Category Archives: School

APPLYING FOR PRE-K IN BROOKLYN: GENERAL GUIDELINES

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written by Jen #supermom

Universal pre-K.  Finally available in NYC for the past two years, 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 in regards to pre-K programs, the application process, and other things to consider.

Is your child eligible?  If your child was born in 2012, they ARE ELIGIBLE for pre-K this September for the 2016-2017 school year!

1) Important Dates:

The Pre-K application process begins January 25th and runs through March 4th (2 months earlier than last year)!   In early May offer letters will be sent.  Early May – May 20th is the pre-registration period.  May 2nd – May 20th is the round 2 application period.  The DOE is currently working on creating new pre-K opportunities, and they are expected to announce these new programs in the Spring round 2 period.

2) How to Apply:

Online: Visit http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/default.htm  to create an account and submit your application.

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

or Over the Phone:  Call 718-935-2067 to submit your application. 8am-6pm, Monday through Friday.

To learn about schools in your zone and/or district with detailed information on this entire process, please visit the  Brooklyn Pre-K Directory.  To see a map of different programs available in your vicinity, go to the Pre-K finder.

Note that 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, in order of preference.  You will be able to choose from programs at district schools, pre-K centers, NYCEEC (NYC Early Education Centers) and charter schools.  You will use one form to apply to all.

– 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, then students in the district whose zoned school has no pre-K program AND they also have a sibling at the particular school, and so on.  For childhood centers, priority goes to existing students, then siblings of current students, then to low-income families & English language learners.  For detailed information on admission priorities go to page 10 of the  Brooklyn Pre-K Directory.

– If you are not accepted into the school of choice you are automatically added to the waitlist.   This pertains to any school listed on the application that ranked higher than the one your child was accepted to.

– Most public schools offer full day (6 hrs, 20 min) and some offer 5 hour and half day options.  Some programs do offer extended hours, and you can find these options by looking at the Program Information section in the Brooklyn Pre-K Directory or in the Pre-K Finder.

– Information for students with disabilities can be found at:  http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/StudentsWithDisabilities/default.htm

– Before deciding and ranking your list, talk to friends.  Talk to parents whose children attend that school.  Research online.  Most importantly, PLAN A VISIT.   Many schools are touring now so be sure to look at the school’s calendar online or contact the school directly to set up a tour.

– 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

HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS FOR TODDLERS & PRESCHOOLERS

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written by Jen #supermom

Sending your toddler or pre-schooler out for the day and need to pack a lunch?  So over making PB&J sandwiches?  I am personally going through this now, as my 3 year old is at daycare 4 half days a week, and I need to provide lunch.  I cannot bear to give her the favorite (PB&J of course) more than once, MAYBE twice a week.  That being said, she’s also a bit of a picky eater and I’m always looking for new healthy options that she will actually consume.

As this seems to be a popular topic among many moms in this situation, I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’ve received from friends near and far:

* Wraps (vs sandwiches) – cheese and/or deli meats or avocado and hummus.  Cut wrap into pinwheels for fun!

* Another more exciting version of your typical sandwich – cut it with cookie cutters!  (After all, presentation of the food is quite a bit deal to the little ones)….and eat the remains for your snack (isn’t that we always end up doing anyway)?!

* Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pasta in a thermos with turkey meatballs or veggies

* Tomato soup and a grilled cheese

* Hummus or Guac with Veggies and Pita to dip

* Black beans and rice

* Quesadilla with beans and spinach, or cheese and avocado!

* Rolled slices of turkey, rolled sliced cheese and whole wheat crackers

* Yogurt and berries with a half sandwich

* Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese

* Use leftover roasted chicken and add mayo, sweet cranberries and crunchy celery to make a yummy wrap or sandwich

* Falafel patty in a pita with lettuce, tomato and plain yogurt

* Veggie burger with pita & dip of choice

Sides:

* Corn, peas, chickpeas…fun small round things!

* Frozen yogurt squeezers (will be thawed out but still cold by time lunch comes around)

* Chopped up veggies: cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, peppers

* String cheese

* Hard boiled egg

* Fruit salad

* Grapes

Here is some helpful advice in regards to planning for the week’s lunches:

  1. Stock up on non-perishables:  Almonds/cashews, raisins, whole wheat crackers, beans, bread sticks, granola, rice cakes
  2. Make certain things ahead of time (on Sunday perhaps): Hard boil eggs, falafel patties or sandwiches the night before.  Roast a whole chicken so you have it to cut up for sandwiches!
  3. Have a  variety of proteins, carbs and fresh fruit on hand.  I always shop for Sunday night delivery so we are loaded up and ready for the week ahead.

So far I’ve had many days when I pick her up and almost the entire lunch has not been touched, other days it’s been entirely gobbled up.  I think this is completely unavoidable, no matter what is offered!  It just depends on her mood, and I am never exactly sure what she’s in the mood for. Or perhaps it has more to do with what is going on around her at the time (she is so easily distracted)!  Anyway, I hope this list of suggestions will at least empower you to try new things…and who knows, perhaps your child will fill find a new favorite and you’ll come home with more empty lunch boxes!

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

 

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!