – you cannot go wrong.  And I can’t forget to mention the fried flatbread in egg custard batter with nutella-like spread, bananas and home made whipped cream.  Large space in back with plenty of room for your little ones. FYI they won best burger in NYC (believe the fried burger is only available at dinner but you MUST try it).

 

* Prospect Bar & Grill (545 5th Ave):  SUPER spacious, friendliest staff and decent food.  Favorites are the breakfast burrito and duck hash.  The staff, space and great beer selection are reasons why this gets on my list.  It’s HUGE and recommend arriving earlier (around 11) before it packs up.  Also – big outdoor space for those warmer days!

 

* Mariella (492 6th Ave): Italian and a bit more on the creative side, they only offer organic meat, dairy and eggs and purchase from local farmers.  Very accommodating for children, especially when outdoor area is open.  Vanilla ricotta pancakes – huge hit with both parents and toddler.  Short Rib Hash – YUMM…and there are often delish specials.

 

* Piccoli (522 6th Ave):  Wonderful spot for families.  AMAZING food.  Hard to choose favorite brunch plates but caramelized french toast with marscapone whipped cream and strawberries or organic polenta with mushrooms, truffle oil and poached eggs are two of my favorites.  Super attentive and friendly staff.

 

* Dizzys (230 5th Ave and 511 9th St):  Had to mention, sure everyone has been here already! It’s a favorite not only because it could not possibly be more child-friendly (random favorite thing – they serve milk in special cup with straw that’s fun for your toddler & you can take it home)….but also because food is awesome, staff is super friendly and they open at 7am during week and 9am on weekends.  For those of us that have children napping 11ish it’s a great option to get out before nap time! I love their grits specials or huevos rancheros.

 

* Sidecar (560 5th Ave):  For a brunch with a southern twist, this is the way to go.  Fried chicken and waffles, shrimp & grits,  biscuits & gravy…so super delicious.  And, if you are into bloody mary’s or other specialty cocktails, they have that area totally mastered.   Although a bit more pricey, it’s totally family-friendly.  From the owners to the staff, they are a great bunch of folks.  PS- go back for dinner and get the fried chicken.

 

* J’eatjet (685 5th Ave):  Before reading further note that this establishment is teeny BUT have beautiful space out back – wouldn’t attempt with child unless you are planning to sit outside.  Deeper into South Slope, this gastrobar offers unique menu items like pretzel bites with cheese mustard, lamb burger (my favorite), grilled squid (yummy), and pierogis.   There’s a deep fried PB&J which I must try one day!!!

 

* Krupa Grocery:  Just opened earlier this year, Krupa is mouth-watering yumminess.  The outdoor space is killer, have yet to dine inside.   Menu changes daily but some of the regulars are breakfast gnocchi with fried egg and bacon, lemon-ricotta pancakes (2 YO fave) and lamb burger.  MEntal note…I need to try the Po’ Boy next go-around.  Please be aware that they don’t serve alcohol until noon, so if you want to have your mimosa, keep that in mind!  231 Prospect Park West.

 

Now I am absolutely starving.  Not a smart idea to write this on an empty stomach!  Hope this list offers up a new restaurant or two for you to add to your favorite brunch spots.  And as I said before, it would be fantastic if you commented with your favorites so we (myself included) can try something new!  Happy Brunching!!!

 

#brunchinbrooklyn #pediatrician #doctorcao