Monthly Archives: February 2015

APPLYING FOR UNIVERSAL PRE-K IN BROOKLYN: GENERAL GUIDELINES

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written by Jen #supermom

Universal pre-K.  Finally available in NYC as of last year, this is an opportunity for our children to participate in free, full days and prepare these little ones for kindergarten and the future. It’s an amazing chance for all kids to have equal access to early education.   Here I will try to help navigate you through the important dates you need to know, the application process, and other things to consider.

Is your child eligible?  If your child was born in 2011, they ARE ELIGIBLE for pre-K this September for the 2015-2016 school year!

 

1) Important Dates:

The Pre-K application process begins March 16th and runs through April 24th.   On May 29th placements will be announced (date subject to change).  From June 1st through the 19th is pre-registration.

2) How to Apply:

Online:  http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/default.htm (the Brooklyn pre-K Directory will be made available on this page prior to March 16th)

Call:  311

Or Visit a Family Welcome Center:  http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/NewStudents/WelcomeCenters/default.htm

You can also subscribe to updates on the pre-K admissions process here:  http://schools.nyc.gov/Subscribe/default.htm

3) Considerations:

– Parents can rank as many as 12 schools on the pre-K application.  Approximately 40% of these programs are in public schools and the other 60% are in community centers/child care centers.  You will use one form to apply to both.

– In regards to priority, students living within the zone of a particular school WITH siblings already enrolled get first priority.  Next come any students zoned for that school.  For childhood centers, priority goes to existing students, then siblings of current students, then to low-income families & English language learners.

– If you are not accepted into the school of choice you can request to be added to the wait list.

– The big difference between public pre-K and those pre-K programs offered at the children’s centers are the hours. Public schools offer half day (2.5 hrs) and full day (6 hrs).  The centers offer a full day, including the child care after the school day ends (for those parents that work full time, this option makes more sense).  Note that the child care provided after the school day is subject to a fee, based on income.  So step 1 for someone entering this process is to decide if the public school or one of these centers is the best route to take.

– Before deciding and ranking your list, talk to friends.  Talk to parents whose children attend that school.  Research online.  PLAN A VISIT.

– When making that list of top schools, certain issues might be more of a priority to you:  public school or community center (what kind of hours are you looking for), commute to/from school, do parents feel welcome in the school, does the classroom feel clean and exciting/fun/interesting at the same time?  Here is a video from Inside Schools that can help you make the most informed decision:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSG1yhtltbI

 

FEBRUARY FAMILY EVENTS IN BROOKLYN!

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written by Jen #supermom

We’re almost through this super snowy, super cold, SUPER LONG winter.  ALMOST.  Perhaps a few fun family adventures will help you enjoy the last bit of the season, and before you know it, March will be here and (hopefully) the weather will start to turn!  Once again there are always an abundance of family events for us in Brooklyn.  Here are some that are taking place in our borough through the end of February:

 

* Kids Create – Make a Valentine’s Day Card @ The Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn Heights): Celebrate this special day by creating a special valentines day card with your child.  Ages 5+.  http://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/kids-create-make-valentin-brooklyn-heights-library-021415

* Chinese New Year with Puppetry in Practice @ The Children’s Museum (Crown Heights):  From 2-2:40pm on 2/14, the festival will begin with a story about the Chinese Zodiac, followed by a Dragon Walk workshop (14 museum visitors will parade a large Chinese dragon puppet through the museum)!  All ages.  http://www.brooklynkids.org/index.php/visit/comingup

* February Break Discovery Week @ The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (Crown Heights): From February 16th – 18th from 11am-1pm, explore habitats from around the world and enjoy hands-on science fun during the mid-winter break. Investigate plants and objects and learn about what grows in the deserts and rainforests.  You even get to take a plant home!  All ages.  http://www.bbg.org/visit/event/february_break_discovery_days

* Very Very Verrazano @ The NY Transit Museum (Downtown Brooklyn): on 2/14, 2/15 and 2/21and 2/22 your children can help build a giant-sized model of the Verrazano Bridge!  Learn all there is to know about this famous structure.  Ages 5+. http://web.mta.info/mta/museum/pdf/NYTM_ccalendar.pdf

* Lunar New Year @ The Prospect Park Zoo:   In celebration of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Sheep, on 2/21 and 2/22 there will be special activities being held, including a puppet show in the Wildlife Theater and a lunar new year zodiac scavenger hunt!  Be sure to go hang out with the honorary sheep as well, of course.  All ages. http://prospectparkzoo.com/events/6

* Brooklyn Lunar New Year Parade (Sunset Park):  Organized by the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association, this parade takes place on 2/22 at noon on 8th Avenue and 50th Street.  Prior to the parade at 11am there will be cultural performances for those of all ages – and firecrackers!!!  No website available.

* Character Skate Series at the Lefrak Center (Prospect Park): The WNET Kids Club Thirteen character skate series continues every Sunday at 2pm in February.  Characters include Clifford the Big Red Dog on the 15th and Sid the Science Kid on the 22nd!  Ages 2-8.  http://lakesidebrooklyn.com/event-calendar-month/?date=20150201

* Celebrate Black History Month – South African Storytelling and Mask Making @ The Brooklyn Library (Park Slope): On 2/26 at 4pm enjoy a performance of King Lion’s Gifts and make masks of the different animals featured in the tale!  Ages 5+.    http://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/list?loc[]=614

* Blocks @ BAM:  Teater Tre, a Swedish performance group dressed as clowns, performs this physical comedy from 2/28 to 3/1.  Younger audiences will love watching them “use the colorful blocks to build, break, and rebuild relationships to space and each other”.  Ages 3-7.   http://www.bam.org/kids/2015/blocks


And let’s not forget that although this weather can be a bit frigid to say the least, it has also provided us with decent powder for sledding!  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the hill at the 9th Street entrance to Prospect Park.   If you feel like taking your sleds to a more secluded area, the Nethermead area of the park is somewhere you might want to explore (map: https://goo.gl/maps/MDANv).